FMAT: The few, The proud, the leaders! Tuhon Gaje

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Sep 11, 2006
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The few, The proud, the leaders! Tuhon Gaje
By NubreedKaliSilat - Fri, 21 Mar 2008 19:19:38 GMT
Originally Posted at: FMATalk


"THE FEW, THE PROUD, THE LEADERS!" GRAND TUHON LEO T. GAJE JR. - Grandmaster of the Pekiti-Tirsia Kali System
Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is an indigineous Filipino Fighting Art developed by the Tortal family of Negros Occidental and the Panay Islands, found in the central Visayan region of the Philippines. It is a complete martial art system, containing history, philosophy, technology and methodology that date back more than 1500 to 2000 years in the past. The system's founder and family patriarch, Grandmaster Conrado B. Tortal passed on the complete system of Pekiti-Tirsia to his only grandson, sole heir and present keeper of Pekiti-Tirsia - Grand Tuhon Leo T. Gaje.
The Great Grand Tuhon (Grandmaster) Conrado Tortal was one of five brothers, and was the maternal grandfather of Grand Tuhon Gaje. GT Gaje was sent to live with his Grandfather Conrado at the age of six, and it was from the ages of 6 until 9 that young Leo began his training in the family system of Filipino Martial Arts - Pekiti Tirsia Kali. From his youngest years, Leo was taught nothing but footwork training and stepping drills, beginning on a rickety old table and then eventually on to three cocnut halves. Why coconut halves? Because you can only put down one foot at a time, forcing you to step very lightly (and quickly), thus developing young Leo's speed and agility in body movement. As young Leo grew into adulthood he would continue his training in the family Art, learning the Doce Methodos (12 Methods) and other advanced combat techniques of Pekiti Tirsia, until his training was finally complete.
Upon graduating from West Negros College in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines, and serving in private business, Grand Tuhon Gaje trained in the Philippine Presidential Security Command in pre-Marcos times. He also guarded payroll delivery trucks in the insurgent infested Negros, Occidental of the 1960's, as well as ran his own stevedore's (longshoreman) union. Grand Tuhon Gaje later emigrated to the United Sates in 1972, about the time that then Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos had declared martial law in the Philippines.
Upon his arrival in the United States, Grand Tuhon Gaje began teaching his family art of Pekiti-Tirsia on the East Coast, from his headquarters in New York City, and was the first to introduce real "full-contact" stick fighting across the United States. Grand Tuhon Gaje produced the first National Arnis/Kali Grand Champion in both the United States and the Philippines, as well as U.S. and Philippine National Champions. During this time, Grand Tuhon Gaje served as NARAPHIL Commissioner for North and South America, as well as Europe and also continued to promote the Filipino Martial Arts throughout other parts of the world.
During his early years in the U.S. Grand Tuhon Gaje would produce some of the best first generation Pekiti-Tirsia students, instructors and fighters throughout North America, many of whom are very well known in martial arts circles, men such as Tom Bisio, Erwin Ballarta, William McGrath, Eric Knaus, Philip Gelinas, Omar Hakim, Greg Alland and many, many others. Even world-reknowned Guro Dan Inosanto (Filipino Martial Arts Instructor and former protoge' to legendary martial artist/actor Bruce Lee) was a student of Pekiti-Tirsia under Grand Tuhon Gaje, and has himself stated that:
"In the field of strategic knife defense, the Pekiti-Tirsia System of Kali is one of the most progressive, practical and sophisticated systems of tactical knife self-defense and edged weapon awareness that I have encountered." ~ Dan Inosanto
Grand Tuhon Gaje was also among the first to introduce the Indonesian/Malaysian Martial Art of Pentjak Silat to the United States, through his association with the late Pendakar (Master Teacher) Suriadi 'Eddie' Jafri of Indonesia. It was during these early years that Grand Tuhon Gaje, Guro Dan Inosanto and Pendakar Jafri would hold joint training camps and special seminars to the American public on the fighting arts of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, further spreading education and awareness of these remarkable fighting arts, customs and philosophies, as well as the amazing cultures that created them, to the North American audience for the first time. This was a truly remakable feat for Grand Tuhon Gaje as up until that time, most martial arts in the U.S. focused mainly on Japanese, Chinese and Korean martial art systems.
It was also during his early time spent in the U.S. that Grand Tuhon Gaje had served as the National Training Director for the Justice System Training Association and the United States Police Defensive Tactics Training Association. He was the first to develop the "Safety Baton System" and the "Edged Weapon Awareness/Strategic Knife Defense Program" for National, Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S.
The leading law-enforcement legal authority of the U.S. at that time, Dr. Kevin Parsons, testified that,
"The techniques of Leo Gaje have revolutionized the use of force...and these tactical training programs are the most progressive, effective and advanced methods for the application of intermediate force, liability reduction and officer survival available to the law enforcement community today."
Grand Tuhon Gaje also served as technical advisor (as well as his most famous personal appearance) in the Law Enforcement Training Video "SURVIVNG EDGED WEAPONS", where both he and Guro Dan Inosanto make personal appearances and demonstrate the lethal effectiveness of the Filipino Knifefighting Arts to the Law Enforcement community at large. The video has been critically acclaimed by many in law enforcement circles as the "Finest L.E.O. training video ever made", and definate viewing for anyone who truly wants to understand the grim realities of a knife attack.
Grand Tuhon Gaje has also been featured in articles and on the covers of various popular martial arts magazines such as "Inside Kung-Fu" and "Official Karate Magazine", as well as been awarded membership in the Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Karate Hall of Fame in 1988 - a particularly special achievement since Grand Tuhon Gaje was the only non-karate practitioner ever awarded the honour.
Presently, Grand Tuhon Gaje continues to propogate, promote and teach the indigeneous Filipino Fighting Art of his forefathers - Pekiti Tirsia Kali - throughout the various regions of the free world - including the United States, Canada, parts of Europe as well as Southeast Asia. He continues to further develop and instruct military close-quarters combat programs and special training for special military forces around the world, and has trained presidential/head of state protective and security forces from the Philippines, other parts of Asia, the United States and parts of Western Europe. He had institutionalized Pekiti-Tirsia as the official combatives program for the Philippine Force Marine Recon, S.W.A.G. (Seal Teams), Special Action Force Teams (Counter-Terrorist Units), the Special Air Service and the Philippine National Police. He has also introduced the Pekiti Tirsia System to the U.S. Marines and Navy, as well as a variety of Special Operations Units (U.S. and Europe), through the jointly held "BALIKATAN" military exercises held annually in the Philippines.
Grand Tuhon Gaje has been recognized for his Exemplary Achievement for the World-Wide propogation of Pekiti-Tirsia and the Indigeneous Filipino Martial Arts by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He continues to passionately teach the Art of Pekiti-Tirsia to the next generation of practitioners, fighters and instructors, through educational, cultural, competitive sports programs as well as specialized tactical training programs for military, law-enforcement and security forces throughout the free world.
Although the Art of Pekiti Tirsia is an ancient one, Grand Tuhon Gaje has always described it as "the Art of Modern Times in the Living Past". Thus in Pekiti Tirsia Kali, ancient battle-proven methods of combat are combined with modern, scientific methodology and technology - insuring that Pekiti Tirsia will remain as viable and effective in today's Modern Age as it ever was during its illustrious past. To this day, under the continued research and development program of Grand Tuhon Gaje, Pekiti-Tirsia continues to evolve and further develop, thus allowing the System to remain forever new and constantly advancing forward. Under Grand Tuhon Gaje's ever watchful eye, the Filipino Art of Kali continues to be well-rooted in its past, while at the same time pushingforward and looking toward the future.

For further information regarding Grand Tuhon Gaje and Pekiti Tirsia Kali, please visit the official website of the PEKITI-TIRSIA GLOBAL ORGANIZATION.


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