Commonly referred to as “Kali or Eskrima” is a Southeast Asian martial art form known as Arnis. This “traditional” combat form is said to have originated from Philippines, and is considered to be an integral part of the “Filipino Martial Arts” also known as “FMA”. Furthermore, this martial art form is heavily weapon based, and was first discovered during the colonial rule of the Spanish in the year 1610. In addition, during this period this combat form was referred to as “Paccalicali-t” by a community known as “Ibanag”.

a. History/origin of the Arnis:

According to the cultural history of Philippines, this form of martial art was basically created by the peasant community.  It is said that it was first developed much before the arrival of colonial rule of the Spanish mainly by Filipino tribes. However, written evidence supporting the existence of this combat form is not available since the practitioners that frequently used it were not educated. Furthermore, it is also said that elements belonging to Chinese, Arabic, and Indian martial art forms were added to develop Arnis as a form of combat. A theory also states that the origin of this martial art may have had its roots in India, and may have been introduced by people who traveled to the Philippines via Indonesia and Malaysia.  In addition, what is also a fact is that it was the Spanish that introduced the use of bladed weapons into this martial art form which was basically an unarmed form of combat.

b. Weapon used in the Arnis:

There are many weapons used in this combat form and they include knives, bladed weapons, and sticks. In addition, this form of combat may also involve the use of the “arm and the leg” of the fighter as a weapon.

c. Technique used in the Arnis and training availability:

In terms of technique, a fighter may make use of either unarmed combat and weapon based combat. They are as follows:

  1. Unarmed Combat: Basically involves the use of “hand and legs” and includes the use of moves such as joint locks, grappling and hand-to-hand combat.
  2. Weapon based Combat: Basically involves the use of weapons such as knives, blades, and sticks to overcome an opponent.

As for training centers/schools, there are none available around the world for this mainly “weapon” oriented Filipino martial art form.


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