December 28, 2011

DVD Review - "Strategic Knife Defense w/ Leo T. Gaje Jr."

The Pekiti Tirsia Kali community at large has been patiently waiting for lineage holder Leo T. Gaje Jr. to produce a series of instructional DVDs to accompany his already crazy busy seminar teachings.  Well my steel wielding carvers your wait is up as Tim Waid in conjunction with his teacher Leo T. Gaje Jr. have released the first DVDs to be produced by the Pekiti Tirsia Kali Global Organization.  Volume one in the classic series is "Strategic Knife Defense: Defensive Tactics for Law Enforcement"

With the goal of presenting the authentic Pekiti Tirsia Kali system of combat blade fighting, this "classic" DVD is an absolute must have for anyone interested in not only blade fighting, but just the historical footage of Leo Gaje teaching back in 1987 is priceless!  I have heard there is tons of footage of Gaje teaching seminars, private lessons, etc. throughout the decades he has been teaching the world over.  Waid and Gaje have decided to release these teachings and footage for practitioners to see the authentic system of Kali as it was handed down to Gaje, whom in turn hands it down to his senior most students.

TECHNICAL REVIEW:
   As stated above this video footage was taken over 25 years ago where it seems this was to be the first in a series of instructionals geared towards the law enforcement community, so though the quality is not the HD crystal clear image we all have grown accustomed to, the producers and editors did an amazing job of restoring the footage and transferring it to DVD.

  Again basic editing was involved in this recording back in the day, but there are a few moments where camera angles change or they zoom in where needed.  Overall the quality of the instructional is not affected by any of the video technology.  Sound quality is excellent as well, as I never found myself straining to hear anything explained.

Beginning to end the disc runs an hour long and has an easy to navigate menu where the DVD is broken into six basic categories:

  • Intro / Knife Attacks
  • Counter Knife Attacks
  • Knife Jabbing Attacks
  • Knife Tapping
  • Baton Tactics
  • Empty Hand Tactics
INSTRUCTIONAL CONTENT:
  Aimed as a basic introduction to the knife and bladed combatives for law enforcement personnel, "Strategic Knife Defense" is a great starting block for anyone new to bladed weapon arts, or situations where one may encounter a bladed aggressor (security / LEO / military / bouncers etc.).  To quote Gaje:

  "The purpose of this video is to get the officer acquainted with edged weapons, and to understand principle movements and strategy of knife fighting."

Drawn from the fundamental principles of PTK, Gaje takes viewers through the common attacks someone wielding a knife would use, as well as the fundamental counter movements to these most common slashes and thrusts.  These angles of attack are common movements we use in everyday life, yet when we look at them in a martial context we see the reason why our predecessors created the art the way they did.  

By no means is this a collection of techniques thrown into an hour long video, actually quite the contrary.  Gaje takes the time to explain exactly why someone will attack in this manner, and why you respond the way you do.  Throughout the video he shows a number of various counter strikes, joint locks (some seem a bit flashy as I doubt they would be very high percentage on a fully resisting opponent), and a couple of take downs.  Overall the message is clear... a large repertoire of techniques is useless without the fundamental building blocks to execute said techniques.  

The "Knife Tapping" chapter, though only a few minutes long, offers some very interesting insight into Leo Gaje's teaching methodology.  In this chapter he emphasizes acceptance of the blade being the primary focus of knife tapping drills.  Though just touched upon it is interesting to note the wisdom in the young Gaje's experience where he was talking about combat psychology and blade psychology way before it was a cool subject on internet chat rooms.  

If the purpose of this DVD was to inform LEO about the dangers and benefits of edged weapon defense, and lay down the foundation for future training volumes then Gaje succeeded in his endeavor.  I am not sure if this series will continue on with his teachings of strategic knife defense, but in the baton chapter Gaje mentions future volumes.  

Historians, teachers, or practitioners of Pekiti Tirsia Kali will not want to miss this volume simply to see there grand teacher moving and training 25 years ago.  A classic by all means and at $40 it is a hell of a steal!  


Train Hard.  Train Smart.
Jake 
Tim Waid (L) alongside his teacher Leo Gaje. 



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