Karate

Apolo Ladra: The Next Generation Of Pekiti Tirsia Kali | Black Belt Magazine

Apolo Ladra is on a mission to make the Filipino martial art of kali, especially the style known as pekiti tirsia, as popular as taekwondo and jujitsu. “I want people to know its true culture and ethics and the true meaning of the blade,” he said. “This is our treasure, and I want to share it with the world.”

Born in the Philippines, Ladra immigrated to America when he was 7. In the States, he was drawn deep into taekwondo. He excelled as a student and went on to become a taekwondo instructor and a competitor. He opened a network of martial arts academies and saw success there, as well. As time passed, however, he felt the attraction of kali, the fighting art of his homeland.

Ladra then did a 180 and immersed himself in the stick and blade art. His current appraisal of the situation is succinct and fair: Taekwondo remains his “martial art and sport,” while pekiti tirsia is his “combative art.” I said that’s fair because in Ladra’s mind, those are two different things.

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