A collection of training weapons used in an eskrima class. Includes a padded stick, a rattan stick, a wooden training knife, and a collection of modern aluminum training knives, or "trainers" made by Keen Edge Knives.
Filipino Martial Arts refer to ancient and newer fighting methods devised in the Philippines. It incorporates elements from both Western and Eastern Martial Arts. The most popular forms of which are known as Arnis/Eskrima/Kali. The 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 to 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.
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 in the Philippine military and police.
Traditional bolos from the Visayas (ginunting on the left, and three talibongs).
Filipino martial artists 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.
Another thing to note is that the Philippines is a blade culture. The Southern Philippines with the Moros were never really conquered by the Spaniards and the Americans; nor the Northern mountains of Luzon with their feared headhunter tribes so they kept their weapons and their fighting skills. For the more "civilized" provinces and the towns where citizens had been "disarmed", bolos (a cutting tool similar to the machete) and other knife variants are still commonly used for general work (farming in the provinces, chopping wood, coconuts, controlling talahib (sword grass), which could grow higher than roofs if not cut, etc.) and of course, the occasional bloody fight. Production of these weapons still survives and there are a few who still make some. In the province of Aklan, Talibongs are still being made in the remote areas. Until the 80s, balisong knives were still commonly used in the streets of Manila as general purpose pocket knives much like Swiss army knives or box cutters until new laws on allowable kinds of knives made it illegal to carry them in public without a permit or proof that it was a vital to one's livelihood (e.g. Martial arts instructor, vendor). They're still openly sold in their birthplace of Batangas, in the streets of Quiapo, souvenir shops and martial arts stores, wielded by practitioners and of course, street gangs. Thus, even when fighting systems were outlawed by the Spaniards, Filipinos still maintained their centuries-old relationships with blades and blade fighting techniques that survive from ancient times and are still much alive as they have been adapted and evolved to stay relevant and practical in colonial and modern times.
What separates Filipino Martial Arts from other weapon-based martial arts like Japanese Kendo & Kenjutsu, European Fencing and traditional Chinese Martial arts that teach the usage of classical Chinese weapons is that FMA teaches weapon use that is practical today: how to use and deal with weapons that one can actually encounter in the streets and how to turn ordinary items into improvised weapons. No one walks around with sabers, katanas or jians anymore, but knives, machetes and clubs are still among commonly encountered weapons on the street and in the field, thus making FMA very practical and geared towards military and street fighting.
Traditional weaponry varies in design, size, weight, materials and usage but because of the similarity of techniques and that the human being can move in only so many ways, any object that can be picked up can be turned into a weapon by a Filipino martial artist as a force multiplier.
Mano Mano: (lit. hand to hand) Incorporates punches, kicks, elbows, knees, headbutts, finger-strikes, locks, blocks, grappling and disarming techniques
Sikaran: Kicking techniques, also a kick-based separate art practiced in Rizal province
Yaw-Yan or Sayaw ng Kamatayan: (Dance of Death) Yaw-Yan closely resembles Muay Thai, but differs in the hip-torquing motion as well as the downward-cutting nature of its kicks, and the emphasis on delivering attacks from long range (while Muay Thai focuses more on clinching). The forearm strikes, elbows, punches, dominating palms, and hand movements are empty-hand translations of the bladed weapons. There are 12 "bolo punches" which were patterned from Arnis.
Baston / Olisi: Short sticks, traditionally crafted from rattan or kamagong
The walking stick in the middle of photo just left of the three arrows and right of the Luzon shield, doubles as an improvised weapon coming apart into two pieces, both with fixed blades on a long and short stick.
Pictured above is a closer look at the carving of a Negrito/Filipino man on top of the stick.
Also, a braid/weave encompasses the top portion of the walking stick to ensure a good grip.While partially unsheathed, we see the two blades hidden inside.Very rare from late 19th to early 20th century, beautiful weapon and great example of ingenuity and master craftsmanship of the people.
Kana (as in Indian Pana Kakana-kana/kakanain kita): Darts propelled by slingshots used by street gangsters
Lantaka: kerosene-propelled bamboo cannon
Luthang: gas-powered mini bamboo cannon
Signs and symbols
The triangle is one of the strongest geometrical structures and stands for strength. Many training halls incorporate the triangle into their logo. It represents numerous underlying philosophical, theoretical and metaphysical principles in the Filipino martial arts. Applications of the triangle are found in defensive and offensive tactical strategies, including footwork, stances, blocking and disarms.
During training, non-verbal gesture communication and recognition is used in teaching and identification. This sign language, utilizing hand, body, and weapons signals, is used to convey ideas, desires, information, or commands.
Basic tactical ranges
The three combat ranges in the Filipino martial arts are corto (close-range), medio (medium-range) and largo (long-range).
Hakbang: general term for footwork
Corto Mano: close range, short movements, minimal extension of arms, legs and weapons, cutting distance
Serrada: "split step", short range footwork, quick, split action, front and back, low stance. Serrada footwork is the base of a triangular framework methodology
Largo Mano: long range, extended movements, full extension of arms, legs and weapons, creating distance
Fraile: short range footwork, hopping action, balanced position, short hop, pushing off from the lead foot
Ritriada: short range footwork, shuffling action, pushing backward by pushing off the lead foot, giving six to eight inches of range per action.
Banda y banda: side to side action
Basic tactical methods
Filipino martial arts contain a wide range of tactical concepts, both armed and unarmed. Each art includes several of the methods listed below. Some of these concepts have been taken in isolation to serve as the foundation for entire fighting systems in themselves.
Bantay-Kamay, Tapi-Tapi- "guardian hand" or "alive hand", auxiliary weapon used in conjunction with the primary weapon for checking, blocking, monitoring, trapping, locking, disarming, striking, cutting, etc. Examples include the empty hand when using a single stick or the dagger when fighting with sword and dagger
Mano Mano, Suntukan, Pangamot, de Cadena, Cadena de Mano, panantukan - empty hands
Suntukan - empty-hand striking (usually with closed fist)
Kinamotay - a sub-section of pangamot that specializes in biting and eye-gouges
Panuntukan, kulata, sumbagay - dirty street boxing method with elbows, headbutts and low kicks
Dumog - wrestling or grappling methods with an emphasis on disabling or controlling the opponent by manipulation of the head and neck. This also refers directly to a wresting competition on muddy ground.
Other traditional or "common sense" techniques:
Balitok - acrobatic flip or back-flip to evade attacks. This can also be used in combination of kicking to hit opponents.
Bikil, sapiti or sapid - hitting an opponent's center of gravity to cause imbalance
Bunal, bangag or puspos - downward striking with a blunt weapon
Bungot sa kanding - a goatee sported by men to supposedly intimidate or distract an opponent.
Busdak - throwing an opponent down to the ground
Dunggab, duslak or luba - stealthy stabbing stroke
Dusmo - to push an opponent's face to the ground
Hapak or sumbag - packed punch aimed to take down an opponent
Hata - fake movement intended to open up opponent's defensive stance
Kawras or kamras - scratching attack to sensitive parts such as the eyes
Ku-ot or kumot - stealthy grabbing and grappling of body parts such as hair
Kulata - combo punches to disable or overwhelm an opponnent
Laparo or tamparos - slapping using the lower part of the palm
Lihay - evading attacks
Lubag - twisting of joints to unnatural position to disable a physically stronger opponent. This includes a lethal twisting and snapping of the neck.
Luglog - forward striking (or stabbing) and immediate withdrawal with a blunt weapon. It could also refer to poking sensitive body parts such as the eyes
Pa-ak - biting
Pakug - headbutting
Sablig - throwing natural eye irritants such as sand to the unwary opponent
Sagang - blocking of striking attacks
Tigbas - slashing and cutting stroke
Tu-ok - strangling or locking the neck
Agimat: An eskrimador's amulet worn to protect against misfortune and increase the chance of victory. Also known as habak or anting-anting. It was superstitiously believed that Manny Pacquiao possessed one.
Albularyo: A shaman who carries out the initiation ceremony and treats injuries
Hilot: A traditional system of herbalism, massage and first-aid that was traditionally taught alongside martial arts
Kulam or Barang : Witchcraft or spell-rituals carried out by witch-doctors. Also known as barang in Visayas.
Oracion: Special prayers, incantations or mantra that may be recited before battle as a protective armor. This is also used for driving out or summoning spiritual entities. This is usually written in Latin language.