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Home Culture and Heritage Arnis, a sport every Filipino should be proud of!

Arnis, a sport every Filipino should be proud of!

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arnisArnis is defined as a martial art, a culture and a sport.

Arnis, also known as Eskrima or Kali, and is best known for its usage of blades, sticks and improvised weapons as well as empty-hand striking, trapping and grappling.

This indigenous Filipino martial art was said to be slowly disappearing in the Philippines back in the 70s but was widely developed and preserved in other countries.

"It is only because of our traditional maestro or grandmasters that this generation is truly thankful for, for their effort in preserving this art for us.” Cited Raymond S. Velayo, Arnis Philippines President

The rise to popularity of various non-Filipino martial arts in the 90s such as karate, taekwondo and even anime has also helped in placing our local martial art in the limelight once again.

Arnis has many forms as many as the islands in the Philippines. It is so colourful and has a variety of styles which are participated by any age or gender. In 1996, Arnis was acknowledged for its safety features thus has been a part of the Southeast Asian games twice.


There are 2 general competitions held: Full contact and ANYO (a free form, formal technique show with synchronize movements either solo or in group). General type of Arnis weaponry is single weapon, double weapon, and the sword and dagger.

The Arnis sticks used for the Full contact competitions are made of foam padded sticks that will break, so the mortality rate of the equipment during competition are 60-70% which is not a problem, because according to Mr. Velayo,  they value the safety of the athlete more than the equipment, so during the competition, they will prepare several sticks to replace the broken ones throughout the competition.

Surprisingly, Arnis can be done with or without the sticks. The sticks are just extensions of the arm cited Mr. Velayo. Back in the day, it is believed that Arnis was done by old people using their canes or baston to defend themselves. Age is definitely not an issue.

It is also encouraged to be taught to Barangay Tanods (Barangay Public Order Officer), to equip themselves with the skill and technique to defend themselves. It has been done to the tanods in Brgy. Mariana, 4th district of Quezon City, ages 20-50 years old, trained every Saturday morning for 3 months.

Barangay Tanods do not have guns, they are not allowed to bring one, only batons or sticks are allowed. Many cases have occurred that because of the training it saved the lives of the Tanod because they already know how to defend themselves. They are the ones who are always at risk and because Arnis is a practice of discipline, the Tanod was able to perform better” cited Ms. Bong San Miguel, barangay captain

Arnis Philippines has also came up with a training of handicapped people in wheelchairs and received an award in China for this. At this point, Arnis Philippines is working under the Philippine Sports Commission and Association giving Arnis training specifically designed for differently abled called Arnis on Wheels. They are also working on a program for the visually impared that will hopefully launched soon.

That is why arnis is said to be very practical and flexible that works with any culture, stature and location.

Arnis is also the Philippines' national martial art and sport, after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed the Republic Act. No. 9850 in 2009 approved on 11 December 2009. The Act also mandates the Department of Education to include the sport as a Physical Education course. Arnis will also be included among the priority sports in Palarong Pambansa (National Games) beginning 2010.

For your inquiries: www.arnisphilippines.com / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Background and History


The Martial Artarnis

The onset of the twentieth century brought about the demise of Arnis in the country. With the coming of the Americans, the Filipinos were awed with the new culture, that most indigenous cultures were relegated almost to oblivion. Our very own Arnis, the Filipino martial art, almost suffered the same fate. Once the martial art of the pre-Spanish natives and the illustrados of the Spanish era, Arnis all but disappeared in the urban areas and were mostly preserved in the provinces. Credit should be given to our traditional guro / maestro or grandmasters, illustrious men who painstakingly preserved Arnis for us.

The rise to popularity of various non-Filipino martial arts also placed our local martial art in the limelight. Suddenly, interest in Arnis began to surge. Popular practice of the art however, also had its share of problems. For one, there was a dire need to consolidate the various forms, styles and strains of Arnis. Arnis is not just one technique nor just one school, it is as varied as the islands of the country, with its more than eighty (80) languages and about one hundred forty-two (142) dialects in an archipelago of seven thousand and one hundred (7, 100) islands. Furthermore, there was also a need for a strong leadership to hold such schools or groups together, to steer it towards a direction, so as to prevent Arnis from slipping into oblivion.


Modern Interpretations

In 1975, the National Arnis Association of the Philippines (NARAPHIL) was formed by Gen. Fabian C. Ver. This organization acted as the first national organization for Arnis in the Philippines. Its existence however, faded after the radical change and total revamp in the Philippine government caused by the Philippine Revolution of 1986.

In the meantime, in many parts of the world, popular names and groups have been busy propagating the Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) and sports, pushing their teachings and techniques. Some people successfully made their way into martial arts schools, police academies, military schools, educational institutions, government agencies, and even in the entertainment world.

Last Updated on Monday, 30 June 2014 15:51  

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