Leo Gaje

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Leo Gaje
BornLeopoldo Tortal Gaje Jr.
(1938-05-05) May 5, 1938 (age 82)
StyleFilipino martial arts
Pekiti-Tirsia Kali
RankGrand Tuhon Supremo
Notable relativesGrand Tuhon Conrado Tortal (grandfather)

Leo Gaje (born May 5, 1938) is the grandson and heir to Conrado B. Tortal and the present Keeper of the Pekiti-Tirsia Kali System.[1][2]

Gaje was born in the Philippines on May 5, 1938. Starting at the age of six, he was taught Pekiti-Tirsia, by his grandfather Conrado Tortal, a system founded by the Tortal family in 1897. In 1972 he moved to the United States and shortly after began to teach his family martial art fighting system. Up to that point, it was a fighting system that had never been taught outside of the Philippines.

Today, Gaje continues to teach his art of Pekiti Tirsia to students of martial arts, personal security, law enforcement and militaries worldwide. He has been featured on the covers of several top martial arts magazines. He is a member of the Martial Arts Hall of Fame and the Karate Hall of Fame.[3]

Gaje has trained notable martial artists such as Dan Inosanto, Eddie Jafri, Tom Bisio, Erwin Ballarta, Manuel Taningco, William McGrath, Philip Gelinas, and Greg Alland.[4] Inosanto said about Pekiti-Tirsia Kali, "In the field of strategic knife defense, the Pekiti-Tirsia System of Kali is one of the most progressive, practical and sophisticated systems of tactical knife self-defense and edged weapon awareness that I have encountered."

Gaje, Inosanto, and Jafri were responsible for the creation of a fusion martial art that incorporated the styles of the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Inosanto later coined the term Maphilindo to represent the style's origin and founded Maphilindo Silat.


  1. ^ "Commandos from Marines Force Recon Company subdue BIFF guards hand-to-hand". InterAksyon.com. Archived from the original on 2016-02-07. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
  2. ^ "Grand Tuhon Leo T Gaje Jr". Archived from the original on April 15, 2017.
  3. ^ "International Karate & Kickboxing Hall of Fame". wujiaquan.com.
  4. ^ Lloyd, Leo (April 7, 1978). "Filipino Martial Art Of Arnis Found Helpful to U.S. Police". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. p. 13C.