I have only been practicing the Martial Art of Kali, with the Pekiti Tirsia Elite family here on the East Coast for 2 months now, but with each moment of training (2-4 days of class a week and daily personal practice) I have discovered a part of my spirit awaken that makes me feel fuller in my whole being. The brother Guros of the PTK Elite family have guided me in understanding the historical context of this Art and how to fully apply it to the act of protecting myself and being able to understand my ability as a human being to access strength, stealth, awareness and focus to my movements in the midst of moments where violence and endangerment may arise. Pekiti Tirsia is a Kali fighting technique/ school that does not teach defense, but rather how to be in a position for attack and counter offensive movements to survive in situations where another threatens your life. They recount in every movement taught, stories of our ancestors- workers, farmers, indigenous peoples connected to the land and the sky and the sea and the sun, who, with invasion because of conquistadors and colonizers threatening the lives of our peoples, were forced to awaken the warrior spirits within themselves.
I seek to access these piece of my memory in muscle, joint, bone, blood, nerve- physical vessel in whole. I have slowly come to understand that connecting to this practice connects me to a part of my ancestry that has been dormant within me. It, like many other movements connecting to the traumas and triumphs of my people have been put to sleep by privilege of being raised 2nd generation immigrant in the U.S. I have never been in the position I know many people around the world still, in this present day, love and grow in- where by force they are made to live in constant survival mindset under situations of violence, war and duress. My ancestors placed these movements into their bodies for lived circumstances that forced them to protect their lives and the lives of their family and tribes, to protect their land and to protect the divine spirits within them.
My greatest connection to the practice of Kali is discovering how putting these movements, these motions, these vibrations- connects to deep spirit. I have taken time to in tune myself to these energies in my body and how my spirit dances with these movements- the balance between gentle healing flow in the fluid dance of the art, and the fierceness, the fire and grounded power of protecting whole self, body, mind and spirit.
With putting these movements of revolutionary ancestors into my body. I found an understanding for myself that this practice of martial art can be rooted in spiritual connectivity generating energy in my body from the heavens to the earthly plane. Bringing these energies together can create a synergy of spiritual power that allows for the dual fluidity and strength in power of this ancestral practice to come through in every strike, every thrust, every slap and every slash and she spoke to my continued practice of breath being at the center, as breath of life, as release of spirit.
The traditional bow to our instructors also roots in the honoring of spirit. Movements connecting to above, and rooted below. Even the sacred triangle that all of our movements are framed in speaks to spirit elevated upward with grace toward the divine and downward, rooted into the earth and this physical human existence.
I appreciate and value the teachings of survival and the vigilance that I am learning in my trainings, but even moreso, I give gratitude for what it helps me re-member. Every moment I practice, I know it is an act of giving to my body, mind and spirit- returning the movements back into my physical self, enlivening images of distant memory- my ancestors in historical resistance and awakening my spirit to unveil its resilience in connecting these movements to the divine and protection of the sacred miracle of my living. I am so thankful to all my teachers the Guros of PTK who have encouraged, supported and uplifted me in this path or learning and re-membering, each sharing a piece of their own journey back to understanding self through their practice of PTK. I am blessed to learn and build in the community they have created through their collective desire and passion to share the knowledge of this sacred martial art with all those that wish to commit to exploration and deep learning beside them.
I’m committing myself to this practice of ancestral movement, and seeking the investigation and discovery of other movement that will awaken in me a fuller sense of who I am as a Pinay, as a human being, as an animal of this existence. I welcome these movements into my body and let them settle in my whole self and find home there again.