Unique Features of Filipino Martial Arts
Not Normally Found in Other Martial Arts
- It is a complete system of
armed as well as unarmed combat. Many martial arts are either armed or
barehand. And they tend to concentrate on a few aspects of
combat. eg. Judo concentrate on grappling and throwing.
Karate concentrates on striking with the hands. Tae Kwon Do concentrates
on kicking. Aikido concentrates on off- balancing and
throwing. Arnis, on the other hand, balances all these aspects into
a unified system without undue emphasis on any aspect.
- Training is by usage and
application of attack and defence only. This is a direct
approach to resolve the problem of combat readiness. Train in attack
and defence in order to prepare for combat. Training in forms (kata)
is an indirect approach. That is why in traditional Arnis, unlike
Chinese, Korean and Japanese arts, there are no forms.
- Arnis training begins with
weapons first and progresses to empty hands. This is completely opposite
to Chinese, Korean and Japanese martial arts which emphasise that empty
hands must be mastered before weapons can be taught.
- Arnis training begins with
combat application training right away! Chinese, Korean, Japanese systems
first trains the students in all basic and prepatory exercises,
forms, etc before teaching basic defences progressively. Time
is not wasted learning various sets of exercises for many years.
- In Arnis, the emphasis is
on weapons training because empty hands is easily mastered if proficiency
in weaponary is already aquired, and Arnis training ensures weapons
training is easily and quickly acquired. Chinese, Korean and
Japanese arts tend to emphasis empty hands training.
- Arnis is a harmonious blend
of soft - hard style. Most other martial arts are either more hard
or more soft, and there is no happy medium.
- Arnis emphasises the flow
of energy, movement, technique and strategy. Most martial arts, with the
exception of Tai Chi Chuan, Pa Kua Chuan, Aikido, and the Malay and
Indonesian arts, do not emphasis these aspects.
- Arnis emphasises
street-wise techniques and strategies. Training under ideal
classroom conditions is frown upon. In contrast, most martial arts
are taught under an ideal classroom setting.
- Arnis traditionally is not
practised in groups or class format. Even in modern times, certain
aspects of Arnis require one to one attention. Most martial arts, on
the other hand can be easily and happily taught to large groups together
- Arnis emphasises mortal
combat as opposed to martial virtue. This is in contrast to most
martial arts which emphasise virtue and morality and way of life.
Arnis philosophy is pragmatic - such vitues are to be trained and acquired
through long training. Students should not need to be already
qualified before they are allowed to study to become qualified.
- Arnis encompasses in all 3
ranges of combat:- long - medium - short. Many martial arts are
suited to a particular range. eg. Judo and wrestling are
suitable for short range. Wing Chun and Tai Chi are suitable for medium
range. Tae Kwon Do and western fencing are suitable for long
- Certain forms of Arnis make
extensive use of combat training drills. This is rarely
seen, much less, emphasised in other forms of martial arts.
- In Arnis, self defense
using a stick/blade is the preferred method. This is a
distinguishing feature of Arnis, such that Arnis/Escrima/Kali is mistaken
by other martials as the ‘Filipino Stick Fighting’. It
is a trademark - this seem to distinguish it from other
- Arnis makes extensive use
of the 'Alive Hand'. This unique feature is not present in
most other martial arts.
- Arnis does not make any
differentiation between weapons and empty hands. They are one and
the same. Therefore all weapon techniques are inter-changeable with
weapons. In stark contrast, weapons are completely distinct from
empty hands in other martial arts. ie. have forms for empty hands,
but have other sets of forms for weapons.
- Arnis does not have a
colour belt or Dan ranking system like Japanese and Korean martial arts.
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