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A Brief History of Phillipino Martial Arts

A Brief History of Phillipino Martial Arts Escrima, Eskrima, Arnis and Kali

Eskrima or Escrima is maybe the oldest styles of Martial Arts having origins the many Philippine Islands.

Eskrima is actually a very brutal and deadly martial art and not far in time from being tested in life and death situations.

Many famous Escrimadoras that went on to found their own styles were an integral part of the Philippine resistance fighters during Japan’s occupation of the Philippines during the Second World War (WW2)

Escrima weapons include swords, machetes, knives, empty and rattan sticks that represent either a machete or sword for training purposed or are deadly in their own right just as a stick in the hands of a skilled Escrima, Kali or Arnis fighter

Rattan stick practice or “play” as the Escrimadores call it, can be very painful causing serious injury.

With knives, and swords and machetes fighting can and often is deadly and Escrima is famous for fights to the death

Swords in this family of Martial Arts include the Kris Sword with its deadly serpentine blade and the Barong Sword with its wide belly and sharp tip.


The machete, a work tool is also very effective in the hands of skilled Escrima fighter

“Eskrima” or “Escrima” is actually a generic terms term that encompasses the various styles and systems of the art including

The Philippines were in the 1600’s Spanish colony and the name Escrima or Eskrima comes from the Spanish meaning fencing called "esgrima."

Arnis may have come from the Spanish term of "arnes de mano," which means "harness of the hand."

Eskrima Fighting Sticks are made from Rattan.

Rattan is a type of hardwood that is very light weight but very strong when hardened with fire.

These sticks are nearly indestructible and will not splinter making for an ideal training weaponThese unique properties of Rattan also make these sticks very effective against metal blades

The history of Eskrima like most Martial Arts is shrouded in legends, stories and rumors

Unlike the Shaolin and Japanese Fighting Arts little to no documentation exists on the early history if Escrima