By: Mataas Na Guro Dino Martinez (Originally published 09-08-2009)
Chief Instructor PTK-SMF Tampa Bay, Director PTKGO
It should be stated that, despite the misinformed view of some, the 64 Attacks and the Doce Methodos of Pekiti-Tirsia are not “pretty much the same thing”, nor are they “just the basics”. Such statements indicate a gross misunderstanding of the PTK system, and uninformed generalizations should really not go unchecked.
There are three facets to the PTK system of blade combat. The first is guided by the principle of Pasugat, representing ‘force on force’ (direct offense) strategies for edged or impact weaponry. This is better known as the foundation system of the Doce Methodos - a methodology for presenting every possible manner of utilizing a long, bladed weapon such as a ginunting. The Doce Methodos comprehensively addresses combat targeting, angulations and energy, combat range and measure, and attacks according to weapon anatomy and manipulation – in adherence to the Pasugat Principle. This is the foundation for all progress in the system due to the fact that it teaches the necessary strategies, tactics, mechanics and attributes that will later apply to every weapon category, thereby allowing for what is known as transferable technology and parallel methodology.
The next facet of the system is guided by the principle of Pasunod, representing the notion of ‘following the force’, or direct counter-attack. This is better known as the Contradas System and is advanced in that, having come to a point of development in the Methodos, the fighter progresses to direct counter-offensive attacks that forego any weapon-to-weapon contact. It should be noted that the ability to actually do this relies heavily on the combat attributes (speed, timing, power, accuracy and precision) and understanding attained in the foundation system. The Pasunod principle is also applied with every weapons category.
The last facet of the system is the combination of both Pasugat and the Pasunod, the Contra-Tirsia Dubla Dos, which is accomplished through the combined mastery of the foundation and advanced systems. At this point in the system, “one has gained full knowledge, understanding and has mastered the execution of both systems, resulting in the ability to attack and counter with or against these systems.” Like the two sides of a coin, each complements the other and likewise is diminished by the lack of the other – it is pointless to view them otherwise. The true system, or the “big picture” of PTK, is sufficiently encapsulated by these three guiding principles. At its most simple level, one represents direct offense, one represents direct counter-offense, and the last represents the dynamic execution of either, interchangeably and at will.
The 64 Attacks presented a very condensed version of the Doce Methodos, or Pasugat Principle, as a viable and appropriate teaching method for the time period it was introduced. It presented in 64 movements most of the mechanical forms of the system, as well as providing an anchor for some of the indispensable combat and two-man timing drills of PTK. Grand Tuhon also at this time showed certain other aspects of the system based on various pre-conditions. What disturbs me is the insinuation that the presentation of the PTK system called the 64 Attacks is so casually tossed off as “basic”. While not magnified to the same degree as the Methodos, under Grand Tuhon Gaje’s tutelage it still produced champions of the era – Tom Bisio, Eric Knaus, Philip Gelinas, Mike Franciotti and others. In the right hands it is still formidable - just not representative of the entire system of Pekiti-Tirsia.
Having said that, what differentiates this from the Doce Methodos lies in the true tactical application of the strategies and techniques offered by the system where, among other things, each component is magnified and understood according to applications of offense and counter-offense (Timing) and close or long range quartering (Combat Range). As far as the 64 Attacks go, it should be clearly understood that what first existed was the principle of Pasugat, categorized according to 12 methods, or Methodos, and which stood as the source material from which 64 Attacks were formulated. They are only similar in the same respect that a novel resembles its booklet of cliff notes. As has been said elsewhere, these guiding principles, the strategies formed from them and the tactics that represent them cannot be evolved or improved, only reduced or magnified via the systemization of PTK and the ‘thought-provoking process’.
The instructional process allows for this, for the thought-provoking process Grand Tuhon often speaks of is also known as The Socratic Method of Learning, introduced by the Greeks thousands of years ago - a process by which the student learns for themselves, guided by certain vital principles, strategies, conditions, etc. The student magnifies what they learn so as to fit any number of situations and challenges, and so long as their "thoughts" (solutions) adhere to those principles, they are always correct. So, far from being something distinctly different than the Doce Methodos (or any other part of the system), the thought provoking process is indelibly linked to it to the extent that the student manifests the requisite intellectual attributes. This is because no “teacher” can teach you this. They can only progressively instruct you in the principles and strategies of the entire system, demonstrate the tactics, and encourage (or provoke) the thought process by which the student may put it all together. But that eventuality lies entirely with the learner, provided that his/her instructor is offering the correct and appropriate principles, strategies, guidelines, etc., and is fully versed in their true application, as opposed to filling in the gaps of their knowledge with incongruent material, resulting in faulty conclusions.
In the case of Pekiti-Tirsia Kali, these guidelines are all found in the Foundation System of the Doce Methodos (which builds, accumulates and structures knowledge), the Advanced Combat Method of the Contradas (which refines, enhances and simplifies knowledge) and the Contra-Tirsia (which integrates and synthesizes all combined knowledge). It is all there in the system, and represents the collective genius of its Filipino forefathers and the true mastery of its present heir and guardian, Grand Tuhon Leo T. Gaje, Jr., who in presenting the 64 Attacks or the Tri-V Formula, has always found a way to condense and manifest the system in a format appropriate for public consumption of the time.
In this day and age, almost 4 decades after its introduction to the United States, let us be clear on what constitutes the PTK combat system and in so doing, demonstrate the commitment to preserving and perfecting it as a vessel of knowledge from the living past through modern times, and into the future.