By: Guro Dino Martinez, PTK-SMF Tampa 06-21-2011
ART: if there is an art to martial “practices”, then a martial art is like all art then – at the heart of the experience lies the notion of transcendence. Ultimately, what is art other than taking what is real and re-imagining it, or taking what can only be imagined and making it real. In either case, something must transcend, or pass through, the realm or state in which it currently exists, and by transcending, it is transformed. This is the experience of art – of how, for example, simple colored paints can be mixed, measured and applied to canvas to create something never before seen by human eyes or, conversely, of how symphonies only existing in a composer’s head can find way to the printed sheet and be represented by symbolic notes, for others to now recreate.
For us it is really no different. Critics often say, “Why train the sword? I don't carry one and am not likely to encounter one.” In my opinion, that misses the point. Training the blade is the art of changing the body. It is an alchemical process by which our kinesthetic function and perception as a fighter are augmented on a deep level, due to the physical and mental attributes developed from training the weapon, and the transference of particular tactics learned from training the bladed weapon specifically. PTK methodology uses the blade to eventually teach you to fight with anything, even your own body, based on a certain similarity of principles – thus, learning is streamlined. In this sense, the weapon becomes the instrument for a truly transformative experience.
We are transformed by a martial practice when we have that same experience of transcendence, when we transcend the notion that the practice and our selves are separate entities, when what was once external becomes internal, where we cease tinkering with the knobs and buttons and simply become an expression of the system itself. As Grand Tuhon Gaje has often stated, “There is no longer a need for a book, for YOU ARE THE BOOK”. That is the truest statement regarding the final experience of a system’s art, a very personal, and
entirely intangible, experience of transcendence and transformation.
KALI: the native methods of blade-to-blade combat of the Philippine archipelago.
SYSTEM: a system is a principles-based approach to problem-solving, defined here as a collection of principles, so organized and coordinated as to be able to be applied to scenarios, circumstances, problems or obstacles, both anticipated and unanticipated. A systems approach is a principles-based approach. For a combat system, this means that sound strategies and tactics, based on valid principles, can be transmitted to new situations or conditions. Looked at this way, FMA do not necessarily evolve or undergo evolution as is sometimes put forth. What constantly changes are the myriad applications of basic, established principles and methods that allow for FMA technology to be useable and relevant in changing times. The conditions change, the “technology” of the system, for the most part, does not. And this is how the past lives on, even in modern times… “The living past in modern times”.
PEKITI-TIRSIA: the name for our system is Pekiti-Tirsia. Pekiti-Tirsia essentially describes the fundamental approach of our system to the circumstances of combat. By either meeting the
force of our opponent’s attack (Pasugat) or following it (Pasunod), we will close quarter with the enemy, enter, neutralize, and escape. In closing quarter, I will use my force (offense) to meet the force of my opponent, or I will evade and follow the force (offense) with my own. So the strategies of PTK basically prescribe a plan for how to use “force”, or offense: meet offense to offense, and then give counter-offense, or move immediately to direct counter-offense.
METHOD: a particular manner for instructing a body of knowledge, or a distinct way of performing an activity. In Pekiti-Tirsia Kali, each method not only presents specific skills and their execution, but also provides the guidelines for how to train, develop and eventually teach those skills to a combative standard.
METHODOLOGY: defined here as the study of the methods (of executing and teaching tactics) – for the whole of the methods of Pasugat tactics, that study is called the Doce Methodos. For the whole of the tactics of Pasunod, that collective study is called the Contradas.
Therefore, in the end, I can say that - I train to experience the Art of Kali through a Pekiti-Tirsia System of combat, and the combined Study of its Methods of Pasugat and Pasunod.