Eskrima/Kali/Arnis - Instructions for Techniques, Stickwork, Kicks, etc.

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Eskrima/Kali/Arnis - Instructions for Techniques, Stickwork, Kicks, etc.

Eskrima (or Escrima) is a Filipino martial arts style that focuses on the use of sticks, bladed and impact/blunt weapons, improvised weapons, and hand-to-hand (empty hand) techniques. Eskrima is also known as Kali and Arnis.

This martial arts from the Philippines uses weapons such as a Yantok or Baston (used interchangeably) (fighting stick), Baraw (knife), Bolo (machete), Bankaw (staff), etc. Eskrima belongs in the same category as other stick-based martial arts styles such as Bataireacht, Canne de Combat, Tahtib, etc.

Please see the History of Eskrima/Kali/Arnis for additional historical insight to the art and the evolution of the name for the style.

Key Elements of Eskrima/Kali/Arnis

Examples of Eskrima Techniques

Complementary Styles:

  • Jeet Kune Do - As its ideology revolves around usefulness and flow of the martial arts therefore stick fighting is often seen in JKD, also the Kung Fu / Wing Chun basis would help the Kali practitioner easily flow and transition into the empty hand fighting if they loose their weapon.
  • Dumog - The Filipino grappling / wrestling art which uses a great number of "throws" which work by locking up (usually part of the arm) and then using it like a tether to pull the center of gravity away from the feet causing the person to fall. These types of movements allow the practitioner to easily stay on their feet and throw their opponent with little effort.
  • Silat - An Indonesian art which utilizes additional knee and elbow strikes along with some interesting take down maneuvers. With the Philippines being a bladed / weapon based culture, the Kali practitioner can easily appreciate the uniqueness of Silat weapons such as the Karambit (a small double edged, claw like knife) and the Sarong (a flexible sash similar to an infinity scarf).
  • Boxing - Simple boxing footwork is beneficial in combination with Kali stick fighting footwork to better help the practitioner move around.

Demonstration of the Various Aspects of Kali

Eskrima/Kali/Arnis Sparring

According to WEKAF Canada, some of the basic rules associated with Eskrima/Kali/Arnis sparring include the following:

  • The contest area or ring shall be not less than five (5) meters and not more than seven (7) meters square.
  • The contest shall consist of three (3) rounds of one (1) minute each, with thirty (30) seconds rest in between rounds.
  • Striking or target points shall be any part of the body above the knee except the groin and the neck. This includes the front and the sides of the thighs and body, both arms and hands, and the top, front and sides of the helmet. Hitting the back of the body is only allowed when the competitors are facing each other (i.e., through the use of curving strikes). Hitting the back of the head is not allowed, due to insufficient padding on the back of the helmet. Only two (2) consecutive strikes to the same target area are permitted.
  • Legitimate strikes or blows include cut or slash, wrist-snapping or flicking (witik, kurbada), abaniko (fan), etc. Thrusting, butting (punyo), and footsweeps have been legal in the past, but have been eliminated because the protective gear is presently not sufficient to allow these techniques to be used safely. Improvement in the protective equipment may result in the re-instatement of these techniques. Two-handed strikes are prohibited.

Reference Sources

  1. WEKAF Canada, Rules and Regulations on Sparring Competition,, Added - 01/03/14

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