Brief History of Eskrima/Kali/Arnis

This free martial arts wiki will help you with Shotokan Kata, Taekwondo Forms, Kicks, Punches, Grappling, Aikido, Goju-Ryu, Krav Maga, Bo Staff, Kyokushin, etc. This wiki will also help you to become a better martial arts "athlete" with drills & exercises for agility, balance, conditioning, flexibility, speed, strength, etc. You can also talk with other martial artists by joining our Wiki Community.

Wiki Revision Date - 20 May 2015 15:37

A Brief History Of Eskrima/Kali/Arnis

According to the International Kali Arnis Eskrima Federation, "Over the centuries and with the influence of the various tribes and cultures in the Philippines, the martial arts developed to be highly effective. Certain tribes had limited stick fighting skills, such as only fighting at long range or short range, these were eventually combined which made the art a highly effective combat system.

The three best known names are Kali, Eskrima, and Arnis. Kali is the oldest term and has its origin in Cebuano, a dialect of the middle island groups, " Ka " stands for camot " hand ", and " Li " for lehok " movement ". As a whole, Kali can be translated into " movement of the hand ". A practitioner of Kali would be a Kallista.

The Spanish occupiers named the martial arts of the Filipinos " Eskrima ". That derives from the Spanish word " Esgrima " describing a brief fight or fencing. At first the Philippine martial arts were well regarded by the Spaniards. They eventually thought it to be too dangerous. By 1596 this art became unpopular, and in 1764 its practice was entirely forbidden. In the Filipino alphabet there is no "C" so the correct Filipino usage of the word would be Eskrima. Whereas Esgrima by westerners was some times changed to Escrima and an acceptable variation. Due to the Spanish origin a practitioner of Eskrima would be an Eskrimador.

This means was an attempt to destroy the entire Philippine culture. Books were burnt, and the use of the native alphabet was forbidden. In a disguised format the Filipinos kept their culture alive by incorporating the Kali movement into their religious Moro-Moro dances and by weaving the alphabet into the artistic needlework of their garments. Impressed by the dances, the skillful movement of the hands, the Spaniards named this art after their hand protection, the "arnes". Over time, this word evolved to "Arnis". Following the Spanish origin a practitioner would be an Arnisador.

For combatives of the style please refer back to the Eskrima, Arnis & Kali page.

Video of Eskrima Techniques

Reference Sources

  1. International Kali Arnis Eskrima Federation, History of Filippino Martial Arts, http://www.ikaef.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=70&lang=en, Added - 01/03/14




Share this martial arts wiki with a friend



Martial Arts Books & Gear
Aikido | BJJ | Flexibility | Karate | Krav Maga
MMA | Military | Muay Thai | Shoes | Shotokan | Sparring | Taekwondo | Other



Other Popular Black Belt Wiki Pages



Join the Wiki Community

Join our wiki community for in-depth martial arts discussions
and to meet other martial artists. You can also join via Facebook.



New Community Posts - Member Generated Posts & Questions

  • 3 Tips for Aikido Safety Thought this video was interesting because it went over some of the safety concerns associated with Aikido (i.e. the need to know how to fall properly when thrown). Any additional comments on safety issues for any OTHER martial arts? Will Black Belt ...
  • Should I bow out of sparring? First off, I'd like to say how glad I am to have found this site. I have been doing a lot of reading and a lot of the info will be beneficial to me. I often have questions about what we do in class and/or the stuff I'm trying to do at home. It's diffic...
  • My self Hello everyone I'm Navin Kunwar from India I'm doing Goju-Ryu style around 12 years I'm 4th degree in Goju-Ryu style. Im chief instructor Maharashtra state in India. Thank you Oss
  • Ninja Bye Q. So, how does a Ninja Turtle say goodbye? A. Got a scute! (Look it up, if you need.)

Popular Community Posts - Highly Rated Member Generated Posts & Questions

Latest Martial Arts Techniques or Kata/Forms Added to Black Belt Wiki

Interesting Martial Arts News



Material on this wiki may not be copied or reproduced without the written approval of Black Belt Wiki.
All rights reserved. For other terms & conditions, please read our legal disclaimer. This site is for informational purposes only. All martial arts techniques and fitness exercises should be supervised by a trained martial arts instructor in order to prevent injuries and to ensure the proper technique is utilized. If you have had an injury or are in pain, please see a doctor before starting or continuing any martial arts and/or physical fitness program.



Looking for interesting holiday or birthday gifts? Try Asian candy & snacks!

Martial Arts Gear