Kali – Arnis – Escrima


E-03 Natural Escrima Sticks



Escrima - Simple Stick Fighting also Know as Kali and Arnis

The Filipino martial art form, or Arnis, is known to some as being the deadliest fighting style known to mankind. Arnis, also known as Escrima or Kali, can be especially dangerous because of its keen ability to be applied to real life combat. Due to this, Arnis is often chosen by law enforcement and army personnel as the best fighting method. Arnis is becoming one of the most popular martial art by all types of people these days because of its situational versatility. The basic method in it is to utilize the Arnis stick, but the technique can be applied to hand-to-hand combat as well. You can even use any household item such as rolled-up newspapers, umbrellas, and even pens. Whether you are an experienced fighter or a person who wants to learn good self-defense, Arnis can be highly beneficial for you. Arnis originally did not provide a system of uniforms or level belts, due to the fact that the art was solely based on how effective the technique was. In older times, grandmasters gained their reputation by traveling through the Philippine islands to challenge the other masters of those areas. Arnis was mostly learned by these martial artists through trial and error processes, rather than level methods. These grandmasters learned how to better their skills through combat. When a fighter was defeated by another, he would carefully recollect the techniques the victorious fighter utilized. The grandmaster would then adopt these techniques, or simply refine his own to better defend himself in the future. The long learned experiences of these older grandmasters were passed down to the future generations, already tested to be effective. Students must practice these techniques repetitively to execute them as well as the grandmasters.

Kali Arnis

Arnis is just a portion of the immensely rich culture found in the Philippines. It’s popularly known that it was even practiced by Lapu-Lapu, a Filipino hero who killed Magellan in 1521. In those times, natives would hold the secrets of Arnis and share them only within clans and families; they were never shared with any outside fighters. Arnis techniques only recently began to manifest among the public. The isolation of Arnis techniques is possibly the reason why there are so many variations. This has led to many different styles, not just one standard. The remaining content of this website will teach you one variation of this martial art, but keep in mind of the others you may witness in the martial arts world. Use your experience to find the best style that fits you. This effective form is fit for self-defense, and you may also utilize it against those who seek to physically offend your loved ones. Since the point of Arnis is to basically work well, it is very helpful in a street fight or a truly desperate situation. However, it’s highly ill-advised that you use Arnis to be unreasonably aggressive. Filipinos follow a virtue called pakikipagkapwa. This means that one should see strangers not as opponents but as neighbors, almost as close as blood relatives. Only when this neighbor shows offense to you or your loved ones should you take it upon yourself to defend the people afflicted. At that point, your Arnis techniques will show just how threatening they can be.  

Philippine Escrima and All its Varieties

  In the Philippine islands of the 16th century, the solidification and classification of all the different Filipino martial arts of the day began to take form under a single name, for the most part.  Called “Escrima,” it took its name from the Spanish word for fencing, “esgrima.”  At that time in these south Asian islands, Spanish explorers and settlers had begun to set up colonies throughout the region.  Naturally, the people who lived in those islands didn’t exactly look kindly upon non-native peoples claiming lands that had been lived on for hundreds of years by others, so they began to act out in self-defense. There are many different varieties of Escrima, though almost all of them have the use of fighting sticks and knives in common.  These different varieties usually could be traced back to a specific Filipino tribe or region where a tribe or tribes lived.  There are also some interesting names for these varieties, like Doce Pares (Spanish for “Twelve Pairs”), which emphasizes what’s called “one stick fighting.”  The people who practiced this form of Escrima, even to this day, were very skilled at handling and fighting with a single stick made of the popular rattan wood, which could be found all over the islands.

Escrima Sticks are commonly know as the following also:

  • kali
  • escrima sticks
  • Escrima
  • eskrima
  • arnis
  • kali sticks
  • kali martial art
Local legend, which the Filipino people insist is true, says that the great king Lapu-Lapu of the island of Mactan led the first revolt against the Spanish in 1521, at the Battle of Mactan.   In that fight, Lapu-Lapu and his men used Escrima techniques and weapons like the rattan stick – which today is called a Kali stick – spears, and the kampilan (a single-edged long sword) to defeat a group of Spanish soldiers led by Ferdinand Magellan.  Magellan died in that fight.  He also is known for being the first to lead an expedition across the whole width of the Pacific Ocean, among his many achievements. Another popular form of this Filipino martial art is Balintawak Escrima (pronounce it “bah-leen-tah-wahk”).  Balintawak has a heavy reliance on the use of two Kali or Escrima sticks.  It arose in the 1950s in the Cebu City region on the Philippine island of Cebu.  It takes its name from the Balintawak Self-Defense Club, which of course is located on Balintawak Street in the city.  It also specializes in knife fighting using the bolo knife, which is a large knife that can look like a machete.  These bolo knives were used by Filipinos of the late 1890s to try to throw off the Spanish occupiers and later throughout every period of rule by the Spanish, and then when it was an American commonwealth. In the United States today, there are several popular forms of Filipino Escrima, and all of them fall under an umbrella style of fighting known as “FMA,” or “Filipino Martial Arts.”  Some have colorful names like “Dog Brothers,” which teaches its students Escrima by making them undergo very physical stick fighting training.  The name of this teaching method is “Real Contact Stickfighting,” which can tell you all you need to know about how it trains its students! In the online catalog at bukiyuushuu.com, you can see many up-to-date models of Escrima or Kali or Arnis sticks that are beautifully detailed and made of the finest hardwoods.  Go there and take a look at them to get a sense of how these modern versions draw their inspirations from the soul of the Filipino warrior of the 16th century.