What is Arnis?


The term “arnis”, interchangable with the terms “eskrima” and “kali”, most often refers to different systems of Filipino Martial Arts that utilize sticks, bladed weapons and empty-hand techniques. Today, there are hundreds of systems of Filipino Martial Arts throughout the world, although most of them originated in the Philippine and Indonesian archipelagoes, passed down generation to generation through family and comrades. More resources below.

(Derived rom Wikipedia)
Filipino Martial Arts
 integrates a “system-of-systems” approach to combat readiness. Filipinos have made significant sacrifices to develop their arts. Throughout the ages multi-cultural, multi-national invaders of the Philippines imposed new dynamics for human conflict and combat. FMA, the “system-of-systems” transformed itself as a direct result of an appreciation of their ever changing environment and circumstance. The Filipino’s intrinsic need for self-preservation was the evolutionary genesis of these analogous systems. They learned often out of necessity how to prioritize, allocate and utilize common resources in combative situations. Filipinos have been heavily influenced by the phenomenon of cultural and language mixture. The multitude of languages spoken in the 7107 Islands have not only diverged into dialects, but they have been constantly mixing with one another on all levels: vocabulary, grammar, syntax, and usage (see Languages of the Philippines). As a result, Filipino martial arts and its homogeneous systems comprise a vocabulary of heterogeneous terms. Change is the norm. Some of the specific mechanisms responsible for cultural and martial change extend from phenomena such as war, political systems, social systems, technology and trade. For over three hundred years the Spanish had control over much of the Philippines. The Spanish regime often enforced royal laws and decrees limiting and prohibiting weapons use by the indigenous people. These restrictions of use were partly responsible for secretive and underground nature of FMA. Spaniards often employed Filipino warriors known as Eskrimadors for various battles and wars. The Filipino’s battle tested tactics proved strategically effective from angle of old world weaponry and hand to hand conflict. Highly skilled Filipino martial artists are often characterized by a state of “flow” that is decisively responsive, deployable, agile, versatile, lethal, survivable, and sustainable. In 1972, the Philippine government included Filipino Martial Arts into the “Palarong Pambansa” or National Sports arena. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports also included it as part of the physical education curriculum for high school and college students. Knowledge of the Filipino martial arts is mandatory in the Philippine Military and Police. Today, the traditional Filipino martial systems continue to grow, new ones emerge, and new transitional FMA stylists continue to arrive on the Martial Arts scene.

For more information on the subject of FMA here are just a few recommended resources:

Arnis: History and Development of the Filipino Martial Arts 
by Mark V. Wiley
Classic Arnis
by Reynaldo S. Galang
Filipino Martial Culture
 by Mark V. Wiley
Modern Arnis: Filipino Art of Stick Fighting by Remy Presas
The Filipino Martial Arts as Taught by Dan Inosanto
Warrior Arts of the Philippines
 by Reynaldo S. Galang



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