Eskrima, Arnis, Kali

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Eskrima, Arnis, Kali

Martial Arts of Philippines

The title Filipino martial arts (FMA) refers to several styles, methods, and systems of self-defense that include armed and unarmed combat. Mostly, FMA are just “Filipino fencing,” because they include personal armed combative techniques that emphasize weaponry skills over skills in empty hands. Unarmed combat is practiced in FMA, but is traditionally studied after weaponry training. This training sequence sets FMA apart from other martial arts, especially Asian, that initiate with empty hands. Filipino armed combat is known variously as amis, eskrima (fencing; Spanish, escrima), and kali. Amis derives from the Spanish word arnes, meaning “armor.” Arnis, or “harness,” no doubt also refers to the battle harness worn by Filipino soldiers under Spanish command. Arnis-de-mano, or “harness of hand,” denotes the deft hand movements made by Filipino grooms working for Spanish officers. Lightning-quick hand movements were alleged to be native martial arts techniques in disguise. Forbidden by the Spanish to practice indigenous martial arts, defiant Filipinos purportedly retained their fighting skills in secret by hiding them inside dance forms called Santikan, Sayaw, and Moro-Moro. An alternative thesis proposes that FMA is classical fencing that evolved with incipient nationalism. Hence, FMA is the modern expression of fencing evolution.
Unarmed combat is mano-mano (Spanish; hand-to-hand), but is also kuntao and silat. To describe the plethora of FMA styles, methods, and systems is arduous; some—Doce Pares, Lacoste, Modern Arnis, and Pekiti Tir-sia—are publicized through seminars and are associated with particular instructors such as Ciriaco C. Canete, Dan Inosanto, Remy A. Presas, and Leo T. Gaje Jr., who spread the FMA in Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, and the United States.
Geographically situated at the crossroads of Southeast Asia, the Philippines are located near the equator above Borneo and below Taiwan. With a population estimated at 60 million, the Philippines are larger in area than Great Britain, but smaller than Japan. Those unfamiliar with the 7,107 islands and three major regions of the Philippine Archipelago, Luzon (north), Visayas (central), and Mindanao (south), may be confused by the eighty-seven different dialects of Pilipino (Tagalong), the national language. English is the language of business and education, and Spanish is spoken to a lesser extent.
Foreign languages are remnants of immigration to and colonization of the Philippine islands, which influenced native Filipino martial arts. It is of Warrior tribesmen of the Philippines with swords and woven shields, ca. 1900. (Hulton Archive)
ten said that Filipinos have Malay ancestry, Chinese culture, Spanish religion, and American education. Mestizos are racially mixed Filipinos with Chinese, Spanish, and American bloodlines. The varied cultural milieu facilitated the blending of FMA. Filipino martial arts are a blend of at least Indonesian, Malaysian, Chinese, Spanish, American, and Japanese origins.

Filipino martial culture has both tradition and history.

The tradition is oral and the history is written. The culture was alternately destroyed and created by foreign colonization. Martial fiestas offer keys to understanding Filipino martial culture. For example, the mythical meeting of the ten datus (chiefs) of Borneo with the Negritos of Panay is celebrated annually at the Ati-Atihan in Kalibo, Aklan. Similarly, the defeat of Captain Ferdinand Magellan by Datu Lapu-Lapu of Mactan Island is celebrated at the Sinulog in Cebu. This is in conjunction with the Santo Nino Fiesta, which marks the introduction of the Catholic faith to the Philippines.
Theory posits that in a prehistoric period, aboriginal Negritos (Aetas), a pygmy race, crossed over a land bridge from mainland Asia to become the first settlers of the Philippine islands. Next, waves of immigrants from the area called Malaysia colonized the islands, around 200 B.c. Anthropological evidence shows that the prehistoric people of Southeast Asia all belonged to a single population. They were later divided into cultural groups (i.e., Filipinos, Malaysians, and Indonesians) in accordance with territorial boundaries established by their European (i.e., Spanish, British, and Dutch) colonizers.
In the ninth century a.d., trade relations began with China. Colonies were established in the Philippines during the Song dynasty (a.d. 960-1127). Kuntao, an FMA with empty-hand movements similar to taiji-quan, has been traced to Kuntung province. Chinese rivalry with the Hindus and Javanese continued into the Ming period (a.d. 1402-1424). Ancient civilizations—the Sri Vishayan and Majapahit—are prominent in Filipino history. Hindu influence includes the Tantra: a form of yoga that includes sexual magic and celebrates the feminine force. Tantric influence could explain the prominent role of women in Filipino society. Visaya means “slave” to the Moros, Muslims who dominate the southern region of the Philippine Archipelago, and refers to people of the central region whom the Moros frequently captured or killed. The Majapahit Empire was formed in Java around the twelfth century in the area of modern Indonesia. This ancient Islamic empire included Burma, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Madagascar, and the Philippines. The martial arts from these countries, such as Muay Thai, bersilat, and pentjak silat, have techniques, such as silat, that are similar to FMA.
Islam came to Mindanao in the south around a.d. 1380, spreading to the Visayas and Tuzon. These Muslim Malays ventured north from Borneo (Kalimantan) led by the ten datus (chieftains), the most important of whom was Datu Puti. Datu Puti, “the Great White Chief,” traveled from Borneo to Panay, from Panay to Tuzon, and from Tuzon back to Borneo, after helping the datus to settle other islands. In a.d. 1433, Datu Kalantiyaw, third chief of Panay and descendent of Datu Sumakwel from Borneo, issued or codified civil and social orders called the Kalantiyaw for guiding his people. Although its authenticity is questionable, the eighteen commandments of the Kalantiyaw code may be one of the few written records surviving from pre-Spanish times.
Western history of the Philippines begins with Captain Ferdinand Magellan landing on the island of Cebu in the central Visayas on April 15, 1521. The conquistador was circumnavigating the globe and claiming lands for the Spanish Crown. The name Philippines comes from the Spanish version of “Philip’s Pines,” the name Magellan gave the islands as he claimed them for King Philip II. In the Battle of Mactan, near Cebu, Captain Magellan was killed while retreating in the surf from an attack by native forces led by Datu Lapu-Lapu. The Spanish colonial period brought Catholic religion to the Philippine islands and helped to unify them into a single nation. Independence from Spain was declared on June 12, 1898. The Filipino revolution for independence was led by secret societies, such as the Katipunan. Most Katipunan members were Freemasons following pre-Spanish traditions and were known to practice both Filipino Martial Arts and Spanish swordsmanship. After the Spanish-American War, the United States got Puerto Rico and the Philippines as booty.
The U.S. forces fought a guerilla war against the Moros in Mindanao to claim the islands. Fierce resistance from local Muslim tribes caused the United States military to recall the .38 caliber revolver and issue .45 caliber revolvers to increase stopping power. Moros tied tourniquets on their limbs to prevent blood loss and charged into the American trenches. The nickname “leatherneck” refers to the United States Marines’ wearing leather gorgets around their necks to stop the Moros from cutting their throats.
Japanese imperial armed forces invaded the Philippines and occupied the islands from 1942 to 1945. An ideological battle was fought for the soul of the Filipino people, who were reminded by the Japanese that despite their history under Spain and America, they were oriental, not occidental. The Japanese encountered fierce guerilla resistance in the islands from Filipino nationalists and their American allies. Following General Douglas MacArthur’s historic return landing in Leyte, the Philippines headed for self-determination. There is an indelible mark on the Filipino psyche from the Japanese occupation during World War II. Some of the two-handed stickfighting styles, such as Dos Manos in Doce Pares Eskrima, were developed to encounter Japanese swords. After the American commonwealth ended in 1946, the Philippines developed like other former Spanish colonies as an agricultural society.

Filipino martial arts include many types of skills

But not all styles include the entire range of them. Inosanto classifies Filipino skills into twelve categories: (1) single stick, sword, or ax; (2) double stick, sword, or ax; (3) single stick, sword, or ax and dagger or shield; (4) dou-ble knife; (5) single knife and empty hands; (6) empty hands; (7) short stick; (8) flexible weapons; (9) throwing weapons; (10) projectile weapons like archery and blowgun; (11) distance weapons like spear and staff; and (12) double-handed long stick or healing arts.
The single stick (solo baston, garote, olisi) category includes the ax and sword—when used singly. A single cane refers to a wooden weapon about 1 inch in diameter and ranging from 22 to 44 inches in length. Sticks are used to practice and are often made of rattan for safety. Rattan is a nod-uled porous climbing palm tree with a tough skin. Some FMA techniques are executed with either sticks or swords, but most techniques are oriented to sticks, rather than blades. Practitioners seldom play with either blunted or sharpened edged weapons, with the exception of aluminum sword blanks and steel training knives.
A misconception on the part of some practitioners is that rattan is a suitable wood for self-defense applications. However, rattan sticks are merely used for safe practice; they lack the density needed for combat. Oral tradition holds that Datu Lapu-Lapu killed Captain Magellan with a rattan stick in single combat! This is absurd. Hardwood weapons made of bahi (palm) or kamagong (ebony) are favored in fighting.
The vara was a Spanish unit of measurement about 31 to 33 inches in length. The vara was also a wooden implement used for wrapping bolts of cloth and so would be convenient to wield, say, in a marketplace. Thus, the vara is plausibly the fighting stick length used by escrimadores during the Spanish period. The vara is the length of weapon used by the Original Doce Pares system.
The stick is held in either the long-range (largo) or close-range (corto) grip. In the long-range grip, the hand is pursed with the hand held as if wielding a screwdriver, while in the close-range grip the hand is clenched with the hand held as if wielding a hammer. These two grips provide reach and strength, respectively. A variation on the close-range grip is the reverse grip (an “ice-pick” grip), which is used for infighting. This grip, however, is more likely to be used in knife fighting, being impractical for swords.
Stick length varies according to personal style and with practitioner morphology. An example illustrates both category one and category twelve (single long stick) of the Inosanto weapons typology. The late Angel Ca-bales, of Serrada (closed; Spanish, cerrada) Eskrima, who was 4 feet 11 inches tall and weighed 100 pounds, used a 22-inch stick to close with his opponents. In contrast, Romeo C. Mamar Sr. of Tapado, who is about 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs 160 pounds, likes a 44-inch stick to strike his opponents from a long distance. A stylistic difference is that while the Serrada practitioner uses one hand to strike, the Tapado practitioner uses two hands to wield the primary weapon.
Also in the first category are the ax (wasay), club (batuta), and sword (kalis), when such weapons are used by themselves. Filipino swords come in many shapes and sizes, especially down south in Moroland. Moro weapons include the kris, barong, and kampilan. Krises have three or more (odd-numbered) flaming waves in the blade (labeled the flamberge blade type) and their double edge is designed for thrusting. The Filipino kris is larger, wider, and heavier than the Indonesian kris. The barong is a shorter, leaf-shaped, single-edged sword for chopping and thrusting, without a hilt. The kampilan is a longer chopping sword with a blunted point, which may be swung with one, but usually two, hands. Visayan swords include the tal-ibong and ginonting. The talibong is hiked with a crossguard and is single edged, made by stock removal along one side of the blade. Unlike the forged swords characteristic of Mindanao, stock removal is used to shape bar stock steel to fashion weapons in the central and northern regions. The ginonting has a blunted point with no crossguard and is more like a utility knife. Farming tools, such as the bolo or machete, are prevalent.
The second category is double stick (doble baston, sinawali) and refers to two canes or swords of equal length. The philosophy that prevails in this category of weapons is that “two swords are better than one, when you know how to use them both in conjunction.” Sawali means “to weave,” while sinawali refers to the striking patterns that are made by two coordinated weapons. Thus, the label sinawali is more specific than doble baston in general, because of patterns employed.
Category three is called sword and dagger (espada у daga). Techniques in this category recognize the natural hand dominance in human physiology. If an opponent is holding one weapon, then it will probably be held in the dominant hand. If an enemy is holding two weapons, then either the lighter or the smaller weapon will be held in the submissive hand, and the heavier or longer weapon will be held in the dominant hand. This is not true for the sword and shield, but the principle of warding with the awkward or submissive hand still holds.
The shield (Pilipino; kalasag) is used in combination with either the sword or the spear (see category eleven). The principle remains the same as with appropriate-handed weapons wielded. Fighters wore armor during the time of Magellan, but armor is seldom used for contemporary FMA practice. Beginning with the Spanish colonial period, European martial arts, notably the Spanish (De La Destreza) geometric theory of fencing, was blended with native fighting. For example, the concept of angular attack influenced Filipino karate. Filipino espada у daga might have evolved from Spanish sword-and-dagger techniques, not the rapier and dagger. The European fencing schools include the French, Italian, Spanish, and German. Rikarte Eskrima has attack and counterattack methods for each European fencing school. Since General Ricarte campaigned in the Filipino revolution against Spain, these foreign methods may be a result of the revolutionary experience. Moreover, some FMA styles have European roots. Mariano Navarro founded the Black Eagle Eskrima Club of Cebu in the Visayas. Navarro’s Portuguese father taught swordsmanship. An arnisidor (practitioner of arnis) from Bacolod, Federico Serfino Jr., was the national fencing champion, representing the Philippines in the 1964 Olympic Games. Serfino learned arnis from his father, but learned about European fencing at the Indonesian embassy in Manila.
The fourth, or double knife, category is a progression from double stick and stick and dagger, because the theory of their usage is the same for gripping two weapons. The way in which the knives are held, gripped in the hands with palms facing down, is connected with suntukin, the Filipino boxing style. There are two basic ways to hold the knife: with the point upward in a hammer grip and with the point downward in an ice-pick grip. The “up and down” knife grips are known as dusak and pakal in the Visayan language. An important principle in knife fighting is “equalization.” The student is taught to carry two or more knives in case an attacker has a bigger knife. For example, Pekiti Tirsia practitioners carry three knives at all times. In double knife fighting, there is a dominant and a recessive side of the body that come into play. One strategy is to hold a single-bladed slashing weapon in the dominant hand and hold a double-bladed thrusting weapon in the submissive hand. The dominant hand leads the body into combat, while the submissive hand destroys the enemy after the closure.
Category five is single knife utilizing empty hands, but this category also includes dagger versus dagger (daga у daga). Important principles taught in this category are the following. A single-edged knife is better for cutting than a double-edged knife, because the wider blade cleaves flesh. A double-edged dagger has the advantage of penetration, because the knife is usually more narrow and pointed. Still, the slimmer dagger makes it more susceptible to breakage than the wider-bellied knife. Different styles favor various knife shapes and grips. In Lapu-Lapu, the practitioners preferred to use ordinary tools as weapons, like the songut, or sickle (for cutting sugar cane), and the bita, used for making shoes. Both knives can be found on streets and in alleys.
In category five, certain FMA evolved into long-knife or bolo styles from sword techniques. Thus, Philippine Army general Faustino Ablin originally developed his Derobio Eskrima for cavalry sabers. After this FMA went to Hawaii with the late Braulio Pedoy, saber techniques were practiced with stick, knife, and bolo. An emphasis was placed on locking and disarming for close-quarter combat, but such techniques were not suitable while mounted.
While the sixth category, empty hands, is certainly not undeveloped, battlefield commanders considered training in hand-to-hand combat less pragmatic than weapons training. It is notable that the experiences of Filipino guerrilla fighters in World War П infused realism into the modern Filipino martial arts. The late Felimon “Momoy” Canete of Doce Pares Es-krima devised many-bladed striking techniques based on his experiences in jungle patrols fighting against Japanese soldiers. For him, the stick represented a blade. The unarmed methods of Filipino combat (mano-mano) include kicking (sikaran or sipa), boxing (suntukin), trapping (gapos), grappling (buno, dumog), and disarming (disarma). Sikaran is similar to taekwondo (Korean), with emphasis on high-line kicking. Sipa is a children’s kicking game like hacky-sack (a game in which a small footbag is kicked between players without being allowed to touch the ground). Dan Inosanto calls kicking pananjakman. Suntukin is “to box.” Inosanto calls punching Panantukan. Trapping (gapos) refers to immobilization or hacking, but may include strikes such as thrusting and palming. Grappling includes sweeps, throws, and locks. Locking the joints is called tranka or kunsi. Pinching, biting, gouging, and tearing are elements of close-range combat. Native grappling methods are called buno in Luzon and dumog in the Visayas. Traditionally, local disputes were settled and justice dispensed through trial by ordeal. Bultong was a “trial by ordeal” LMA in which adversaries wrestled until the victor proved the other party guilty. The Lil-ipino term agaw means “disarming,” but the Spanish term is disarma. Disarma refers to using weapons and/or empty hands to neutralize armed opponents by taking away weapons. For example, the Lapu-Lapu Arnis Af-fecianados practiced a unique method of disarming by using reverse principles. They used reverse psychology like judo (Japanese) in which they pushed when the attacker pulled.
The short stick in category seven is a pocket weapon, such as a roll of coins, that can be held in the hand and used for striking. This category includes closed knives like the balisong. The balisong, or butterfly knife, is a three-piece, gravity-operated (not automatic) folding knife. The kubotan (hand-sized cylinder with a key ring attached) is a similar Japanese weapon.
The flexible weapons (ligas armas) in category eight include the flail (panlugas, tayak tobok), whip (latiko, kaburata), chain (cadena), and stingray tail (ikog-pagi). Like the Okinawan/Japanese nunchaku, the flail is a farm tool (rice thresher). Flails are portable, concealable, and quick to strike their targets, but difficult to control. Rikarte Eskrima prefers short whips, approximately 6 feet long. Panandata Arnis uses a 52- or 60-inch horsewhip. Filemon Canete made 12-foot-long rope whips by hand and wove spells into them. This is considered to be Christian white magic. Although it stings and is useful for punishing restrained persons, the whip is not adequate for combat. Heavier and more flexible than the whip, the chain (la cadena) requires the right timing for adequate striking. The stingray tail is usually about a yard long or more. After sun drying, the stingray tail gets hard and leathery and has sharp spiky edges that tear. The stingray tail is considered suitable for crowd control.
The projectile weapons (inihagis ng armas) in category nine cover slingshot (tirador), throwing knives (kutsilyong pangbagis), darts (pala-song), blowgun (buguban), archery (pana), and firearms (putok). The Filipino martial arts do have prescribed ways to use these weapons. For example, in Doce Pares Eskrima, single-edged knives are thrown by the blade, while double-edged knives are thrown by the handle.
Category ten includes not only the bow and arrow, but also firearms for modern times. Archery is the martial art of the Negritos, but those reclusive tribes stay in the mountains. In cities, firearms are more suitable, especially in civil wars. The restrictive Philippine laws on gun ownership can be circumvented by ingenuity. Hence, revolvers are handmade by “blacksmiths” to chamber 5.56 mm NATO bullets that Filipino soldiers carry in M16 Armalites. Ammunition is not available for pistols and revolvers (except .38 caliber), so soldiers are bribed with cigarettes for carbine bullets.
The distance weapons (agwat armas) in category eleven include spear (,bangkaw) and staff (tungkod, sibat) fighting techniques. Bangkaw means the pointed mast of an outrigger boat (bangka). The masts of the longboats are used as spears after landing. In the pre-Spanish period, Malay villages called barangays were settled by longboat people.
In category twelve, Dos Manos (Spanish; two hands) refers to two-handed stick and sword methods. Tapado is a long-stick fighting method using a 44-inch stick. In San Miguel Eskrima, a 50-inch stick simulates samurai swords or Spanish sabers. Also, two-handed techniques can be executed with a panabas (also lantip or tab as), which is a farm tool with a short blade and a long handle for cutting sugarcane. The kampilan is a single-edged long sword from Mindanao that is suitable for Dos Manos moves. Single-edged Kampilans differ from the medieval European long-swords (the hand-and-a-half Bastard swords), which are double-edged.
Not many styles, methods, or systems cover these twelve categories. Some have only a few, and others focus on alternative techniques, emphasizing other skills. For example, the skill category can instead include healing arts and metaphysics. Healing arts and metaphysics are a “higher understanding” of the Filipino martial traditions. Healing arts are linked to the FMA, but are not integrated with training methods as they are in the Chinese martial arts. The former include massage or chiropractic (bilot, kiropraktika), herbalism, and faith healing. Hence, Rosita M. Lim is a curer (seruhana, arbolaryo) and chiropractor (manughilot), but not an FMA practitioner. She uses massage, exorcism, and incense to heal people, but her skill is “gingering.” Gingering uses prayers to transfer evil spirits into a ginger root, which is discarded with the trapped spiritual essence. The metaphysics (lubos) include anting-anting (amulet, charm), kalaki, orasyon (prayers), and palabras (words). In the metaphysics associated with Filipino martial arts in the Philippines, overt Catholic religiosity is layered onto a substratum of Huna magic. Huna (secret) is a Polynesian practice, says Max Freedom Long (1965). Kalaki, meaning “abilities,” is associated with practitioners of the native martial arts. Eskrimadores are known as mystics, faith healers, and sorcerers, using mesmerism and visualization (larawan). Thus, the potent anting-anting can be made from the kneecaps of deceased persons. Grave robbers dig up such “treasures,” which then are made into a belt or necklace. Warriors prepare themselves for victory or death before combat using orasyon, with palabras (spells) and incantations worked against sworn enemies.
Otherwise, most Filipinos are resigned to fate, which is tempered only by Providence. The fatalistic attitude of Filipinos comes from their God concept. You will often hear the phrase “Bahala Na” (leave it to God). Resignation to fate or determinism is deeply ingrained in Filipino martial culture. Westerners remark with frustration when encountering Bahala Na, but it helps people survive in a difficult world. Filipino fatalism shows its most negative side when people “run amok,” killing everyone in their path in a frenzy of rage, called jurimentado. This extreme reaction is understood by a society in which repressed feelings are harbored daily.
Certain concepts are central to all Filipino martial arts. The striking concept, spatial concept, and sectoring concept are a few. The strikes are angles of attack; space is the geometry of the fight zone, and sectoring is division of the problem set into a finite solution. The geometric theory of angles of attack was probably derived from Spanish fencing. Abisidario refers to the abekada, or ABCs, of learning how to fight. Usually, there are twelve basic attacking techniques and striking angles with five (i.e., cinco teros) in common among all FMA. Included are slashes, thrusts, and butts. Slashes are strikes with the side of a stick or with the edge of a blade. Thrusts use the pointed tip, while butts use the blunted end. Weapons and empty hands are used alone or in combination, depending on the range. There are three ranges: largo (long), media (medium), and corto (short). Media is often ignored; few fighters stay in the hot spot. Slashes are delivered from long range (layaw), while butts are delivered from close range {dikit). Besides the alphabeto (the ABCs of fighting), there is numerado.
Practitioners can reach the counter-for-counter stage of training after they develop basic (alphabet) techniques, using numerado—to play by the numbers. To play by numbers means to work counters and recounters against attacks in an ordered sequence of play. Few exceed this stage, because they lack a safe way to spar. Techniques that seem combat valid in training drills are invalidated with full contact. To prepare for full contact, fluid movement is developed in flow drills. The art is not played well without flowing. The Hiligaynon dialect has a word for the opposite of flow; players may be described as pugoso—meaning “pushing too hard, too stiff, not relaxed, or unnatural.” Fluid movements are found in those fighters in the higher levels of training.
The FMA ranking structure has students, fighters, and teachers (i.e., instructors, masters, and grand masters). Traditional Filipino society was divided into nobles, freemen, and serfs. Nobles wore red, while the lower classes wore black or blue clothing. The color worn by students is blue (asul), associating them with the lower classes. Fighters can wear black (itim) and teachers wear red (pula). Novices are called likas, or natural, because they have no preconceptions. The intermediate students are called likba, or creation, because they have learned fundamentals. The advanced students are called lakas, or strength, because their skills are well developed. A fighter is an expert student on the way to becoming a teacher. Some teachers have never fought, not even in contests or among friends, and lack the quintessential stage of martial development. The name for a teacher in Filipino is guro, from guru (Sanskrit; teacher).
An instructor may be either an apprentice, assistant, junior, or senior instructor. Master instructors may be called Maestro in Spanish nomenclature. Some groups use Datu (chieftain), while others use Lakan (lord) to refer to an FMA master. The grand master is simply the grandfather of the school. Traditionally, one must reach age 50 to be acclaimed as a grand master. Founders of Filipino martial arts are rare.
The purpose of contests in the Filipino martial arts is to simulate the conditions of actual combat in order to learn to overcome the fear of loss. The learning process is facilitated through contests in the arena rather than an actual life-or-death experience. Combat is usually risky, and learning experiences can end prematurely. Dueling, particularly the death match, is FMA tradition, but was outlawed in 1982. Before this time, however, champions often fought many duels: Romeo (“Nono”) Mamar of Bago City was undefeated after one hundred duels from 1960 to 1982. With cash betting as an incentive to public spectacle, duels were often bloody affairs; at their worst, human cockfights. Organized competitions have been held in the Philippines since 1949. Sanctioning organizations, such as the National Arnis Association of the Philippines (NARAPHIL) and World Es-krima, Kali Arnis Federation (WEKAF), sponsor national and international stickfighting events, and do not permit the bloody spectacles of the past.
Besides reasons of civilian self-defense and cultural preservation, Filipino martial arts are used for police and military training, especially for defending against edged weapons. Because FMA are a blend of moves, other martial artists can readily adopt them. For instance, the FMA now provide a vehicle for expressing the late Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do (JKD), as Lee’s system contains the JKD concepts. Eskrima is the “secret recipe” for angling and fluidity in Kajukenbo. Likewise, FMA can be expected to absorb what is useful from other martial arts that its practitioners encounter.