What Should Know about Arnis

Arnis holds the title of Philippine national sport. It’s a form of martial art distinguished by using a stick that’s used in spinning and flipping motions, followed by parrying, striking, and thrusting tactics for offense and defense. The practice has been handed down for hundreds of years from generation to the next. It stresses on leveling up the expertise, pace, precision, and strength of the practitioners. 

Arnis was created by Filipino indigenous people. They used a variety of weapons for self-defense and combat. Encompassing edged and simple impact weapons, arnis involves the use of rattan, spears, knives, swords, and daggers. Filipino islanders have beat Ferdinand Magellan’s musket-bearing and armored Spanish conquistador armies in 1521. The islanders were armed nothing but their bladed weapons and their terrifying arnis skills. 

When the Spaniards finally returned and effectively captured most of the islands of the Philippines, the rituals of arnis were retained in ceremonial dances, mock battles, and presentations, despite the prohibition. While the traditional martial arts of the Philippines were inspired by Spanish colonists, new styles were impacted by the country’s interaction with Japan and the US after the country gained independence in 1898. In 2009, the Philippine government declared arnis to be a national sport and martial arts. 

Facts about Arnis  

Arnis is also referred to as eskrima, garrote, and kali in the different regions of the Philippines. While Spain had a peaceful influence on the martial arts culture of the Philippines, its original warrior mentality persisted and remained on the edge of this particular martial art form. The killing fights of arnis were banned in 1945, although it is believed that there are matches held in private up to this time. 

The announcement of the Philippine government to make arnis as a national sport has codified a strong martial tradition. It started the development of an open narrative about the Philippine cultural heritage the world can understand, as Japan did with the Edo era of 1603 to 1868 and China with Wushu during its post-cultural revolution. 

How is Arnis Played? 

Like most types of martial arts, arnis is mostly defensive. It encompasses hand-to-hand combat, wrestling, and disarming. In contrast, its offense involved the use of improvised weapons, such as sticks and bladed weapons. Baton-like canes are the main tool used and such a weapon is being used in official arnis matches. 

Competitive arnis either takes the form-based model or the combat model. Form tournaments are measured on the choreography and overall performance of the participant, including his or her strength, gracefulness, power, and endurance. In the meantime, the combat form measures the endurance and responses of the players. Their performance is also based on the strikes. While most combative competitions don’t include body contact, like grappling, blocking and disarming the opponent, there are a few exceptions that exist where body contact is allowed. 

For those who are interested in learning arnis, taking classes from the master is highly encouraged. Do visit one of the top Raleigh arnis training camps and learn a different art of combat. Arnis will teach you skills no other form of martial arts can.  

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