Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Silat Kuntau Tekpi Classes Starting

We have officially begun the registration for the Silat Kuntau Tekpi classes! The first batch of membership kits are already spoken for, and more are on the way. Please everyone, I would like to start as many of you together as possible - so get on board now. The first "seminar" will be in mid-July, and we have several out-of-state guests who will be joining us on this journey.

Many of you have asked me how training in the Tekpi system will compliment your Pekiti Tirsia practice. Let me say that the two are absolutely blendable. First of all, Cigku Omar is one of the finest Pekiti Tirsia teachers/practitioners in the world. In fact, he is the mentor of MY mentor, Guro Doug Marcaida, whom you all know and respect. The majority of the people who are already studying Tekpi in the United States also have extensive backgrounds in Pekiti, so you're all in good company.

One great example of how Silat Kuntau Tekpi can be used with Pekiti is entries off the knife-tapping drill. Typically when your partner feeds, you guide out the knife, shock him with the '3d' hand and then either execute a quick throw or range out. Now, you have at the very LEAST 42 options from the Tekpi buahs - locks, throws, takedowns and neckbreaks -to apply as finishers. If you want to make the game more intersting and have the feeder try to counter the finsiher, you can even flow along with that! Tekpi has its own version of what we call "lock-flow" only its the entire body thats locked, not just the wrist or arm.

Many of you, such as Darryl and Arun, have already been on the receiving end of these locks and you know first hand how dangerous they are. This is why Cigku Omar has included an insurance policy with each membership.

As I have already said in class, Tekpi and Pekiti will be taught separately. We have a full Kali training schedule during the week, and so we have decided to take several days a month to devote exclusively to Tekpi so as not to break the flow - if you will - of the Kali class. But keep in mind that the two Arts while learned separately may be practiced together. Take it from me, after you learn these techniques, your Pekiti will never be the same (and I mean that in a good way!)

Speaking of practicing, I am very pleased that many of you are forming your own study groups outside of class to train. Remember, your time in class with me is meant for learning new material, and for the correction of any mistakes. Practice time is what you put in at home! In other words, if you learn something new on Monday, go home and practice it as much as possible before the next class so that when I see you again, we can take it to the next level instead of having to relearn it.

One last point...we have a very promising crop of beginning students. You guys are very talented, and are learning quickly, but keep in mind that under no circumstances are you permitted to TEACH! You want to show your girlfriend some self-defense techniques? Fine. You want to show your brother how to swing the stick at you so that you can drill your footwork? Ok. But don't ever take it upon yourselves to instruct another beginner or even make corrections during training. We have several instructors at every class. You know who they are by now. They have earned permission to teach for a reason! If someone has a question about a technique, ask a teacher! If the teacher doesn't know, he'll ask me; if I don't know, I'll ask Tuhon Gaje; if he doesn't know, chances are nobody does...

That's what we call the Chain of Command, folks.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Silat Kingpins Interview

I've had several requests for copies of this interview conducted by Ustaz Hussein in the currently under-construction section of his website. So, with his kind permission I reproduce it here.

RCAG Interview with Guro Jeff Davidson of Pekiti Tirsia

RCAG: Salam Aleykum Guro

Guro Jeff: Aleykum Salam

RCAG: Guro, thank you for taking the time to have this interview with us.

RCAG: Guro Jeff, please tell us what exactly led you to the path of the
Silat Arts?

Guro Jeff: Initially, I was attracted to the "exotic-ness" of it all. I actually
began my journey into the Southeast Asian fighting disciplines with
Pangasinese Escrima after almost 10 years of practicing Chinese, Japanese
and Korean martial arts. I was searching for the roots of the empty-handed
system that would compliment my weapons training. Silat fascinated me -
especially the "internal aspect." I remember thinking: "This is so beyond
me, I will probably never get good at this. If I can only LEARN it, that
would be enough."

RCAG: What reason or reasons made you decide to change paths and join the
Pekiti Tirsia organization?

I have not changed paths at all! I am still powerfully focused on developing
myself to the best of my ability, and providing the highest standard of
training for those who study with me. This has always been my motivation
since the earliest days of my involvement in the martial arts. I believe
that one's first responsibility is to himself - in terms of growth. When one
reaches a certain level of comfort in his practice, it usually means he is
no longer being challenged. Progress in the martial arts is based onchallenge. A Master may not feel the need to accept challenges from other
fighters, but you cannot avoid your own need to grow, and leave your comfort
zone. This does not mean you need to learn a new batch of techniques! It
means you must seek out that which will push you to the next level. In my
case, Supreme Grand Tuhon Gaje "pushed" me farther during a single sparring
session than I had been in approximately 10 years!

RCAG: What are some combative principles of Pekiti Tirsia?

Pekiti Tirsia as we know it, is developed and refined by Supreme Grand Tuhon
Leo T. Gaje, who is connected to the realities of combat in a way most
people who do not live in a war zone ever will be. He has not only survived
the violent circumstances of his past, but he has elevated his skill to an
almost unbelievable level, which is acknowledged by his peers, supporters,
and even detractors. And he is still in the war zone to this day. I would
say that the principles of Pekiti Tirsia are a virtual 'Bible' of combat
against multiple, armed opponents - based on real-life encounters. The
techniques of Pekiti Tirsia (especially the way Tuhon is teaching them now)
represent the most effective and efficient means of applying those
principles. In almost 20 years of teaching martial arts, I have never seen
a system produce deadlier fighters in as short a period of time as Pekiti

RCAG: What if anything is your speciality in the system i.e. knife, sword

I think it is important NOT to specialize in a particular weapon or
technique, as this can make you over-developed in some aspects of the Art
and under-developed in others. When I studied music in high school, I used
to sneak into clubs (being under aged) to take in the local music scene. I
remember being quite taken with a particular guitarist, who played with an
amazing virtuosity in several musical genres - jazz, rock, country, blues,
etc. I approached him after a performance and asked him: "Are you a jazz
player? Or a rock player? Or a blues player?" He chuckled and said "Nah,
kid...I'm just a player." In my opinion, just because you have a certain
proclivity towards say, the blade - you run the risk of being skillful with
that weapon, without really understanding the principles of combat in the
larger sense. That being said, my favorite weapon is the knife; my first
choice in an actual fight would be the stick; against multiple opponents I
would choose the staff; and I have the most "fun" with dumog and pangamut.

RCAG: Could you please tell us some more about Grandtuhon Leo Gaje. What
type of individual is he?
There is a veritable mythology that has developed in this country
surrounding Grand Tuhon Gaje. He is quite possibly the deadliest man on
Earth, in my opinion. In a word, inscrutable. There is no one I have seen
who can match him in terms of strength, tenacity, toughness - and sheer
relentlessness in combat. He really is a human pitbull! What's more, he has
the most advanced training methods to develop realistic fighting skills that
I have experienced. He is a genius - and not just in the realm of martial
arts. On the other hand, he is extremely kind, compassionate, humorous, and
a true Gentleman of the old school. This is the side of him that is often
overshadowed by his martial prowess in the eyes of the public - but the side
that is most appreciated by my own students. I like to think of him as
something of a cross between the battle-hardened veteran elite soldier, and
the kind, wise Grandfather. Which is what a Master should be!

RCAG: How do you think of Pekiti Tirsia in comparison to the Cimande arts
you practiced before?

Insofar as there are hundreds of "dialects" of Cimande, I am speaking here
only of the Cimande which I have had direct personal experience. And, since
I was given a "Master" ranking in that system, I believe I am well qualified
to offer an informed opinion! The Cimande I studied previously was very
'feminine', highly stylized, and in the extreme - somewhat contrived. Over
the years, whenever a law-enforcement or military man would come to study
with me, I found that I would have to teach a heavily modified form of
Cimande to suit their particular needs. Well, when you take out the frills,
you're left with a stripped-down version of Kali. So I feel, that Pekiti
Tirsia is the ULTIMATE in terms of combat practicality bar-none. Let me
give you an analogy: one of my Cimande teachers used to say that [the Art]
should resemble a keris. Well, a Javanese keris is aesthetically beautiful,
possessed of a certain mystical quality, and is essentially an object d'art
which would definitely NOT be your first choice on the battlefield. On the
other hand, a Filipino keris is far less ornate, but you can clear brush
with it; slaughter an ox, cut the main support beam for your house (or
kampong) and STILL cleave your opponents to pieces with it. In fairness, I
will say that Bapak Willem DeThouars of Colorado has the most combative
expression of Cimande that I have seen in this country. His Cimande is very
direct and explosive. When I met him in 1998, I commented on his lack of
flowery movement, to which he dryly replied "If I want to dance, I'll put on
my Benny Goodman records." God Bless him. At the time, he gave me some
very sound and well-intended guidance that I was not ready to accept. He
turned out to be right about everything he said. I still teach those
aspects of Silat which are consistent with my current goals in training,
which are essentially the metaphysical and healing aspects.

RCAG: Do you include firearms as part of your training curriculum? why orwhy not?

Yes! Although we do not yet have the facility or required licenses to
teach firearms on a group level, I strongly encourage firearms training,
because it is the basis of warfare in our modern times. To me, someone who
has developed tactical skill with the pistol and shotgun has more of a right
to call himself a martial artist than one who puts on a Gi twice a week
and does kata with antique farm implements.

RCAG: Do you think you being a Muslim changes your understanding of the
spiritual and cultural practices of Silat?

In retrospect, what has always impressed me most about the Indonesian Silat
masters that I have met is their faith in God, and how their Silat practice
is an expression of that faith. I have yet to meet an American who is on
that level. Most Americans are more interested in using the spiritual
aspects of Silat as a tool to obtain wealth, power, and control over others
through "occult" means, than they are in finding God through their
discipline. Sheikhs and pious teachers have strongly warned us for hundreds
of years against this type of mentality. Americans will have to learn this
FIRST before they can ever hope to understand real Silat. Martial arts
should be a path to finding your Higher Self, and to bind that Self to the
Lord of All Worlds - not to bind you to your own nafs. I feel that the idea
of connection and striving for the Divine has been lost in the rank-and-file
Far Eastern martial arts for a long time, and it is certainly foreign to the
modern American mindset. As a healer, I have to say to God: "I have no
power except that which You give me. Only You can heal this person. I am
only Your channel, if You will it." Well, all martial arts is about
healing! When someone comes to study with you, even though they THINK they
want to learn to fight, they are coming to you for HEALING. It could be
from the pain of low self-esteem; the pain of abuse; feelings of
helplessness; they may be filled with unchanneled anger and aggression; etc.
Modern science calls those 'behavioral' or 'mental' issues. But that type
of pain is rooted in the Soul - which is seeking to become whole. Only a
Sheikh can heal the Soul. And God is the source of all healing.

RCAG: Thank You so much for your time Guro Jeff!

Guro Jeff: Welcome. Salam Alaykum

RCAG: Wasalam Guro

Friday, June 17, 2005

Update: Interview with Ka Uli

There's a great interview with Ka Uli by a European martial arts magazine on www.pekiti-tirsia.net.

Here's the link:

  • Thursday, June 09, 2005

    A Feather in Our Cap

    Jeff with Ka Uli Weidle and Jared Wihongi
    Jared is a member and tactical combat instructor for Salt Lake City, Utah SWAT

    Grand Tuhon Gaje has just returned from a furious schedule of seminars and workshops in Europe conducted over the past month. The coordinator/director of Pekiti Tirsia in Europe is Maginoo Mandala Uli Weidle of Germany - whom I had the pleasure of training with during the Balikatan of 2005 in the Philippines.

    In addition to running perhaps the largest Pekiti Tirsia school in the world, Ka Uli promotes the Art all over Europe. Currently there are Pekiti Tirsia schools in Germany, Spain, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Austria and Finland - and soon Romania. Ka Uli is also a tactical instructor for the elite German and Austrian SWAT/Counter-Terrorism forces.

    There can be no better endorsement of the effectiveness of Pekiti Tirsia and Grand Tuhon Gaje that so many world governments (including the United States) are clamoring to include this great system as part of their Homeland Defense. They recognize that Pekiti is as pragmatic on the “State” level as it is on the personal level when it comes to the defense of life and liberty.

    While in the Philippines, I asked Sgt. Balthazar and several members of the 63d Battalion Force Recon Marines just how many of their encounters with enemy forces in the south necessitated the use of bladed weapons. The 63d Battalion sees more action in the southern Philippines than perhaps any other unit. They are lean, intense, and to a man have a 1000 yard stare that goes through you like an icy wind. Sgt. Balthazar enthusiastically replied to my question: “We have many, many fights against them with our bolos...and we always win because of the training Tuhon Gaje has given us!” Sgt. Balthazar is pound-for-pound one of the toughest human beings on two legs. He took a liking to my student Dean Hadin, and even presented him with a barong that had been “recovered” while on operations in Jolo.

    Getting back to Maginoo Mandala Uli Weidle, he has a most unassuming demeanor for someone of his considerable skill level. I commented on that very fact to him, and he said reflectively: “In my experience with martial arts people, the more you claim to be, the less you really are.” How very true indeed.

    Uli's website is www.pekiti-tirsia.net

    Tuesday, June 07, 2005

    Biblical Linguistics

    Anyone attempting to fathom the mysteries of a particular culture had best start with a clear grasp of the linguistics. Here is but a scratch of the surface - sent to me by a friend. Next time the Jehovah's Witnesses come to your door...hit 'em with this.

    The Mystery Of The Bio-Genetic Coding Re-Genesis Of The Two Abrahamic Seed Strains.

    The Right Vocalization Of The Hebrew Bible: In Hebrew, as in Arabic, there are no real vowels in the alphabet, and vocalization can only be indicated by vowel signs. With different vocalizations, words spelled in the same way can yield widely different meanings. One well-known example comes from the story of the "ravens"
    that brought ". . . bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and fleshin the evening" to the prophet Elijah while he was hiding himself near the brook of Cherith (1kings 17:6). In vocalizing the original Hebrew of this story, the Masoretes rendered the word 'rbym as 'orbim, which produced the meaning "ravens". Had they rendered it as 'arbim, as some Biblical scholars have suggested, it would have meant 'Arabs', which makes better sense as far as the story goes.

    When working with the scripture a person should derive their insights using a variety of devices, such as puns, anagrams, gematria (letter manipulations) and cross references to the same word in different contexts and other languages in order to
    decode the biblical mysteries. Another example of the mishaps that can result in vowel vocalization, and therefore translation, is the word "Kabbalah". There are many alternative spellings of the word, the two most common being Kabbalah and Qabalah. Cabala,Qaballah, Qabala, Kaballah (and so on) are also seen. The reason for this is that some letters in the Aramaic and Hebrew alphabet have more than one corresponding representation in the English alphabet, thus rendering the same Hebrew letter as either K or Q (or sometimes even C).
    Also the words:

    Qumran, Umran, Amran, 'Imran.

    The etymology of the names can also reveal the many teachings hidden in the stories of the scriptures. In Genesis 17:5, 'Abraham' ('brhm, parsed 'b rhm) is taken to mean 'father of multitude'. In Genesis, Sarai (sry), whose name means simply 'lady'.
    In idiomatic Arabic 'lady' is the standard way to refer to a 'grandmother', or 'ancestress'. Thus, so to speak, Abram, personifying the 'ancestor', was married to Sarai, personifying the 'ancestress'.

    It should be noted that in Genesis 17 when the name of Abram was changed into ''Abraham'' the change in name by adding h to the name ''The brith''.
    The name change carries many keys to the mystery of Abraham. The mystery of adding the 'h' is the start of the bio-genetic coding re-genesis of ''two'' different strains in correspondences with the 12 matrix Archetypal forms controled

    ''The 12 matrixes of the Zodiac.''

    Jacob name was also changed from Jacob to Israel, the name 'Is-ra-el' carries a spiritual precept concerning the true nature of the genatic coding program of the Abrahmic seed: Is - (The Female Earth Archetype ''Isis'')
    Ra- (The Solar Archetypal Correspondences)
    El - (The Infinite Spirit ''Elohims'')

    The name Ismael Abraham from Hagar of Egyptian carries the genatic coding program of the Abrahmic seed:
    Is - (The Female Earth Archetype ''Isis'')
    Ma- (the Lunar Archetypal Correspondances)
    El - (the Infinite Spirit ''Elohims'')

    Another point of significance is that
    the two
    only one letter change
    ''RA'' & ''MA''
    which embodies the change of:
    FIRE & AIR
    Sun & Moon

    It should be noted that the two names, Israel & Ismael are poles in the mystery of the bio-genetic coding of the re-genesis of the two strains of one seed in correspondence with the same 12 matrix Archetypal forms which fall under
    the control of the 12 matrixes of the Zodiac. Each of the 12 matrixes is also interrelated with the original three archetypes of Earth or Nature as well as the
    Eight Primordial Universal Archetypes

    According to Cornine Heline's 'New Age Bible Interpretation, New Testament, Volume V. The twelve tribes of Israel in correlation with the Zodiac:

    Aries: Tribe of Dan
    Taurus: Tribe of Benjamin
    Gemini: Tribe of Manasseh
    Cancer: Tribe of Ephraim
    Leo: Tribe of Judah
    Virgo: Tribe of Reuben
    Libra: Tribe of NaphtaliScorpio: Tribe of Asher
    Sagittarius: Tribe of Gad
    Capricorn: Tribe of Zebulun
    Aquarius: Tribe of Issachar
    Pisces: Tribe of Simeon