Arnis and Mano Mano and Kali is an art that consists of both weapons training as well as empty handed attack and defense.
In the past, a student started with weapons in order to be immediately effective in helping to defend their village, and they later moved on to other types and styles of weapons, and eventually to the more advanced empty handed techniques. Arnis is a very effective combat art.
a common saying among practitioners of arnis is:
"The stick trains the hand and the hand trains the stick"
History of Kali, Arnis, Escrima
Kali is an ancient term used to signify the martial arts in the region of the Philippines. In Southern Philippines, it is called Kali-Silat. Silat refers to the movements of the lower body. During Spanish occupation, they forbade the practice of Kali. The Spaniards called the art Escrima or Arnis. Hence, after this period, the martial arts of the Philippines, all three words were used to describe their art.
Kali is a prefix for many Filipino languages. One of the oldest is Karay-a-Panay. Other words include Kalipay (happness), Kalibutan (world). Kali is also used as a suffix. A very common word as you can see.
Recorded history tells us that the early Filipinos migrated from the southern islands. Kali is also used in India. Kali is the name of an Indian God. Kali is also found in Indonesia.
In Indonesia, they fight more with Silat than Kali. In Pentjak Silat is included a study of the body's center of gravity and how to constantly topple it. In Southern Philippines, Silat is used in dances, as martial arts, and as games. They played it as young children of 6-8, and we never thought of it as a martial art, just as a funny game of physical wit.
Dance relates to the culture of the country. A study of the dance forms of the Philippines shows that the kali pattern is ingrained in all the hand gestures and footsteps for agility. None of these kali patterns are seen in the dances of India, Indochina, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Japan, Pacific islanders. Only in the Philippines will you see these dance patterns similar to the kali patterns. So even if there is similarity to the Silat of Indonesia, Kali still developed into its own, in ancient Philippines.
The martial arts was taught and practice by both men and women in the Philippines. Combat was used amongst neighboring tribes and warlords. The Filipinos have a long history of women fighting in battle, wars and combat.
The Filipinos pride themselves in believing that the martial arts of their nation was a self originated art, not borrowed from the Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, or Spanish.
Kali, escrima or arnis de mano, stick fighting was developed over a period of many centuries in the Philippines as her people fought for their independence from foreign invaders. Each skirmish with a new culture added to the Filipino Martial Arts as Kali warriors developed techniques to combat foreign styles. Subsequently, more than 100 different Filipino Martial Arts styles developed, which can be grouped into three complete self-defense systems which utilize sticks, swords, empty hands and other weapons. The systems are called Northern, Southern, and Central.
"Kali," the mother of escrima and arnis de mano, is the preferred reference by its practitioners. Always assuming the use of the blade, whether it be the sword or knife (dagger), Kali employs many techniques, including strikes, stances and weapon handling, which have influence from China, Arab missionaries, Indonesia and Spain. This is due to immigration as well as invasion and occupation. The Philippines' colorful history records the immigration of several cultures to the islands, all of which influenced the Filipino Martial Arts. The Madjapahit, who settled in the Southern stretches of the islands, where influenced by Arab missionaries and became know as fierce Moslems (called "Moro Filipinos") who violently opposed foreign peoples on their native land.
During the American occupation of the Philippines in the early 1900s, Moros, marked by tiger-eyes and red headbands - signifying a resolve to kill until killed - strode singly down the streets blading everything in their path, embracing the belief that every slain Christian assured their places in heaven. So tenacious was the Moros' rampage that hundreds of reports by American soldiers surfaced, stating that the slugs of .38-caliber pistols failed to stop the advancing Moros. As a result of those reports, the .45-caliber pistol was designed and issued to American servicemen. Although the Moros' religious fervor was a crucial element in their destruction, it was the use of their bladed weapons that allowed the bloody chaos to succeed. The art they so deftly employed was Kali.