I have trained in Modern Arnis, a Filipino Martial Art, since 1998. It has been around since at least 1957 when it was introduced to the public by the late Professor Remy A. Presas. There are many elements to Modern Arnis including stick work, joint locks, ground controls, knife defense, empty hands, and espada y daga. It’s not just a martial art; it’s a great self-defense system! Along the way, I have also trained in Balintawak (Groupings and Atillo), have attended a number of seminars with FCS Kali and Kali Illustrisimo.

Many Filipino Martial Arts utilize similar training methodology as Modern Arnis. Some may differ in emphasizing the blade more than the stick. Still, others emphasize different ranges in their system such as largo, medio or corto ranges. 

Regardless of what you find, there are numerous reasons to try Filipino Martial Arts! Here are 10 reasons!

Ten Reasons to try Filipino Martial Arts!

1. Filipino Martial Arts is a very individualized martial art. It’s not a cookie cutter martial art. Techniques are individualized to ensure that it is effective for YOU.

2. Look cool like Jason Bourne! Matt Damon trained in Filipino Martial Arts while preparing for his roles in the Bourne movies.

3. Training with sticks and blades is a lot of fun! The attributes that you gain from stick and blade training translate well to empty hand self-defense.

4. Learn to “go with the flow.” Learning how to “go with the flow” helps a person remain calm under pressure, whether it be a physical or verbal confrontation, professional life, or family life.

5.  Meet new friends: Since FMAs leans heavily toward partner based training, this is a great way to meet and make new friends!

6. Practical: Due to the broad base of concepts and techniques, the practicality of Filipino Martial Arts for self-defense is unparalleled! It’s a great way to learn to protect yourself. Sticks, knives, and empty hands offer a broad range of skills.

7. You learn instantaneous problem solving: Progressive counter for counter techniques involve problem-solving and critical thinking, attributes that come in handy in real life!

8. No Muscle Needed: Filipino Martial Arts teaches you balance and body manipulation so “muscling” a technique is not necessary when facing a larger opponent.

9. Ambidexterity: Ambidexterity is emphasized in some FMAs. We train both left and right hand, thus training both sides of your brain! 

10. Increased Confidence: When you learn how to defend yourself through Filipino Martial Arts, your confidence will soar!

Over to you, can you give other reasons to train in Filipino Martial Arts?

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12 thoughts on “Ten Reasons to Try Filipino Martial Arts

  • March 28, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    Because there’s nothing like the smell of burning rattan after a great flurry of strikes and counters!

  • June 20, 2015 at 8:26 pm


    Nice article.

    I don’t think Remy Presas introduced arnis to the public in 1957 though. The oldest book about arnis, Mga Karununngan sa Larong Arnis by Placido Yambao, was published in 1957. From what I recall Mr. Presas didn’t move to the United States until the 1970’s, and there were already many teachers in the Philippines.

    • June 20, 2015 at 8:33 pm

      Hi Roland,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Professor Presas did introduce his own art, Modern Arnis, in 1957. Before then, he studied his family style in Negros Occidental and Balintawak in Cebu. For sure, there were tons of Filipino Martial Arts teachers in the Philippines before 1957. Due to political strife, he moved to the States in 1975.

    • September 3, 2015 at 11:07 pm

      *Modern Arnis. Remy Presas is the father of “modern” Arnis.
      Arnis has been with the islands of the Philippines since precolonial age.

      • September 4, 2015 at 6:00 pm

        Hello Herend,

        We’re not quite sure if arnis existed before the precolonial period. That is, if it existed prior to the arrival of the Spaniards. Granted people knew how to fight prior to the arrival of the Europeans. However, whatever connection their approach to fighting and warfare has to the martial arts we currently know as arnis is tenuous as best. Most of us practicing here in the Philippines tend to go along with what Macachor, Nepangue and Jocano theorize as the origins of FMA. That it began in coastal communities that were preyed upon by Moro pirates and where the inhabitants were under the control of colonial authorities and were, in fact, taught by local authorities. Arnis was a product of that combination of the various fighting skills of the various Filipino ethnic groups and the skills taught to them by the Spaniards. Again, this is all in conjecture.

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  • September 2, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    All in your list are true and all vry important aspects of why one shld learn these amazing fighting skills .

    However in my view these 2 additions cld be made increasing your list not only to 12 . But taking the 1st and second position .
    My 11 plus yrs all be it a short period of time . Has taught me all in your list . However…….
    My addition wld be . Discipline , knwing whn to stop . These Martial Arts are as deadly as anything tht has taken life in human history . Death is death . But whn its ability and its finaltiy lives within you . Things can get out of hand .
    Whn this tht we hve has to be used it has to be with a sense of real control both mentally and physically.
    The ability to adapt to a situation tht cld change your life and most certainly your opponent .
    So i think this cld be one addition . Discipline to recognize whn to stop in the heat of the moment .

    2nd wld be . Responsibility.
    I am vry proud tht this skill has come to me . And tje path it chose to find me .
    There is a huge ego tht can come from knwing this Awesome way of fighting . In my view in gives so many avenues to succeed . Weather its life or death .

    With tht ability has to come the Responsibility of knwing wht your capable of and how these skills can alter your life.
    Im a vry amateur bodybuilder , i am a personal trainer i am an Instructor of the awwsomeness of Silat. And Kail stick , knife , and empty hand .
    I absolutely hve an ego . I say this with no pride , ok maybe a little . I hve a temper And I love fighting . So you can see where learning the Responsibility of wht i cld do . Can mean how the rest of your life lived .
    This has taught me the

    • September 2, 2015 at 7:46 pm

      Hello sir! Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my post. Many valid points by you regarding the top ten reasons to try Filipino Martial Arts. I agree with you that responsibility and discipline are very important and I do instill that in my classes, both adult and children alike. Again, thanks for commenting!

  • May 12, 2016 at 12:12 am

    Excellent blog! I guess this would go under reason #1 but it could stand on it’s own separately.

    The Filipino Martial Arts can be taught as it own system or it can blend or enhance the system you currently train in.

  • June 22, 2016 at 11:37 am

    This is very true! Martial art is not a self defense but is the way of life. It guides you, it trains you to become the best person you can be. Kudos to you sir Brian. Greetings from philippines

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