Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is a system of Kali, a style specific to Filipino Martial Arts which contains hundreds of systems and varied styles. Pekiti-Tirsia Kali was founded in 1897 and is the system of the Tortal family. The sole heir and guardian of this system is Leo T. Gaje, Jr. who is referred to as the Grand Tuhon. Pekiti-Tirsia is a combat-oriented, as opposed to sport-focused, style.
The Muslim chieftains established a colony on Kalibo, Aklan — this is sometimes cited as the origin of the name "Kali". Another reason is that a practitioner of the art is trained in carrying a knife, which is called a "kalis".
Pekiti-Tirsia Kali specifically was a family system that goes back at least four generations, starting with Norberto Tortal. It was further developed and improved during the years 1930-36 by his grandson Conrado Tortal. Tortal was from Panay, the island that the chieftains from Borneo settled on when Kali came to the Philippines. The system is now headed by Leo Gaje Junior, the grandson of Conrado Tortal.
Gaje introduced his system to North America after arriving in the US in 1972. His style earned recognition and respect from major martial arts organizations such as the Jewish Karate Federation, the United States Karate Association International, and the United States Karate Federation. His system has been an influence on the Dog Brothers, Shihan Doug Adamson, Dan Inosanto and other FMA practitioners. He has since brought the system to various European countries as well.
Tuhon Eddie Villareal continues to teach Pekiti Tirsia in the United States today.
In 1995, Pekiti Tirsia International was formed in the US. In 1997, this organization went its own way. It is currently headed by Tuhon Guro McGrath (President and Chief Instructor). Other Directors include Mataas na Guro Erwin Ballarta (Law Enforcement Director), Magino'o Dan Inosanto (North American Director), Sifu Manfred Steiner (European Director), Ralf Beckmann (Director for Germany), and Guro Roberto Bonomelli & Guro Attilio Acquistapace (Co-Directors for Italy).
In 1996, Pekiti-Tirsia Europe Organization was formed, with Maginoo-Mandala Uli Weidle as Managing Director.
In the year 1997 the Centennial Celebration for 100 years of Pekiti-Tirsia was celebrated in Subic Bay, Zambales, Philippines last October 25, 1997. Pekiti-Tirsia was the only Filipino Martial Art officially recognized as having a centennial.
In 2003, Pekiti Tirsia Global was established. PTGO National Directors include Leo T. Gaje, Jr. and 2nd Maginoo-Mandala Rommel Tortal in the Philippines, Maginoo-Mandala Timothy D. Waid in the United States, Mandala-Tuhon Philip Gelinas in Canada, and Maginoo-Mandala Uli Weidle in Europe.
Pekiti-Tirsia is currently the only Kali system recognized by the Philippine government used to train Force-Recon Marine Battalions of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Special Action Force (SAF) contingent of the Philippine National Police.
Pekiti-Tirsia Kali incorporates 5 main weapon categories (including the human body):
There are various subsystems of training that have evolved over the years, including:
has described the following areas of specialization, highlighting the particular strengths of different Pekiti Tirsia instructors:
All of the basic of 64 attacks including the breakdown of Thrust and Tapping, Break In/Break out, Five attacks, Seven attacks, and Clock system. It includes advanced techniques of Sequidas, Contradas, and Recontras. There are inserts along the way of unarmed knife tapping, bladework, locks and technical throws, unarmed combat and armed combat. The footwork strategy and handiwork with the weapon are also most important.
Doce Methodos, a unique structure compatible to any mode of attacks using the Diagonal V and Reverse V.
Contra Tirsia Dubla Doz, a unique methodology now advanced into the TRi-V Formula and the Edged Impact Weapon Tactical Combat, Edged Impact Weapon Control Dynamics, and Edged Impact Weapon Survival Tactics.
Advanced mastery with combination of the TRi-V Formula and the Capsula Methodica, and the Mastery of the Dagaso Tirsia for Single knife and the Qol Demama Dagga. The combined structures are applicable to full contact stick fighting.
Combining the Contra Tirsia Dubla Doz and TRi-V Formula that will lead to Capsula Methodica.
In the year 1998 Pekiti-Tirsia Philippines, Inc. organized the "Battle of Grandmasters". A tournament following the Total Submission Policy - fighting without any protection gear (no glove, no helmet) with unpadded sticks, no referee, no time limit, no rules. Fighting was done on challenges (Master and Grandmaster division) and as a challenge tournament (advanced students). The tournament was open to all styles, and Masters and Grandmasters from more than 15 styles have been personally invited - but only Pekiti-Tirsia fighters were willing to fight under the said conditions.