What is Kali?

Kali – Eskrima – Arnis

Kali (which is also called eskrima or arnis) is a weapon based martial art of the Philippines. It is also a national sport of the Philippines and it is also a very effective system of fighting. This system became known and became popular in many countries of the world, similarly to other Asian martial arts. The unique thing about Kali is that it reaches the usage of weapons from the first moment of training to its practitioners and this makes Kali different from other martial arts. The teaching method of Kali develops the quickness of the hands of the individual and also develops the quickness of response to different attacks. Although this martial art is based on using weapons it also teaches the methods of fighting without weapons. This martial art also teaches hits and kicks, grappling and ground fighting techniques. These methods are a natural part of the fighting system as it became important to develop bare handed self-defence against weapon attacks. This martial art is usually called Arnis in the North of the Philippines (that is the main island of Luzon), it is called Eskrima in the central part of the archipelago (that is the Visayan islands) and it is usually called Kali in the Southern part of the islands (in and around Mindanao).

Why is it worth learning Kali?

  • It is a very effective system of self-defence
  • It makes your whole body stronger
  • It develops your stamina and your aerobic capacity
  • If you practice Kali you develop your wrist, elbow and shoulder joints and these parts of your body become more resistant to pain.
  • It develops flexibility, quickness, reflexes and your ability of body coordination.
  • It teaches angles of attack and makes you be able to use traditional weapons even if you have never used them before.
  • It is a complex system of martial art which can also be used as a complementary while you are practicing an other martial art system
  • The fighting techniques of Kali do not require great physical power. The necessary energy comes from the natural energy of movement of the human body and the economy of the movements.
  • As the techniques do not require extensive physical power actually anybody can learn the movements. Even a 10-year-old child and a pensioner lady can learn and do the movements. Several grand masters of these styles are over their 60-ieth and 70-ieth birthday and they are in good health and in good physical condition.
  • It is a complete fighting art, which teaches using traditional weapons and fighting with bare hands, too.
  • It can be practiced anywhere
  • It does not require special equipment or clothing so it is relatively cheap.
  • The teaching and practicing methods of this system is based on partner drills. Therefore you can have access to meeting other people, too.

Why would I like to do Kali? Why not something else?

Kali is a complete fighting art. It is not a fighting art which only teaches fighting without weapons (such as Karate, Judo, Thai Boxing etc.) or fighting only with weapons. Practitioners of Kali learn how to fight with or without weapons and they can adapt to any new situation. It teaches you to fight in all the different fighting distances. It teaches the usage of weapons of different length. It also teaches different hits and kicks, several techniques using elbows and knees, throws, taking opponent on the grounds and elements of ground fighting. It also teaches attacking sensitive points of the opponent’s body.

There are no forms. All the movements are learnt by taking part in partner drills. This makes your combat awareness effective.

Practitioners learn fighting with using weapons. (The usage of weapons is usually taught on higher levels in most other martial arts systems.) Using weapons develops your coordination and quickness which can be applied to unarmed combat.

Kali teaches basic principles which can be applied in fighting with weapons and in unarmed combat, as well. Students of this art begin practicing fighting from the first moment in different fighting distances. Students learn to fight against several opponents, too. Kali is one of those martial arts that can be used effectively against several opponents. The teaching methods of Kali lay equal emphasis on learning the different parts of the system. Learning to fight with weapons naturally leads to fighting with bare hands. Students learn using weapons of different length. These weapons have different shape and different weight, as well. Kali can not be considered a soft martial art (like Aikido, Tai Chi, etc.) or a hard martial art (Karate, Thai Boxing etc.). It is somewhere between these two extremes. That is why it can be a very good complementary art to any other fighting arts.