Notes on the 64 Attacks: A Student’s Take on Training

The 64 Attacks is a relatively long form taught in the Pekiti-Tirsia System of Kali – both forms and length being somewhat uncommon in the Filipino martial arts.  It originated with Grand Tuhon Gaje in the late 70s and early 80s, and was reportedly developed as a weekend seminar teaching tool to help newcomers learn the system more quickly.  It derives its content from the foundational Doces Methodos (or 12 Sub-systems) of PTK.  As the name suggests, there are supposedly 64 strikes or counts in total.

The 64 Attacks can be broken down into discrete segments and expressed as flow drills for the purpose of increasing in depth learning and movement. It is, in essence, the backbone of the system and like a backbone it is composed of small sections that can be grouped into larger sections, which derive from certain of the sub-systems.

However, where the human backbone is divided into seven cervical, followed by twelve thoracic, followed five lumbar vertebrae the backbone of Pekiti Tirsia is somewhat different order, being made up of twelve attacks, followed by five attacks, followed by seven attacks and also includes some walls, umbrellas and a clock.

In this way it is all-encompassing, though it can be difficult to break in/break out because as you may have noticed, there are no windows.

Due to this difficulty, the 64 is best approached by splitting it into segments that, as far as I can tell, are comprised all together as upward of seventy strikes that somehow, in the end, add up to sixty-four.  Such are the magical qualities of Pekiti-Tirsia.

  • 12 Attacks: Short-range slashing and thrusting while constantly corto-ing side to side. Corto is a movement that is excellent for generating power at close range and is described by some as good for “fighting in a phone booth.” However the strikes of the 12 attacks swing wide and therefore cannot be recommended to a phone booth as they would almost definitely destroy it, making later drills such as col de mama extremely difficult.
  • 4 Walls: The four walls are comprised, in true architectural phenomenon, of ten strikes against six walls but are known as the four walls nonetheless. The second and third walls are the same as the first two only lower down and the fifth and sixth wall have secret umbrellas hanging on them that are almost invisible. The last six walls are shaped like a diamond.
  • 3 Umbrellas: It turns out umbrellas actually do have some use apart from keeping off the rain, they are similarly good for shedding blows. As a side note, there are umbrellas that are made in a tactical fashion and can be used for fighting but those umbrellas don’t have much to do with these umbrellas and in any case there are more then three of them.
  • Dakup y Punyo: This section is confusing as it is the same as the last one, only different. Dakup y Punyo resembles the three little umbrellas.
    *Which is not a strange variation of “The three little pigs,” but is in fact three umbrellas repeated over twice in almost the same order, but obviously without the four walls the three little pigs built their houses out of, straw, sticks and bricks respectively, although sticks are highly relevant to the sixty four but not when they are built into walls regardless of whether or not there are four of them.
  • 5 Attacks: These can be a method of learning to generate power by stepping. There is a five attacks drill that goes along with it but resembles the form in much the same fashion as a mouse resembles Paris: that pointy nose looks a bit like the Eiffel tower if you squint at it right, but the similarities end there.
  • Break in/ Break out: Which as previously mentioned is difficult when training in a gym with no windows and is subject to a a varied number of counts depending on whether or not you live in Montreal.
  • Seven Attacks: These are actually composed of nine strikes with a count that varies according to how the stick hits the floor and adds up to seven in the end.
  • Orasson: The clock face that rather then Tick-Tocking in the regular fashion sounds a bit more like this: wi-TICK wi-TICK wi-TICK and follows a different numerical order altogether: 12, 1, 11, 2, 10, 3, 9, 4, 8, 5, 6, which is confusing at first but has a definite advantage for those who work a 9-5.

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