Apolo Ladra in Black Belt Magazine

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Apolo Ladra is a man on a mission to spread the Filipino martial art style pekiti tirisa around the whole world. At the beginning of the interview, he describes how he got into Filipino martial arts. After moving to America at the age of 7, Ladra immersed himself in the practice of Taekwondo. He even established multiple academies all of which have been quite successful.

After a few years of mastering Taekwondo, Ladra was slowly drawn into Filipino martial arts especially the stick and blade technique. He moved to the Philippines and devoted himself to the practice of pekiti tirisa under the tutelage of tuhon Leo T. Gaje Jr. after seeing him on the cover of the Black Belt magazine. He didn’t start until a decade later, a good part of which he spent on looking for his master.

The pekiti tirisa focuses on blades, sticks and empty-handed combat styles. Ladra reveals that the key to the technique is learning universal moves that could be easily transitioned seamlessly among the three afro mentioned fighting tools.

Unlike many martial arts, Ladra focuses strictly on offense and leaves the defense to his opponents. He explains how hitting first matters a lot compared to defending. Putting in the first blow gives the striker an advantage whereas defending always risks taking some sort of injury. The ferocity and frequency with which he makes his point are somewhat terrifying to read.

After describing what they do, Apolo Ladra went on to explain how they do it. He explains how the martial art style is distributed across 12 basic techniques. More complex and advanced combo strings are just the basics techniques being executed with the ‘flow’. The ‘flow’ as Ladra describes is like a state of extreme awareness where you execute a specific combination of the 12 basic techniques which best suits your fighting style. He also explains how adjusting to the flow can remarkably your fighting prowess.

At the end of the interview, Apolo Ladra mentions the key principles which have guided him through his fighting career. He always believes to lead by example, to have a positive attitude towards every everything and to never give up, even at the mouth of desperation. Some of the speeches he gave during the interview are truly inspiring and reveal how great of a person he is not just in terms of fighting prowess but in terms of a good human being. Read the full article if you want to learn about an extraordinary man and his journey to becoming a well-renowned martial artist.


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