Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Be careful what you wish for

When people find out that I train under Rommel Tortal, the Pekiti Tirsia Kali instructor for the Marines and Special Operations forces, and that Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje drops by regularly to teach us, the most common comment is “Wow, I would give my (body part) to train under your teachers”. Yup, it does sound like a PTK dream come true doesn’t it. You have one of the style’s leading teachers and PTK’s headmaster teaching you the ways of the ginunting, knife, stick and empty hand.

But having these two as teachers comes with a serious price. You have to realize that the expectations from you as a student will be incredibly high. As a member of the only civilian PTK group in the Philippines, those expectations are par for the course. You have to be as good as these two teachers expect you to be and boy will they squeeze it out of you.

Training under Guro Mel is already a supreme test of will and stamina. A class is about 3 hours long and the “warm up” alone – what an oxymoron – is a near death experience. To those who do PTK, try doing all the footwork you know – including squats and weaving – for half an hour straight. Yes, that means you don’t stop to change footwork, you just shift to what Mel says. Prepare to do 50 to 100 squats aka ducking. And that doesn't even include the hundreds of strikes you'll be doing in the class. It takes time to get used to the agony, believe me. The classes just get harder and harder; the last class was only preparation for what’s coming up soon.

When GT Gaje visits, the intensity just goes off the scale. He’ll start his first class when he visits with an over-the-top warm up that will leave you and everyone else sore for days, regardless of how fit you are. Words can’t describe how nasty these can be but if you’ve attended one of his seminars you know what I mean. It doesn’t matter if you do marathons or you served as a Navy Seal. You will do exercises and drills that your body has no way of preparing for. That’s one of GT Gaje’s gifts, finding training methods that teach skills and attributes and also tax the body and mind in new and vicious ways.

But surviving the classes rewards you with technical training that’s second to none. And that alone is worth the pain and effort. :)


Stephen Renico said...


It's good to see you back blogging again.

island_man said...

I've been really busy with work. I've got a number of posts lined up.