Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Video Review - part 1

From time to time I’ll be reviewing videos/dvd’s relating to various subjects discussed in this blog. The material will tend to be of an instructional or documentary nature, although once in a while I’ll throw in something of a more mainstream genre if I feel it has something to offer beyond just entertainment value.

The first review is something I’ve received a lot of emails about. This is basically a reprint from our private Pekiti Tirsia forum for the benefit of those who do not have access to that forum.

The ‘Combatants’ dvd is a Compare-the-Styles piece featuring the following teachers:

Bill Kipp - FAST Defense
Michael Casey - Wing Tzun
Moni Aizik - Commando Krav Maga
Leo T. Gaje - Pekiti Tirsia Kali

For a detailed description of the content, please visit this website:

which offers the following synopsis:

“The Combatant DVD contains an objective look at 4 different approaches to self defense by 4 Masters of the martial arts. If you are interested learning the martial arts or self defense but don't know which art to study then buy Combatant Extreme Self Defense.

If you are an experienced martial artist, you'll want to see how each art handles the same situations differently and WHY. These arts are very popular arts for cross training and are known as being focused on the street.

Four Masters of some most street effective martial arts show you their different theories and techniques on defending yourself from common attacks.”

Now keeping in mind that most of the emails I’ve received are from folks who have already seen the video, and want to know my opinion of it, here it is:

I was not particularly impressed by the Wing Tzun and "Fast Defense" presentations.

The only thing notable in my opinion about Commando Krav Maga is that whereas most of the Krav Maga that I've seen looks like bad 3d-rate Muay Thai, this stuff looks like bad 3d rate Japanese jujutsu. I'd rather learn those exact same moves the correct way from a good Jujutsu teacher. But I did indeed get the sense that the teacher could handle himself in a fight.

I have mixed feelings on Tuhon Gaje's presentation. The thing I've noticed about Tuhon and "demos" like this is that he's too self-conscious in front of the camera. When he does a combination where he has to explain the moves in English- like in the first part of the dvd - he's not only thinking about what he's doing but also thinking about how to explain what he's doing, and the technique gets lost in that process. His later presentation where he just flows and lets loose on Tim Waid is a lot cleaner and more fluid.

On the positive side: It’s a rare and wonderful thing to see teachers of different backgrounds collaborating on a project. I also think this is a great concept for a dvd, and I wholly respect the efforts of everyone involved in the production.

I'm sure the next offering will be a lot better.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ode Remo

Visiting an "Old Friend" in Ode Remo

Yoruba hunters are an "interesting" bunch. The only time I have seen them in the village has been during the early, early morning hours when I accompanied Araba Adesanya's daughter to get water from the communal well about an hours walk from Ogunti Compound.

The can see one coming a mile away, and they carry themselves as if they would just as soon tear your head off as say 'Good Morning'. On the last trip we were fortunate enough to be able to spend some time with them under almost normal conditions on the outskirts of town. It was a night that none of us will ever forget.

"Gba mi, gba mi" ko yeegun
"Ibi ogun le mi de ree" ko yode
"Gba mi, gba mi" ko yoosa
"Ibi eran le mi de ree" ko yode

It is a paradox for Ancestral Masqueraders to call for help from human beings
For a Hunter to say "This is how far War drove me" is unbefitting
It is a paradox for a Deity to call for help from a human being
For a Hunter to say "This is how far the Prey drove me" is unbefitting

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Most Fun Demo Ever

Last weekend we gave a demo at a huge banquet hall in St. Clair Shores. I would love to post some pictures here, but my crappy digital camera malfunctioned* Being that there are no pics from our demo, I decided instead to post this cool shot of Tuhon Gaje in "High Priest" garb (the Discovery Channel is filming a documentary on FMA in the Philippines which will feature Pekiti Tirsia prominently - this photo was taken during that filming).

Anyway, for this particular demo Kapatid Damon Mitchell was arguably the Star of the show, if not the entire night. After nearly killing us all with his homicidal driving on I-94, then antagonizing the waitstaff and house security to the point of a near confrontation, he performed a breathtaking sayaw with a single bolo, followed by Contradas and an excellent rendition of Kali De Leon's "Tic-Bang" double stick drill - which turned out to be a real crowd pleaser.

Congratulations Damon. And as always, thanks for keeping it real.

* Its Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanzaa time...a new digital camera is on my list!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Pekiti Tirsia in the Military

Supreme Grand Tuhon Leo T. Gaje Jr. and Col.Cardell of the Philippine Marines

A more detailed article on Pekiti Tirsia’s relationship with the U.S. and Philippine Military is presented in the article below from Experts from the following branches of the Armed Forces agree that Pekiti Tirsia is the best option for personal and national security!

* United States Marine Corp.

* Philippine Force Recon Marines

* Special Action Force (SAF) Commandos of the Philippine National Police

* Crisis Response Group (CRG) Counter-Terrorism Task Force of the Philippines

1998 was a historical landmark year for the Pekiti-Tirsia system in the Philippines. In the history of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Pekiti-Tirsia was to be the first authentic Filipino combat system and martial art adopted as official warfighting doctrine. For three years previous, the Force Reconnaissance Battalion of the Philippine Marine Corps researched the different Filipino combat systems/martial arts being practiced in the Philippines to specifically find the knowledge and essence of Bladed weapons combat. The marines of the Force Recon Battalion completed several combat skills courses and interviewed numerous instructors, but found none that taught combat with the live blade and that could teach a system to special operations forces applicable to their operational environment and requirements. Combat marines and soldiers are armed with an array of edged weapons including the bayonet, bolo, entrenching tool, fighting knife, and the multitude of improvised weapons found on the battlefield. As the recognized elite of the elite, the Force Recon Marines sought to set the standard for skill and instruction in close quarters combat. The battalion commanding officer, Major Natalio C. Ecarma, met with Mataas na Guro Tim Waid who had been residing in the Philippines and training with Grand Tuhon Gaje since 1993. As the Director of SURVIVAL EDGE SYSTEMS / Pekiti-Tirsia Tactical Training Institute, and himself a former marine, Guro Waid introduced the unit to the history, training methodologies, and effectiveness of the combat bladefighting system of Pekiti-Tirsia Kali. Guro Waid detailed the unparalleled, international professional recognition that Grand Tuhon Leo T. Gaje had brought to the field of military and law enforcement tactical training and demonstrated the use and employment of combat edged weaponry carried by operators on special operations missions. Guro Waid conducted an intensive six-month instructor’s candidate course in the Military Edged-Impact Weapon System for Close Quarters Combat/CQC graduating thirty (30) students in June of 1998.

The Commandant, then Major General Ponciano s. Millena, recognized the Pekiti-Tirsia system as the official Close Quarters Combat/CQC doctrine of the Philippine Marine Corps. Grand Tuhon Gaje and Guro Waid presented a framed Ginunting / Combat Bolo to General Millena forging the brotherhood of Pekiti-Tirsia and the Philippine Marines.

The Force Recon Marines have reinstituted and revitalized the historical use of authentic Filipino Bladefighting technology within the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Today, they are recognized as the leaders and subject matter experts (SME) in the use of Edged-Impact Weapon Strategy and Tactics within the AFP and now train all foreign special operations forces and ground force military units conducting joint training exercises and combat operations against insurgents and terrorists groups in the Philippines. Since 1998 they have proven the superiority of the Pekiti-Tirsia system against other military close quarter combative methods including the US Marine Corps Martial Art Program (MCMAP), SCARS method of US Navy SEALS, and the LINE method of US Army Special Forces. As in yesteryear when the Filipino instructed famous US military units of WWII including the Marine Raiders, Army Alamo Scouts, and led a successful guerrilla warfare campaign against the Japanese invaders by battalions armed with the Bolo, the Filipino fighting man is again recognized as the military Master of the Blade.

The Heritage of the Past and the Legacy of the Future

Article first appeared in the November 1998 issue of Citemar6. Official publication of the Philippine Marine Corps.

In this year of the Republic of the Philippines National Centennial Celebration, 1998, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reclaims it true martial heritage with the Philippine Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance Battalion designation as the modern BOLO BATTALION. The Filipino Bolo has been the trademark combat weapon for generations of Filipino warriors and heroes from Datu Lapu Lapu to the founding fathers of the Katipunan and now of the Force Recon Marines. Today, the Force Reconnaissance Battalion is the only unit in the Armed Forces of the Philippines that trains, equips, and operates utilizing the traditional combat weapons, tactics, and skills of Kali. Kali, the true and authentic martial art of the Filipino is a systematic art of combat bladefighting based on the science of strategy and tactics.

The chronicles of Philippine history have recorded the victories of the Filipino Fighting Man in the defense of freedom, independence and democracy. Victories achieved by the use of the weapons and tactics of Kali. Kali prevailed against the finest European steel when Datu Lapu Lapu, the first Filipino hero, felled the famed Spanish conquistador Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. The Filipino Bolo was feared throughout the history of the Spanish occupation and the art of Kali brought many regional victories in the revolts against Spanish subjugation. Generals Artemio Ricarte, Gregorio Del Pilar, Antonio Luna, and other heroes of the revolution against Spain lead their troops to battle with Bolo in hand. The Bolo of Andres Bonifacio, hero of the Katipunan, symbolizes that gallant struggle that lead to the declaration of the first Philippine Republic. The American era brought respect for the fighting tenacity of the Filipino in such great measure that it influenced the adoption of the .45 Caliber automatic pistol for the U.S. Armed Forces. During World War II the American military recognized the superiority of Kali for close quarters combat. In 1942 the United States Marine Corps enlisted Filipinos to teach combat bladefighting with the knife, bayonet, and other hand-to-hand combat skills to the elite Marine Raider Battalions that spearheaded the war against the Japanese in the central Pacific. Most significantly, the First (1st) Filipino Regiment of the US Army became recognized as the original BOLO BATTALION. This unit, along with others such as the Philippine Scouts and other guerrilla units established the modern military legacy of Filipino Kali during the liberation of the Philippines when they fought blade to blade and blade to rifle and defeated the finest units of the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces armed and trained in the art of the Samurai.

From this heritage of the past the Marines of the Force Reconnaissance Battalion continue the Kali legacy of the future. The battalion, under the command of Major Natalio C. Ecarma III officially adopted the Pekiti-Tirsia Kali system as the unit’s formal doctrine for close quarters combat. Approved by the Commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps, Major General Ponciano S. Millena, the Pekiti-Tirsia Military EDGED-IMPACT WEAPON SYSTEM marks the first time in more than fifty years that the indigenous fighting art of Kali has been formulated for modern combat and officially recognized as tactical warfighting doctrine.

The Pekiti-Tirsia Military EDGED-IMPACT WEAPON SYSTEM is a combative skills program in Close Quarters Combat (CQC) tactical doctrine specifically formulated for military special operation forces. This system provides the operator complete strategies, tactics and skills for the use of combat weaponry in the entire operational continuum of modern combat from high intensity conventional war through the full spectrum of unconventional warfare.

The Military EDGED-IMPACT WEAPON SYSTEM/CQC parallels military combat doctrine to locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire (Edged-Impact weaponry offensive and counter-offensive strikes) and maneuver (footwork and mobility) or repel the enemy’s assault by fire and close combat.

The Military EDGED-IMPACT WEAPON SYSTEM is comprised of:

1. Combat Bolo /CQB/ Close Quarters Bolo

2. Combat Knife /CQK/ Close Quarters Knifefighting

3. Combat Empty-Hands /CQE/ Close Quarters Empty-Hands

4. Combat Bayonet /CQB/ Close Quarters Bayonet

5. Tactical Weapons Disarming /CQD/ Close Quarters Disarming

6. Tactical Weapons Retention /CQR/ Close Quarters Retention

Trained in this complete system of Close Quarters Combat/CQC and armed with the Combat Bolo, the Force Reconnaissance Battalion leads the Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in tactical operational capabilities. Tasked with the missions of conducting air, ground, and amphibious reconnaissance for the three Marine Brigades and Regional Commanders as well as direct action operations such as raids, counter-terrorism, and hostage rescue, all Force Reconnaissance Marines are qualified combat parachutists and divers and are graduates of the Force Reconnaissance Qualification Course, Army Special Forces Qualification Course, or the Scout Ranger School.

Presently, the Battalion is composed of a Headquarters and Service Company and three (3) Force Reconnaissance Companies, the 61st, 62nd, and 63rd. Each company is composed of three (3) recon platoons and one (1) sniper platoon. The battalion is headquartered at Marine Barracks, Naval Station, Fort Bonifacio in Metro Manila, where the H&S Company and two recon companies are stationed. Each company is deployed on a rotational basis to Cotabato City, Mindanao in support of the Second (2nd) Marine Brigade. The Philippine Marine Corps maintains the majority of their forces in Mindanao and the Sulu Sea due to their continued victories against the numerous enemy forces and organized criminal elements that remain active in this historically war torn region.

Today, the Marines of the Force Reconnaissance Battalion enter the arena of warfare trained in the strategy and tactics of Kali and armed with the Combat Bolo, the symbol of victory, heroism, and excellence of the Filipino Fighting Man.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Arere, Arere'ooooo!

Ogun Fumito vs. Abiodun Ogunleye -
Jakadi Match Ode Remo, Ogun State 2006
(in the background is Jeff Davidson and Oluwasina Kuti)

Ija ti ngo jayi ki'mi niyi-sii
Ajagbuye niti ekun
Ajagbuye niti Aara
iwo lo nda won ni'jakadi lojogbogbo nilekile
Ija ti ngo ja ki'mi niyi-sii, Ajagbuyi

Let the Fight I will Fight be to My Honor
Victory After the Fight Belongs to the Lion
Vitory After the Fight Belongs to Aara
Like Ogunda,
All Day, You Hurled Them Down Everywhere
Let the Fight I will Fight be to My Honor

Odu'fa 152:1
translated by Jeff Davidson

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Pistol CQB Seminar - Comes Off with a Bang!

A Blank Canvas

I am very happy to report that the Pistol CQB seminar was an outstanding learning experience for all who attended.

Cpl. Ungyo presented a concise, challenging and very engaging (pardon the pun) class on the essentials of drawing, moving, target acquisition, malfunction drills, legal considerations, and just about everything else relevant to a concerned citizen facing down multiple aggressors with his pistol in his home, or on the street. After laying a solid foundation in the basics, we moved on with confidence to some very realistic scenario training, dealing with the tactics necessary to survive such volatile situations as armed robberies, home invasions and car jackings (this becoming somewhat of a sport in our inner city these days.)

I have always stressed the point that seminar material is only as good as the person teaching it. I have attended quite a few tactical shooting classes, and in some ways they are like any other martial arts seminar - meaning there is usually a high bullshit factor. In a typical martial arts seminar, the bullshit factor is usually found in the material itself ie. unrealistic techniques/tactics being taught by someone who has obviously never applied them in real life (in a T’ai Chi seminar this might not be an issue.) In a tactical shooting class, the bullshit factor is quite often the instructor. On the positive side, since most CQB instructors are seasoned law enforcement or military folks, they’ve actually “been there and done that” so there is a certain level of credibility when they teach. On the negative, even the guys who are not all macho Rambo types with war stories are often so very dogmatic in their approach that whatever does not fit into their rigid mentality is automatically discounted. I’ve even seen this in students when Tuhon Gaje has done his law enforcement seminars. When Tuhon tries to show how an officer can think outside the box with regard to his primary weapon, some of them just shut down.

Ungyo however, takes a very Tuhon-esque artistic approach to pistolcraft. He has a rock-solid, unquestionable understanding of the fundamentals, and can clearly communicate where and when there is room for personal interpretation. His own informed innovations seamlessly compliment the playbook, and clearly demonstrate how one can formulate a personal style of gun-fighting based on body mechanics and inter-personal dynamics, just as can be accomplished with edged and impact weapons. And as far as credibility goes, Ungyo has been there and done it. If there was ever a CQB class taught by instructor that could be called a Pekiti Tirsia Gun Seminar - this was it. It was a proud moment for me as well to be able to learn from someone who is usually my student. Truth be told, I have probably learned as much from him as he has from me over the years.

Now for a final word...

Pekiti Tirsia is always far, far ahead of the proverbial curve. Tuhon Gaje was teaching gun techniques to cops and the military before most of the MA community has ever even seen a knife drill. And today most of the foremost “knife experts” are teaching nothing more than sloppy re-hashes of Pekiti knife work from the 1970's. I predict that soon, we will see these same buffoons trying to fake their way through tactical shooting seminars by copying us. What will we be doing then? Difficult to say.

Maybe lasers.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Pistol CQB Seminar

The long-awaited pistol Close Quarter Battle (CQB) seminar will be held on Sunday, October 8th. Please call or email for details on location and time.

Here are some updates:

- We will meet at the training hall at 10:45am on Sunday and caravan to the location of the seminar.

- Equipment needed:

* Airsoft pistol and holster (CCW holders may bring their unloaded carry pistol.)
* Eye Protection
* Extra t-shirt or bandana
* Wear your street clothes

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Band of Brothers (and Uncle)

Here's a photo I just received from our 'Superbowl of Pekiti Tirsia' seminar a few months ago. From left: Ka Jay Saludo; Jeff Davidson; Tito Jun Saludo; Kuya Jamal Hakim Abdullah.

Monday, September 04, 2006

First Tekpi Instructors in the U.S.

The First (and arguably the Best)

From left: Robert Slomkowski; Omar Hakim; Steve Slomkowski; Ricky Rillera; Jeff Davidson

Friday, September 01, 2006

Silat Melayu on the Move

Cikgu Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

For an outsider coming to Silat Kuntau Tekpi (or any Silat Melayu) it is not sufficient merely to learn the physical techniques of buah, tapak, kuncian, pukulan, etc. In order to truly grasp where the Art “is coming from” both historically and conceptually, one must endeavor to understand the culture which spawned it. For one who is so far removed from the Source - namely Malaysia - this is can be a daunting and often frustrating task.

Without a doubt, the greatest blessing on this journey into the hermetic world of Silat Melayu has been to make the acquaintance of a generous and enthusiastic teacher, practitioner, and eminent scholar of Silat Melayu named Mohd Nadzrin Wahab, known to many as Saiful Azraq. Any foreigner who has done even the most cursory research into Malaysian martial arts from the available resources in English knows this young man - primarily because Nadzrin is personally responsible for translating and making the information available to us!

It is no cliche to say that this young man is a veritable encyclopedia of information on the history, customs, traditions, lineages, masters, people, places, events, milestones and just about anything else significant to Silat. Luckily for us, he is a painstaking and patient guide. If by chance he doesn’t have the answers...he knows the folks that do.

I invite you to his blog:

Tell him ‘JD Tekpi’ sent you!

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Knife's Milonga (dedicated to Ungyo)

It came to me at Pehuajo
from some generous hands.
It is better not to know
the return of Rosas’ bands.
On the leather and wood no mark
of rood lies on its haft.
With dreams tiger dark
the steel dreams its tiger craft

The knife dreams of a hand
to deliver it from oblivion.
But all depends on what the man
with the hand decides.

The Pehuajo dagger owes
not a single death.

For a tremendous
fate the forger forged its breadth.
Beholding it I can only forsee
a future filled with daggers
as well as swords and sabers
and other deadly forms
so many that the world draws
near the point of death,
so many that death knows
not which to choose.

Dream your easy dream
in this tranquil state
Be not impatient, blade,
Rosas returns to his estate.

- Jorge Luis Borges

Friday, July 28, 2006

Pekiti Tirsia in the Bible(!)

Remember the 'Bible Code' that was all the rage before the 'DaVinci Code' made the scene? A friend of mine has a Bible Code software program where you type in a word or phrase, and it gives the chapter in scripture (parasha) from where your term or phrase is said to "emanate". This has to do with Kabbalistic concepts such as Gematria and Tzeruf which are beyond the scope of this blog to explain. Well, we typed in the phrase PEKITI TIRSIA and what we got back is the story of Pinhas ben Yair, summarized below. Maybe there's something to this after all...

The story of Pinhas actually began at the end of the previous Parashah. While the Israelites were encamped at Shittim, they were induced to having sexual relations with the Moabite women, who also invited them to the sacrifices for their god. The Lord was incensed with Israel and commanded Moses to have all the ringleaders publicly impaled. Just then one of the Israelites came and brought a Midianite woman over to his friends. When Phinehas, a priest, saw this he took a spear in his hand and stabbed both of them, the Israelite and the woman. Then the plague against the Israelites was checked. This episode of valiant behavior seems to end the rift between God and the Israelites.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Get 'Yer Guns!

Rommel Tortal Covers Guro Jun at the PNP Training Headquarters
Photo by Jeff Davidson

As a TRUE combat system, Pekiti Tirsia has an extensive firearms/tactical shooting/pistolcraft curriculum in place since the 1970's - once again putting GT Gaje far ahead of the curve in terms of realistic martial combatives. It was after all Tuhon Gaje that opened the eyes of many in the Law Enforcement community to the dangers of edged weapons in the legendary Surviving Edged Weapons film. Well, he’s as crafty with a pistol as he is with a ginunting.

As a matter of record, the pre-Marcos Philippines was as much a gun culture as a knife culture. It is therefore not surprising that the Filipinos developed sophisticated systems of personal combat focusing on the pistol as a necessary and pragmatic complement to their bladed arts. And in case you hadn’t noticed, guns happen to come into play during many crimes committed here in our land.

Earlier this year, we had the privilege of learning Pekiti Tirsia’s unique GUN SEGUIDAS directly from Tuhon Gaje during a SWAT seminar in Rochester, New York. In February, we learned the Batangas style of gun fighting as was common on the streets of Lipa City in the turbulent pre-Marcos days. Judging from the tales that our Tito Jun related, the streets of Batangas back then made the ‘67 riots in Detroit look like a tipsy gay-pride parade in Ann Arbor.

We take the concept of self-defense very seriously. Although the discipline of Kali is most certainly a bladed Art, the fact remains that blades can be legally prohibitive to carry on one’s person. Pistols are as tactically viable as blades in most close quarter combative situations, and in many cases are more legally viable than knives. Luckily for us, Michigan is a “shall issue” State with regards to concealed weapons permits, meaning that unless you’re a convicted felon - or nuts - you can carry a pistol almost anywhere. I encourage you all to take full advantage of this while you can. Instead of getting that silly plasma screen TV, get a good handgun and learn how to apply your Kali training to this weapon. It will serve you in good stead.

Over the past few years, many of the Detroit Maphilindo Pitbulls have in fact become avid ‘gunners’. So it is with great pleasure that we will be adding a TACTICAL PISTOLCRAFT module to our gameplan beginning in the fall, under the direction of Cpl. Ungyo - who is a seasoned Patrol Officer, SWAT Operator, and Certified Assistant Instructor in our much-in-demand Edged/Impact Weapons Defensive Tactics for Law Enforcement program.

The first class(es) will be presented in seminar format. The dates will be announced in class. You will need: eye protection, a training gun (either a red gun or an airsoft pistol), holster, and street clothes. Email me for further details.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

More on Pendekar Banten

Gorka Echarri with Pak Rusdi

Now that our Brother Gorka Echarri has returned from yet another successful journey to West Java - including Banten and Tari Kolot - we are grateful to him for taking the time and effort to translate some history of the Pendekar Banten organization and its esteemed founder Pendekar Hassan. - JD

The PPPSBBI (Persatuan Pendekar Persilatan Seni Budaya Banten Indonesia) is a regional organization created in 1971 by Pendekar H. Tubagus Chasan Sochid. This organization has been created to unify all the old schools from the Banten area including Cimande Macan Guling, Jalak Rawi, Macan Paku banten, Satri Muda Indonesia, Terumbu, Bandrong, Gabak Lumayung.
Before the PPPSBBI, in Banten, there were Jago (or jawara) that were some kind of strong fighters, with also often strong ilmu and they were working for their district, for a group of villages. They were assuming the security of their group, sometimes by fights with
other jago or sometime by playing the bully with citizens from an other district. Pendekar H. Tubagus
Chasan Sochid succeeded in joining most of this jagos under one single organisation, under his authority for the benefit of everyone. That's why some people are calling Pendekar H. Tubagus Chasan Sochid, Jawara of the jawaras. Their action became the promotion of their specific style of Pencak Silat, also assuming the security in some gatherings, some city parties, for the youngest, working as security in supermarkets, assuming the security of the political party "Golkar"... The PPPSBBI, is officially recognized by the Indonesian governement.
There are actually 90 different styles under the supervision of the PPPSBBI,
500 000 silat players under this organization in the Banten area. Some students came from Malaysia and from Australia to learn Pencak Silat under the PPPSBBI. Gorka Echarri is officially the PPPSBBI "ambassador" for international promotion of the PPPSBBI and has the official right to support any schools that want to learn traditional Pencak Silat styles from Banten (Cimande Macan Guling and Terumbu Gajah Putih). This organization has a very strong influence in Banten and you can feel its influence in the everyday living in the streets of Serang and surrounding areas.

Pendekar H. Tubagus Chasan Sochid was born in 1930 in the village of Kadu Berem, Pabuaran in the district of Serang, Banten area. He sudied in a dutch school (Ver Volk), Pendekar H. Tubagus Chasan Sochid then continued his studies of the muslim religion in the
Pondok Pesantren Pani school were he became a famous muslim scholar. Kyai Cholil recognized Pendekar H. Tubagus Chasan Sochid bravery and intelligence. Pendekar H.
Tubagus Chasan Sochid then started to be renowned in the business world in his area.

In addition to academic studies, Pendekar H. Tubagus Chasan Sochid also studied different spiritual schools from Banten (for healing and Pencak Silat) and gained a high level in
them. He has been recognized as a true Jawara (strong man from inside and outside).

As a regional organisation, the PPPSBBI is renowed and has a strong reputation. The organization is promoting all the traditionnal schools and help their improvements. For competitions, each school within the PPPSBBI is free to join the competition or not.
Some schools play in this IPSI competitions by joining in Sumatra, other parts of Java.
The schools are free to join or not and there is no judgment from the ones who joined to the ones who
doesn't want t join. They live all together in a good

Sunday, May 14, 2006

...And At Long Last!

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Sorry it took soooo long to make this announcement - and there's more to come - but we have officially joined one of the oldest and most respected martial arts Organizations in West Java:

Persatuan Pendekar Persilatan Seni Budaya Banten Indonesia

Our next posting will contain something of the history and mission of this venerable Society, as well as choice exerpts from the book written by its current President Hassan Chosib (translated by our own Mas Reno Notojardjo)...and our official ijazah, or letter or authorization. We are also pleased to add to our schedule of class two unique Arts: Cimande Macan Guling and Terumbu Gajah Putih.

Many people in the "Inner Circle" of Pekiti Tirsia are aware of the fact that this same Organization officially recognized our own Grand Tuhon Leo T. Gaje Jr. as a Master of Silat in his own right!

So thanks for your patience, and keep staying tuned!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Guro Jun De Leon and the Problem with FMA in the U.S.A.

Guro Jun De Leon working with Pitbull Kelly Hadin
Maryland, 2005

Try to imagine if you will, a leopard in human form. Smooth...relaxed....fluid...and incredibly explosive, the precise human equivalent of a jungle cat - with equal ferocity. Now imagine this human/leopard wielding double bastons, unleashing an utterly furious barrage of whirlwind attacks - with the sticks sounding like ‘light sabers’ from Star Wars as they cut the air...every cut precise and powerful enough to split you in half. The sticks move with such speed and such raw force that you feel intimidated even observing it from 10 feet away.

That is my impression of Guro Jun De Leon.

Kali De Leon is not a household name in FMA the way some systems have become. This is a calculated move, because Guro Jun was more than happy to keep a low, almost secretive profile for many years, until my own mentor Doug Marcaida convinced him to share his treasure with a select few worthy outsiders. Even so, he is certainly in no great rush to add to his student body. Guro Jun is more likely to ask a prospective student: "Give me a good reason why I should teach you anything" and the acceptable answer is not dollars (or whatever that funny-looking currency that they use is Canada is)

Anyone in the U.S. who has ever attended just one weekend FMA seminar has learned the drill commonly known as sinawali - also called ‘Heaven Six’ etc. They hunker down in the horse-stance, chopping and hacking the air (or their partners sticks) with all the grace and fluidity of an Oldsmobile with four flat tires. Even the majority of so-called advanced escrimadors, who can at least fake a reasonably fluid sayaw with solo baston, don’t understand even how to practice sinawali the correct way, let alone being able to fight with it. Its safe to say that most FMAer’s are equally deficient across the board when it comes to doble baston. Some have turned to ‘alien’ double stick methodologies from Thailand, for example, in their attempt to fill the gap of non-understanding so prevalent in the world of FMA.

Now, the speciality of Kali De Leon happens to be the double stick. Guro Doug Marcaida has been a student of Guro Jun for several years now, and when Doug first described him to me, I admit that I was initially a bit skeptical. After all, I thought "Gee, I’ve already seen every f*ing variation of sinawali under the sun, what can this Guro Jun possibly have?" Well, when I first saw him in action a few years ago, I realized that he did indeed have something which is light years ahead of 99% of FMAer’s here.. And furthermore, it had very little to do with techniques.


The Filipino martial arts in general are taught all wrong on this side of the shore. A pragmatic, and effective method of weapons and empty-handed combat has been reduced to an odd collection of techniques and flow-drills. As a result of this, Western practitioners have become very proficient in a particular technique like redondo or abaniko, and also in pass-check-pass-tapping flow drills, while never developing the speed, power and body mechanics to necessary to become fighters as opposed to pretty flow-drillers. Like so many other martial artists who look great doing kata in the air, but lack the crucial understanding to make their techniques work against a opponent in real time.

Grand Tuhon Gaje never taught Pekiti Tirsia this way, but some PTK practitioners who have learned from 3d and 4th generation teachers have watered it down to that extent. If you ask them "What is Pekiti Tirsia?" they will say that it is 64 attacks, or knife tapping, or Break-in/Break-out. They don’t even realize that REAL Pekiti is body mechanics, timing, and mindset.

Back to Guro Jun. When I finally experienced the way he teaches Kali, many questions were answered. He does not base his method on anything but the most elementary of techniques; and his drills are far from being overly complex. Rather, Guro Jun teaches from the perspective of innate body mechanics. My students and I have found Kali De Leon to be more about physical culture than anything else. In other words, Guro Jun doesn’t teach you how to use a stick (or two), he teaches you how to use your body in the most efficient and explosive manner possible. And that’s what he looks for in evaluating other practitioners as well (I am speaking from experience!) Its common for traditional teachers of Chinese martial arts to take this approach; it is very rare to see Kali taught this way. Is it effective? Let me put it to you this way: witnessing a demo by any ‘intermediate’ level Kali De Leon practitioner will forever change the way you view Kali.

Maraming Salamat Guro!

(be sure to check out

Monday, May 01, 2006

Legends of Kali II Seminar

Grand Tuhon Gaje & Guro Jun De Leon


Just a few adjectives to describe the utterly sensational weekend in Rochester, New York that we had the honor of attending! What could be better than a full weekend of Kali training with Supreme Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje Jr. of Pekiti Tirsia - and Guro Jun De Leon of Kali De Leon?!?!?!

Our legs are dead from the endless footwork; our hands are torn with blisters and bruises; our sticks have been beaten to shreds; and our minds have shorted out from the overload of fighting knowledge imparted by these two living Legends of the Filipino martial arts. Tuhon Gaje broke and twisted us beyond recognition with Dumog and Pangamut, only to then puncture us with his Kol De Mama Daga double knife techniques. Guro Jun took us to the outer limits with the blazing speed and precision of his Largo Mano.

Capable support staff included Guro Doug Marcaida and Guro Burton De Souza of Toronto who thankfully translated the language of the Gods to words that us mere mortals could understand. It is a rare thing indeed to have the opportunity to share so much practice, wisdom and Brotherhood with such a dedicated group of practitioners who live and breathe their beloved Art.


Saturday, April 22, 2006



Sorry we haven't updated in a while, it's been a very busy month indeed! Among our accomplishments in the past few weeks:

- We trained over 50 recruits in the current class at the Wayne County Regional Police Training Academy in Pekiti Tirsia Edged/Impact Weapon Control Dynamics.

- We have officially incorporated Tuhon Gaje's unique method of pistol QCB/Tactical Shooting into our training cirriculum.

- We have developed a syllabus for teaching the Batangas-style of knife fighting to advanced students (with the full support of our mentor "Tito Jun" Saludo.)

- We have established a Batangas-style knife fighting affiliate club in Europe.

- We are in the process of establishing two Pekiti Tirsia club affiliates in the Saginaw/Flint area.

- We have forged strong bonds of Brotherhood with our Silat Melayu extended family in Malaysia, including members of Silat Kuntau Tekpi, Silat Cekak Hanafi, and Silat Kalimah.

- We are expecting some exciting news from our Indonesian family very, very soon!

In the next few weeks, we'll be hitting the road again to train with Supereme Grand Tuhon Leo T. Gaje Jr. and all of our good friends at Rochester Kali. On the homefront, we are just about at capacity with regards to accepting new students. The good news is that several of our senior members will be starting clubs of their own in the near future. One thing you can be sure of, if it has the "stamp" of the Detroit Maphilindo Pitbulls - you will receive nothing less than the finest training in the Malay fighting arts (the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia) available in the midwest!


Sunday, February 19, 2006

Superbowl of Pekiti Tirsia!

Ka Jay Saludo, Ka Jeff, Tito Jun, Kuya Doug - 02/2006

Sorry for the late update! In early February 2006, the Motor City was host to a monumental international event of epic proportions - the 1st annual Pekiti Tirsia Pitbull Brotherhood Gathering! Four days of intense training, advanced research and development, and solid friendship for the students and teachers of 3 Pekiti Tirsia groups from Detroit, Rochester New York, and Saskatchewan, Canada all under the auspices of Grand Tuhon Leo T. Gaje Jr.

The tone of the weekend was the refinement of Pekiti Tirsia to its highest level. Each instructor presented a unique interpretation of Pekiti knife (Kol Demama Daga, Dagaso Tirsia) and Stick (Contradas) based on his own field studies with Tuhon Gaje. In addition, in keeping with the spirit of "open exchange" each instructor presented a special instructional block of complimentary disciplines:

- Guro Doug Marcaida of Rochester, New York taught a fast and furious knife-fighting module followed by some of the most powerful doble-baston training methods from Kali DeLeon.

- Manong Leon Saludo (aka "Tito Jun") of Saskatchewan presented a bevy of frightening knife applications based on the rare "Vientenueve" knife style of his home province of Batangas.

- Guro Jay Saludo gave an incredible teaching block of HIGHLY UNORTHODOX handgun QCB based on the Batangas style of gunfighting, which addressed carry, draw, target aquisition, and shooting against multile opponents. This was an excellent counter-point to Tuhon Gaje's presentation of the legendary Pekiti Tirsia Gun Seguidas earlier last year. After Guro Jay's portion of the seminar, it was off to the gun range to "field test" some of the principles covered at the seminar, where Detroit Pitbull Damon Mitchell 's outstanding performace with the .40 calibre will be remembered for generations!

- Guro Jeff Davidson introduced the visiting students to some of the finer applications (pecahan) from the Malaysian Art of Silat Kuntau Tekpi, demonstrating SKT's explosive and economical entries, full body locks, and lethal throws.

A full report/photo essay of the weekend events is in preparation along with plans for the next Pitbull family gathering...

Stay Tuned!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Abre Kutu...

"When the hot blood of the town still left its panting print in the flagstones of the entrance of the Castle of San Severino, the shots of the troops alarmed the population again; in one of their corridors applied the brujos the Law of Flight"
-La Caricatura, Havana

Kongo mio
ven de lo monte
yo te llamo a laborar
cuando venga, ven despacio
paso a paso a trabajar

yo te llamo y tu respondes
yo te llamo de verdad
yo te llamo con tu mbele
yo te llamo pa jugar

yo te veo en la malesa
trabajando material
con tu cazuela de barro
y tu mpaka pa mirar

tu te llamas “Como Quieras”
tu nombre no quieres dar
lo que querio congo mio
no nos dejes de ayudar...

Monday, January 30, 2006

Balisong Tested - Pekiti Approved

Ungyo Hooks Pitbull Jeff Danuloff's Arm

Congratulations are in order for Ungyo - former US Army Ranger, current SWAT operator, and now certified Assistant Instructor for the Detroit Pekiti Tirsia Pitbulls. Ungyo recently passed the "Live Blade Test" which consists of full-speed knife-tapping against a live blade (in this case a Balisong) wielded by a motivated Senior Instructor.

He passed the test with flying colors (especially the color red). Ungyo now has a few more well-earned battle scars, and the right to proudly wear the tag: "INSPECTED BY #29"


Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sask Pitbulls Back Online!

We'll Bring Our Knives to a Gunfight If We Want To!

I'm happy to report that our brothers, the Sask' Pekiti Tirsia Pitbulls are finally back online with a new website:

This photo was taken outside of Target Sports in Royal Oak, Michigan with some of the Sask Pitbulls Dan, Sandra, Eddie, Lucas, and of course Ka Jay Saludo and "Tito Jun". That's Tuhon of course with the rifle; Detroit Pitbull Dean Hadin is providing cover in the back with a hammer-less .357.

Welcome to Detroit!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

"Hanya Aku Dengan Tuhanku"

There is Always Hope

The Holy Master, we are told, would go into the forest whenever faced with a difficult task. He would light a fire, say a prayer, and what he had set out to perform was done.

In the next generation, his disciple, could no longer remembered how to light the fire, but he did know the place to go and the prayer to utter.

The third generation could neither light the fire nor say the prayer, but it could still find the sacred place in the forest.

All generations since cannot even do that. What then can we, do? We can tell the story of how it was done...

and that will be sufficient.

Terima Kasih, Nadzrin - jd

Friday, January 06, 2006

"Di Luar Jangkauan Pemikiran Kita."

"The Place I Told You Guys About" - Philippines, 02/2005
photo by Jeff Davidson

One day a small boy saw a toy in a store window. He begged and pleaded with his parents to purchase the toy for him, but it was well beyond their simple means. Every evening he began to dream of the toy, and every day he would plead with his parents to purchase him the gift, and every day they said “no”.

This continued on for several days. Eventually, the child stopped pleaded for the toy, for his dreams of the toy had become a suitable replacement. He dreamed of the many wonderful adventures he had with his prized toy, and of the joy it brought to his life. He examined every minute detail.

One morning when he awoke, he discovered the toy sitting at the foot of his bed. Overjoyed, he raced to his parents to express his gratitude. His parents where puzzled, because they had not purchased the toy, and asked the child where he got it. Retreating into his room, the child began to ponder the toy and its origin. He discovered that the toy had come from his dreams, created by his own mind.

Every night he would dream of a different toy, and every morning a new toy would appear at the foot of his bed. Whenever he desired something, he simply dreamt it, and the next morning it would appear.

After several days of this, the child discovered that his gift also worked outside of his dreams. Whenever he wanted something, he simply thought of it, and it magically appeared. Whenever he wanted an event to occur, he thought of the outcome, and that outcome would happen.

One afternoon, several larger boys began to threaten him. The boy dreamt that he wasn’t there, and the walls of reality around him began to collapse, taking him with them.