Filipino Martial Arts is most commonly known in the United States as Kali but also Eskrima and Arnis. Like Chinese Kung Fu it has been developed over centuries under actual combat. The Art has very simple drills, foot work, joint locks, and movements that are most known for their single and double stick techniques. Unlike Karate, Tae Kwon Do, and Kung Fu, Filipino Martial Arts does not have elaborate Katas that takes years to learn.
The term “leatherneck” arose during the occupation of the Philippines when United States Marines were forced to wear neck protectors to defend against decapitation by the Moro fighters from the Muslim Regions of Mindanao and other southern islands. The Malays came to the Philippines about 200 BC, second wave was 100 AD, and the last were the Mulsim Malays who came in the fourteenth century. Many of the weapons they used are still taught in modern Filipino Martial Arts. March 16, 1521 Ferdinand Magellan, a native of Portugal who ailed under the Spanish Flag. April 27, 1521 after trying to convert natives to the Catholic faith, a chief named Lapu Lapu with his warriors attacked. Magellan and several of his men were killed by Filipino fighters with bladed weapons. 1565 King Philip 2nd of Spain established a fort in Cebu and dominated the Philippines for 300 years. Spanish Authorities banned the practice of Filipino Martial Arts in 1764. Using “Divide and Conquer” to rule the Philippines, the Spanish only taught the Elites to speak Spanish since the Philippines had so many dialects and language which would keep the Filipinos from communicating in a common language, Spanish.The first book in the Philippines besides the Quran was “Doctrina Cristiana” a collection of prayers. 1849, the Spanish forced Filipinos to adopt Spanish names.
Filipinos are known to be warlike and an armed society who fought, the Spanish, Americans, Japanese, Communists, Muslim separatists, and each other. Historically, the Philippines has been an armed society. The earliest organized accounts date back to August 14, 1920 when the Labangon Fencing Club was established in Cebu training with sticks and stick and knife methods. January 12, 1932, the Labangon Fencing Club was reorganized under the Doce Pares Club. They began to organize and develope a standard way of training and executing techniques. The Balintawak Club broke off the two formed a natural rivalry. During World War 2, Filipino Martial Arts was tested in the jungles and other close quarters combat situations against the Japanese Imperial Army. Filipinos fought heroically against the Japanese at Bataan and Corregidor suffering thousands of casualties.
After the War, many of the Martial Arts popular in the United States like Judo, Jujitsu, Aikido, Karate, Kung Fu, and Kickboxing became polular. September 21, 1972 President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law and outlawed the caring of knives in the Philippines. March 1970, Ernesto A. Presas moved to Manila and traveled to Osaka Japan to demostrate their techinques. They established Arjuken Karate Association teaching Modern Arnis.
In the United States most Americans know about Filipino Martial Arts from the it’s relations with Bruce Lee’s Art Jeet Kune Do through Dan Inosanto and Richard Bustillo students of Bruce Lee.