By: Ferd, PTK-Peninsula/PTK-SMF
Officially founded in 1897, Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is the indigenous close-quarter combat system of the Tortal family from Negros Occidental in the Philippines. Its current headmaster and sole inheritor is Grand Tuhon Leopoldo Tortal Gaje Jr., who learned this combat system from his grandfather, Grand Tuhon Conrado B. Tortal.
Pekiti-Tirsia basically means "close quartering." Pekiti in the Ilongo dialect means "to close" or "get in close," tirsia means to "quarter." The word tirsia is also derived from the medieval Latin tertiarius, meaning tertiary or "of a third." In essence, we close in on the enemy, quarter or cut them to pieces, then quickly get out of range. We always assume that the opponent is well trained and that there are more than one to deal with, so this combat system utilizes very sophisticated footwork to out maneuver the enemy or enemies and fast tactical striking mechanics to end the fight quickly. Kali of course denotes the utilization of edged weaponry in combat... NOT sticks.
Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is not a "martial art" in the same sense as other other martial arts, nor is it a "style" of Filipino martial arts. People often get hung up on the words martial art or style. Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is a combat system - a science of strategy and tactics. However, through continuous training, endless repetitions and the individual practitioner's mastery and personal expression of the system that it becomes a martial art, giving it his/her own personal flair or style.