September 08, 2017

Expat’s Guide to: Filipino Martial Arts

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  • Unlike the usual weapon-based martial arts, Filipino Martial Arts gained its distinct identity by utilizing everyday objects and turn them into lethal weapons. Kali or Eskrima has been proven effective in knife and stick fights, and the art has even been practiced by a variety of special forces units worldwide.

    PHOTO cisc1970 via Flickr

    For expats who want to learn more about the Philippines, Kali can be another way for you to know the country’s rich culture and history.

    Kali’s history is generally believed that the native Filipino styles associated with it were started by various tribes to defend themselves. The earliest documentation indicates that FMA styles can be traced as early as Spanish conquest in the 1500s. It is also quite possible that these styles were influenced by martial arts from other areas such as India.


    Now, Kali is considered as the most advanced practical modern blade system in the world and is now a core component of foreign armed forces such as America, Russia, and India.

    WEAPONS. Just a few of the weapons used in Kali./IMAGE

    Kali is primarily a style of fighting with the use of weapons and empty hand techniques. Filipino Martial Artists are noted for their ability to fight with weapons or empty hands interchangeably. The art also teaches the ability to fight with weapons out of everyday objects and use them to your advantage.

    Though some see this style as being constrained, Kali is a well-rounded martial arts style as it covers all distances or ranges in which combat takes place. It teaches elements of weapons fighting, striking, boxing, grappling, and throwing/takedowns.


    FMA practitioners also believe that the use of weapons has to be simultaneously learned with hand-to-hand combat. Some of the popular combinations of weapons used are the single stick (solo baston), double stick (double baston), and sword/stick and dagger (espada).

    Overall, Kali is an efficient way to protect yourself or simply want to have a new thing to learn.

    Written by Pia Ramirez, Philippine Primer intern
    Source: Wikipedia
    Photo source:

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