An introduction to Eskrima
“Eskrima” comes from the Spanish word for “skirmish” or “fencing”. It is one of the names in the Philippines for martial arts which use sticks and blades as the basis of their movement principles and training methods. Eskrima is also known as Arnis or Kali, although there are many other names for martial arts among the languages and dialects of the Philippines.
The martial traditions of other cultures often teach unarmed skills first, and then teach the students to regard a weapon as an extension of the empty hand. In FMA (Filipino Martial Arts), weapons are used from the earliest stages. This has the following advantages:
- It is found to be an efficient way of increasing concentration and coordination, and of reducing reaction time.
- It creates an awareness of using anything as a weapon wherever possible.
- A knowledge of how weapons can be used is the key to being able to defend against them.
- The transference of movement principles from weapon to empty hand, or one weapon to another, becomes apparent from an early stage, increasing understanding and flexibility of response.