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HISTORY OF ARNIS

The Philippines is an island nation rich in both culture and history. The Filipino martial art of
Arnis/Kali/Escrima has contributed to both the history and diversity of the Philippines. There are an
abundance of styles and systems of Arnis/Kali/Escrima that are taught throughout the world to this day, that
have survived and developed throughout the different regions, families and teachers who have preserved
what is sometimes called a “complete” martial art.

Arnis/Kali/Escrima was originally developed by the people native to the islands using simple impact and
edged weapons such as kampilans, rattan, swords, daggers, spears and other assorted weaponry for combat
and self defense. These weapons were also sometimes used as farm implements.

The arrival of Ferdinand Magellan’s force in 1521 was met in battle with a group of islanders, led by Raja
Lapu Lapu, who defeated Magellan using only a bladed weapon. Magellan’s armored and musket bearing
conquistadors were overpowered by the fierce fighters and retreated. The Spanish returned in the 1570’s and
this time the Philippines came under Spanish rule unable to contend with the modern weaponry the Spanish
used. The practice of Arnis/Kali/Escrima was prohibited, but continued and was preserved through native
ritual dance, performance, and mock battles. Thus the arts were passed down in families from generation to
generation, honing their skill, speed, accuracy and agility.

The terms Arnis, Kali and Escrima are all used to refer to the Filipino martial arts. There has been some
confusion as to what word refers to which part of the martial art. It is believed that Arnis, Kali, and Escrima
are all a part of the same art and depending on the location, dialect and type of training taught. Also, any of
the three names may apply to a certain part of training. One interpretation is that Kali is the mother art of
Arnis and Escrima. Arnis focuses on the knife, including dagger, sword, and any other form of bladed weapon.
Escrima is based on the baston or stick. It has also become very popular in the sport aspect of full contact
stick fighting.

To this day Arnis/Kali/Escrima has retained a strong Spanish influence not only in the names and titles used
in training, but in the impact it has had on Filipino culture. Filipino martial arts continue to encompass a large
range of weapons training and hand-to-hand combat, enriching the culture of Filipino society. Thus the
reference to it being a “complete” martial art.

WHAT IS ARNIS???
Arnis, also known as Kali or Eskrima, is the national sport and martial art of the Philippines.The three are
roughly interchangeable umbrella terms for the traditional martial arts of the Philippines ("Filipino Martial
Arts", or FMA), which emphasize weapon-based fighting with sticks, knives, bladed weapons, and various
improvised weapons, as well as "open hand" or techniques without weapons. It is also known as Estoque
(Spanish for rapier), Estocada (Spanish for thrust or stab) and Garrote (Spanish for club). In Luzon it may go
by the name of Arnis de Mano.

The indigenous martial art that the Spanish encountered in 1610 was not yet called "Eskrima" at that time.
During those times, this martial art was known as Paccalicali-t to the Ibanags,Didya (later changed to
Kabaroan) to the Ilokanos, Sitbatan or Kalirongan to Pangasinenses, Sinawali ("to weave") to the
Kapampangans, Calis or Pananandata ("use of weapons") to the Tagalogs, Pagaradman to the Ilonggos and
Kaliradman to the Cebuanos. Kuntaw and Silat are separate martial arts that are also practised in the
Philippine Archipelago.

There have been campaigns for arnis to be nominated in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists, along
with other Philippine martial arts. As of 2018, UNESCO has inscribed 9 martial-arts–related intangible
heritage.