Arnis, Kali, and Eskrima have been quite confusing, especially to people who want to know the differences between martial arts. Kali is commonly used in the Southern part of the Philippines: Mindanao.

FMA practitioners commonly use it. It is also known as “stick fighting”, and emphasizes using sticks and empty-hand techniques during an attack.

The practitioners are trained in various techniques such as kicks, strikes, locks, throws, and joints to disarm and fight the opponent. It also emphasizes the use of footwork and fluid movements.

Arnis is commonly used in the Northern part of the Philippines, Luzon. The traditional martial art uses bladed weapons for defense and emphasizes the use of empty-hand techniques.

Also, the techniques for training include strikes, locks, throws, joints, and kicks aimed to evade the opponent’s attack.

On the other hand, eskrima is commonly used in the Visayas regions of the Philippines and emphasizes the use of empty hands and bladed weapons such as swords and sticks.

The technique involves the use of the empty hand. It is characterized by body movements such as kicks, joints, throws, and strikes.

Generally, arnis, eskrima, and kali refer to a similar family of Filipino weapon-based martial arts. All the martial arts styles practice similar techniques of empty hands and the use of weapons such as sticks, swords, and knives to attack the opponent.

The practitioners also receive similar training on locks, throws, joints, strikes, and kicks.

Differences between Arnis, Kali, and Eskrima

  • Arnis, kali, and eskrima are popular Filipino martial arts focusing on weapon-based combats. Even though the three martial art styles have similarities, there are also a few differences.
  • They include origin, philosophy, and approach to martial art and training methods.
  • All three martial arts have their roots in the traditional Philippines. However, their development and evolvement are different.
  • Arnis is a national martial art and sport of the Philippines, and its history dates back to the pre-colonial period.
  • Kali, on the other hand, is a broad term referring to a family of martial arts with its origin in the Philippines emphasizing knife fighting.
  • Eskrima is a term referring to traditional martial arts practices of the Philippines, which focus on stick and sword fighting.
  • The three martial arts have different philosophies and approaches to martial art training. Arnis emphasizes physical and mental fitness, discipline, and the development of honor and respect.
  • In contrast, Kali emphasizes practical combat skills development of a warrior spirit. Eskrima, in contrast, focuses on the development of practical skills, respect, and discipline.
  • Arnis, kali, and eskrima train using weapons, such as knives, swords, and sticks. They all differ in techniques and training methods.
  • Arnis emphasizes training using empty-hand techniques and the use of sticks as weapons. Kali emphasizes in use of knives and empty hands.
  • At the same time, eskrima emphasizes using sticks and swords and empty hand techniques.

Similarities between Arnis, Kali, and Eskrima

  • Arnis, Kali, and eskrima are Philippine arts. The three martial arts are similar but differ in practice and training areas. Having similar origins, the similarities of the martial arts are numerous.
  • All three have rich cultural histories. All practice traditional martial arts rooted in Philipines traditions, and thus, during the training, Philipines culture is practiced and transferred from one generation to another.
  • Arnis, eskrima, and kali martial arts practice the use of footwork and movements during training as a way to evade the opponent.
  • Practitioners are trained to move quickly and fluidly, applying various footwork patterns to attack or evade opponents.
  • Arnis, kali, and eskrima emphasize the practical and efficient use of combat. Due to the practical training offered to the practitioners, it is used in real-life self-defense situations. The techniques are effective for both unarmed and armed attackers.
  • All three martial arts use empty-hand techniques to attack an opponent. The empty hand technique is powerful and effective in cases of attacks. Additionally, they use sticks, knives, and other bladed weapons to attack an attacker.
  • Finally, the three martial arts emphasize self-defense techniques. The weapons and fighting techniques are applied during self-defense.

Take away

Arnis, kali, and eskrima are Filipino traditional martial arts. Arnis, kali, and eskrima refer to similar Filipino martial art families but only differ in the place of practice.

Arnis is practiced in the Northern part of the country and Kali in the Visayas islands, and eskrima in the southern part of the Philippines.

All these martial arts use knives, sticks, and other weapons to attack the opponent. They are effective and powerful tools in both armed and unarmed attacks.

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