Arnis And Escrima – Filipino Weapons Training

Arnis, Escrima, and Kali Weapons Training

Are Filipino martial arts that focuses on armedarnis and escrima weapons combat with either a stick, knife, sword, or bladed weapons.

Unlike most martial arts styles, Filipino martial arts put weapons training first before training empty-handed (weapon vs. no weapon). Escrima heightens the student’s instincts and awareness of their surroundings and teaches them to make use of their environment.


Escrima dates back to the 1500s and the colonization of the Philippine Islands by the Spanish. Escrima is a practical form of combat originally designed as a self-defense tool using those weapons readily available at the time – sticks and blades. Because of its effectiveness, modern adaptations of Escrima with blades and batons are taught in many Police Forces and Special Operations organizations including the Navy Seals and Army Special Forces.

Escrima, Arnis, and Kali are collectively referred to as Filipino Martial Arts or FMA. The underlying concept of FMA teaches the importance of the ability to adapt, evolve and to flow as you take what is necessary and throw out what isn’t. To utilize what you have available to its full potential. FMA students must learn to flow both physically and mentally.

Escrima has many different forms and most emphasize weapons-based training followed by empty-hand movements. The stick is the most common weapon and students initially train with a padded stick. Next, they train with a rattan cane, which is about 2 feet in length and which has been fire-hardened and varnished; employed swiftly, it can easily crack a coconut with a flick of the wrist. Students also train with blades-the most common weapon employed in the streets of the Philippines.
Experienced FMA practitioners can fight with either weapon or with empty hands. The system uses any method that might provide an advantage in a fight and includes hand and foot strikes, grappling and throwing moves, even biting, and gouging.

Modern FMA training techniques include the solo stick, double stick, sword and stick, or stick and dagger. Some systems specialize in other weapons, such as the whip, staff, and a projectile-based weapon that resembles a 9-inch nail. It is common to see the latter being thrown into bamboo trees as a way of developing accuracy. When used in combat it is unlikely to kill, but it will distract an opponent long enough to either escape or to draw another weapon.

In FMA, weapons are an extension of the body, and footwork generally follows a triangular pattern. When an FMA student moves in any direction, both feet always occupy the two corners of an imaginary triangle on the floor. When you step forward, you step into the triangle’s imaginary third corner and no leg ever crosses the other at any time. This movement pattern ensures a degree of stability and allows you to use leverage to draw physical force from the ground into your hand or weapon.


The goal of FMA training is to teach you the ability to pick up any everyday object and use it to your advantage. Everyday items such as car keys, an umbrella, a rolled up newspaper or even your jacket become an effective means of self-defense.


At Premier MMA, our Filipino Kali Martial Arts programs cover a variety of techniques utilizing Filipino sticks and daggers. We incorporate Filipino concepts into our Jeet Kune Do program as they complement each other very well.


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