Filipino Martial arts refers to ancient and newer fighting methods devised in the philippines, the most popular of which are known as Arnis/Eskrima/ Kali. Te intrinsic need for self preservation was the genesis of these systems. Throughout the ages, invaders and evolving local conflict imposed new dynamics for combat in the islands now making up the Philippines. The Filipino people developed battle skills as a direct result of an appreciation of their ever changing circumstances. They learned often out of necessity how t prioritize, allocate and use common resources in combative situations. Filipinos have been heavily influenced by a phenomenon of cultural and linguistic mixture. Some of the specific mechanisms responsible for cultural and martial change extended from phenomena such as war, political and social systems, technology, trade and of course, simple practicality.
Filipino marial arts have seen an increase in prominence due to several Hollywood movies and the teachings of modern masters such as Venancio "Anciong" Bacon, Dan Inosanto, Cacoy Canete, Mike Inay, Remy Presas and Ernesto Presas.
Today there are said to be almost as many Filipino fighting styles as there are islands in the Philippines. in 1972, the Philippine government included Filipino martial arts into the national sports arena. The ministry of Education, Culture and sports also incorporated them into the physical education curriculum for high school and college students. Knowledge of the Filipino fighting skills is mandatory int the Philippine military and police.
Filipino Martial Arts are considered the most advanced practical modern blade system in the world and are now a core component of the U.S. Army's Modern Army Combative program and used by the Russian Spetsnaz (special forces).
The three umbrella terms for the most commonly seen forms are Eskrima, Arnis and Kali.
The word Eskrima derives from the Spanish term esgrima which means skirmish or fencing.
Arnis comes from arnes, old Spanish for harness or armor (harness is also an archaic English term for armor with the same roots), with is what the costumes worn during Moro-moro stage plays were called when practitioners disguised their art as merely stage fight choreography for public entertainment under the Spaniards' noses.
The origins of the word Kali are uncertain. One theory is that it may come from the INdonesian word tjakalele, another is that it;s a contraction of Kamot Lihok (cebuano for hand body movement) The multitude of languages spoken in the 7,107 islands have not only diverged into over 170 dialects, but the have been constantly mixing with one another and as a result, Filipino martial arts comprise a vocabulary of heterogeneous terms.
An Eskrima myth about Kali, or the blind princess of the mountain, is that even though blind, she was the best fighter in the land, Many young men travels to the top of the mountain to fight her, thereby winning her hand. She refused to fight these men with lethal weapons, instead fighting them in what Bruce Lee called "short range." She never lost.
Kali is the art of fighting within 6" of the opponent, the effect is more similar to Judo than Grappling. it stresses seeing with the body rather than the eyes.
Eskrima and arnis are used interchangeably for weapon based martial arts, particularly those that focus on bladed weapons or stick fighting. Panantukan, pangamut and pamuok all refer to empty handed striking methods, while pantadyakan and pananjakman are kick based. Dumog or wrestling is considered one of the oldest unarmed Filipino fighting styles.
Aside from the more commonly seen blade and stick oriented arts Eskrima/Arnis/Kali,there are also distinctly separate arts such as Kuntao, Silat (practiced in the South, next to Indonesia), Sikaran (practiced in Rizal province, which is primarily kick based) and yaw yan, a recent style very similar to Muay Thai.
Filipino martial artist are noted for their ability to fight with weapons or empty hands interchangeably and their ability turn ordinary household items into lethal weapons. Weapons training takes precedence because they give an edge in real fights, gears students to psychologically face armed opponents, and any object that can be picked up can be used as a weapon using FMA techniques. Empty hands training is then taught as the stick is merely an extension of the hand.
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