Is Pekiti-Tirsia Kali relevant today? The short answer is: absolutely.
How? The system trains the mind, it enhances the senses, it communicates, it transfers skill, it gives you advantages over larger, faster opponents and multiple opponents, it utilizes your environment, and it's cost-effective.
If you're an instructor or practitioner of Pekiti-Tirsia Kali or Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) you've probably heard this statement: "It's not practical to train with a stick for self-defense, because I'll never carry one." That statement couldn't be any further from the truth, because it's not about the stick... or even a sword. The fundamental purpose of PTK-SMF weapons training runs much deeper than a mere weapon-as-object.
The rattan stick is a staple training implement of Pekiti-Tirsia Kali (PTK-SMF), like many other Filipino Martial Arts (FMA). At first glance, many think it's an irrelevant or antiquated weapon used several hundreds of years ago by the Filipino culture. And that's true in a sense. However, one aspect of its purpose is to represent an introductory or safe training tool in place of an edged weapon (a short or long sword and knife, for example). The authentic combat culture of the Philippines was based upon the blade not the "stick" (a blade culture that is still an intrinsic part of the Philippines). Ferdinand Magellan and his men weren't driven from the Philippines with mere sticks in the 1500's.
Here are three points to consider for a clearer perspective:
In the case of a "equalizer", maybe you won't carry a rattan stick or sword, (or even a gentlemanly cane while sporting a top hat handlebar mustache) but it's likely there are other things in your environment that share similar physical characteristics (the weapon, not the mustache). This is especially true if you purposely carry other everyday tools (knife, tactical flashlight, pen, etc.) or you're purposefully aware of your surroundings in order to identify items to use (also another aspect of our training fit for another article). Examples of equalizers can include a knife, tactical flashlight, ballpoint pen, phone, rolled up magazine, hot coffee, exact-o blade, letter opener, bat, rock, dirt... the list goes on. The real fundamental value comes in what, where, when, how and why you're able to use the tool.
With PTK-SMF, you'll acquire the mindset, mental performance and ability to identify initial and active threats in addition to various types of attacks more accurately. You'll also learn how to utilize designated tools and other everyday objects found in your surrounding environment to be used for protection in order to gain an advantage.
Additionally, in the the case of an equalizer, it's also a force multiplier. When there's a disparity of size and strength (and numbers), a weapon or tool will equalize or nullify the advantage an assailant may initially have. For example, with the right training (involving equalizers and dynamic movement), a relevant tool can help a 110lb woman counter a 225lb man with greater efficiency and effectiveness.
But most importantly is this:
It's not just about a "stick". The most important aspect of the stick (actually as a sword, aka. long weapon), is that, for PTK-SMF, it's a safe teaching tool that involves a practical and validated system of thinking and observing. Even though it's categorized a long impact weapon, the stick is actually not the primary choice because the system is centered around using edged weapons. (A long impact weapon is an alternative or secondary tool of availability.) This perspective critically changes the underlying purpose of training methods, tactics and how the system is executed overall.
Wielding a weapon helps to transfer the understanding of several other important elements for fighting using both armed and unarmed methods (i.e. empty-hands) and tactics interchangeably. (Cost-wise, it also makes your training more economical because of its multipurpose characteristic and acquired skills.)
This type of weapon training creates an advantage that training unarmed combatives alone will not give you. For instance, not only are weapon-based skills and tactics transferred using a physical implement, the range, timing, angle, intent, and dynamics of an attack are visualized and understood more comprehensively. This includes the speed, power and follow-through of strikes in which tactics and techniques are executed with the instinctual capacity needed for self-protection and combat. In the absence of a weapon, your empty-hands (and the rest of your body) become the weapon – locks, holds, chokes, grabs, pushes, punches and kicks can all be countered with the same training (or with a slight variation of manipulation).
The training tool, sometimes in the form of rattan stick (or other long weapon), becomes a tangible manifestation of the motion interactions of strikes (grounded by the principles of dynamic geometry and physics). It gives truthful answers (validation) to the success of a strike to your opponent, or the failure of your ability to evade. This, of course, is highly influenced by the delivery of realistic offensive or counteroffensive attacks and maneuvering.
Once those interactions are embodied and conditioned, your mental perception and visual sensitivity ultimately become supercharged. You'll acquire much more of an effective mindset, initiate more skillfully, adapt to the attack and your environment more efficiently, as well as gain the ability to spontaneously create advantages.
That said, here are 10 more reasons why PTK-SMF is effective, click here.