Recently, a prospective student attended a trial class. She had some previous martial arts experience, consisting of karate. I taught her the 12 angles of attack and other Modern Arnis basics. She absorbed the material quickly and enthusiastically.

After the class ended, I asked her if she had any questions regarding the material we had covered or about my program in general. During the post-class conversation, she admitted that she had never heard of Filipino Martial Arts.

Me: Were you familiar with Filipino Martial Arts prior to tonight?

Her: No.

Me: Had you ever heard of Filipino Martial Arts?

Her: Never.

Having taught for several years,  I was not surprised to hear this. As a matter of fact, many of my students had never heard of FMAs before joining Bamboo Spirit.

So….

What are Filipino Martial Arts?

In dry terms, Filipino Martial Arts is an umbrella term to describe various weapons based martial arts systems originating in the Philippines. Kali, eskrima, and arnis are different terms to describe the same thing. Quite often, empty hand concepts are based on weapons movements. Many Filipino Martial Arts instructors are passionate in their belief that they are quite practical for self-defense.

Nearly all Filipino Martial Arts emphasize weapons training from day one. Most weapons training transfer quite well to every day objects such as tote umbrellas, pens, rolled up newspapers, magazines, and is only limited by your imagination.

First, some systems are based on stick work. Modern Arnis, Doce Pares, Kombatan, and Balintawak are stick based. Below is GM Bobby Taboada of Balintawak demonstrating his amazing skill.

Click here to see the video if the above link does not work.

Others are more sword oriented.  Below is a clip of the late Master Tony Diego of Kalis Illustrisimo training a student at a park as an example of a sword system.

If you were not able to view this video, please click here.

Blade-based systems, such as Sayoc Kali, abound as well.

If you were not able to view this video, please click here.

Regardless of whether they teach stick, sword, or knife, many instructors teach empty hand techniques based on weapons movements.  Thus, one of the major advantages of training in Filipino Martial Arts is training both weapons and empty hands concurrently.

See the below video. How cool is that?

If you were not able to view the video, please click here.

Want to look like Jason Bourne or Bruce Lee? They both had some training in Filipino Martial Arts. Yes sir, they did!

Bruce was influenced by well known FMA proponent and long time student Dan Inosanto. Here’s a clip from “Enter the Dragon” depicting Bruce with eskrima sticks.

If you are not able to view this video, please click here.

And Matt Damon trained extensively in Filipino Martial Arts at the Inosanto Academy for all of his Bourne movies. The movie clip below demonstrates the adaptability of FMAs.

If you are not able to view this video, please click here.

Lastly, sport sparring has become quite popular, resulting in world wide competitions such as WEKAF (World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation) Championships. The idea of testing your skills with protection is hugely appealing for many eskrimadors.

Movies such as “The Book of Eli”, “Quantum of Solace,” “The Hunted” and a few others have exposed many to this exciting art form. Obviously, Hollywood has wised up to the excitement of fight scenes involving FMA choreography. Most notable are the fight scenes in the “Bourne” movies.

Bottom line, FMAs, due to the fact that weapons and empty hand techniques are taught concurrently, is extremely functional for self-defense and is a ton of fun!

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