Pekiti Tirsia Kali History
847 Hamilton Ave (Rt 69).
Waterbury, CT 06706
Written By: Grand Tuhon Leo T. Gaje, Jr.
Edited and Provided By: Ron Kosakowski
Click on each picture below to read the plaque on the statues
Kali is the
true Filipino culture and discipline expressed in the principles of
respect, concern and care represented by the carrying of the Kalis as
the status symbol of every Kayumanggi living in the
Kali, the word can be authenticated in the
use of the Filipino language. A Filipino alphabet includes the word Ka
as the first letter words of Tagalog is expressed in
A-BA-KA-DA-E-GA-LA-MA-NA-SA-TA-U-WA-YA. There is no C in Filipino
replacing the letter K with significantly meaningful to the culture of
the true discipline, the Kali culture. The word Ka is a prefix meaning
Sir, Your Highness, Your Majesty, Your Excellency. Then the word
“KALI” is also a prefix to words that describe as adjectives like
KALIPAY MEANS HAPPINESS, KALIBUTAN THE WORLD, KALISUD MEANS SADNESS and
KALIRUNGAN MEANS KNOWLEDGE AND MORE. Not meaning that
KALI, the martial art, is the prefix to these words...this just shows
that KALI as a word, is in the language and a part of the culture. And
in Negros Occidental in the mountainous town
A Kali landmark is found in the Island of Panay called KALIBO, capital city of Aklan province and KALINGA-APAYAO, the province in the north of Luzon representing the indigenous artifacts and tribes that till today still practices Kali under the system called Peka-Peka and in the Island close to Mindoro Island to Manila where the inhabitants still practice the system called ALIMASAG KALI.
as a fighting system was kept secret when the Governor Disilio of Manila
back in 1776 threatened the Filipino people, “all citizens should not
mentioned the word Kali, and carrying of the Kalis was forbidden or else
they will be arrested and brought to prison.” So the inhabitants kept it
and under the pretext of a cane with pointed blade inside the cane. The
Filipinos encountered the Spanish soldiers with these weapons which in
turn, a lot of Spanish soldiers died. That was a major factor that
ignited the Filipino/Spanish revolution in the
Kali was and still is to this day,
considered to be a sacred art by the Filipino people. Every drop of
blood that falls to the ground from the Kali warrior was dedicated to
the Gods with the utmost promise to revenge and to avenge the death of
the Kali warrior. It is well known today
that the Kali warriors didn't stop
fighting even when a bullet was piercing through their bodies. This is
the real proof of the Kali warriors, deep in the provinces of the
Kali warriors of today carry the spirit of
the forefathers who watch the activities of every person that teaches or
professes the Kali as their own fighting system. It is strongly believed
they watch with care and concern that nobody abuses or commercializes
the system with the intention of forgetting the
you can see, Kali is a very powerful martial art compared to many of the
other Asian martial arts from the physical and to
the metaphysical elements of combat. In modern times, this is proven
fact because, for the past six years, the Force Recon Marines training
under the Pekiti-Tirsia
Kali System in the
Kali, as well as Kun Tao has a long
history as successful fighting methods and as a lifestyle in the
Now, after hearing how Kali is a very common word in the Filipino language and present in the true Filipino culture, you can see how Kali is also a Filipino sense of courage within the culture. It is well known that the Filipinos cannot be united religiously, politically or socially. But if there is war to fight, all Filipinos can be easily united together in force to fight against any nation of the world if need be.
More history as told by Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje:
The amazing story of Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje’s Grandfather and what the Japanese put him through during WW2 is amazing. You will see by this is his heroic story he was a true Pekiti Tirsia warrior!
Pekiti-Tirsia system is one of the systems that had its personal experiences of encounter during the heyday of development when my grandfather was the first chief of police of the town of Victorias, a town of 50 kilometers away from the city of Bacolod, Negros occidental. It was those days that the sugar mills were constructed in a town where people of different environment start to find works in the sugar mill. Working in the sugar mill during those times is a privilege and for one to be accepted, he must possess not only to work but must the guts to protect your job. People from different towns come to Victorias to grab the work from the residence depriving the Victorias resident to get the job. So every now and then there are riots and people fought with bolos and knives. My grandfather’s job was to settle the warring factions and made them understand that there is a law to follow and to be civilized and obey the laws. It was a rough mission for my grandfather but with his police men, he drove the invading Sacadas back to their town’s ands barrios with the use of horse whips and Kaboratas. He also whipped his policemen if he caught them sleeping on the job. He was a notorious police chief giving no quarters for the bad elements to stay in the town of Victorias.
The year was 1936 to 1939 when the Japanese invasion of the country expanded to the island of Negros and in each town, there is an organization by the civilians called "Guardia Civil." It was an intelligence network of local resident to report the activities of the Japanese. My grandfather was the head of the civil guard in the Sitio of Isio, the far southern portion of Negros Island. And during this time he was responsible in building a strong civil guard against the Japanese patrol and on many occasions, the encounter was more of a secret for other people not to know since the Japanese had their own Kempitai - meaning an appointed civilian acting as the spy of the Japanese against the Filipino guerillas. In one of the accounts, the brother of my grandfather Balbino Tortal was caught by the Japanese including three friends. Their hands were tied and told to walk many kilometers without food and at the end of the journey, the Japanese wanted to execute each one of them, the brother Balbino was able to parry his body from the incoming bayonet thrust and got his arms caught where the ropes are tightening his wrist and that time the timing was he able to insert the bayonet into the rope and cut the rope , he took the bayonet and fought the Japanese bayonet to bayonet and killed three Japanese but he had not eaten anything he felt so weak and the Japanese soldier hit the head with the rifle bat and he fell and died. But never the less, he still took three Japanese with him!. His brother was his best sparring partner under the Pekiti-Tirsia Kali system.
Grand Tuhon Leo T. Gaje Tells us what he had to go through to learn his family system of Pekiti Tirsia Kali:
Even as a young boy, training Pekiti Tirsia Kali was as hard as it was painful. From the age of six years old, standing on a table performing Pekiti Tirsia triangle based footwork on a daily basis from 5:00 am to 7:30. And if my grandfather is not in a good mood, it was to be repeated again in the afternoon. This routine continued until I was nine years old. It was at that time when I took the first stick for the first time and start to swing under my grandfather’s guidance.
It was beginning with no ending even up to the time on his death bed his words of wisdom was, “never neglect your training and be prepared at all times.” A friend is your enemy in the future, an enemy is pretentious he can be a traitor, before any fight with anyone he is your enemy but if there is a fight then you will know if he a true enemy or just nobody.
Pekiti Tirsia Kali
847 Hamilton Ave (Rt 69).