Kali: Filipino Martial Art That Influenced US and Russian Combat Techniques

Kali: Filipino Martial Art That Influenced US and Russian Combat Techniques

The Philippines is regarded for its attractive white seashores, heat, helpful smiles, and delicious dishes. With its 7,100 islands, yummy halo-halo through the summer, and hospitable neighborhood, not everyone is aware that they are also professionals in knife-wielding martial arts that roots back again just before the Spanish Period in the 15th century. Kali, eskrima, arnis whatsoever you like to phone it, it’s the very same Filipino Martial Arts utilized by US Army and the Russian Special Operations Forces.

Heritage of Arnis

Arnis. Image Triangle Kung Fu Arnis Academy

Arnis arrived from the Spanish word arnés which translates to “armor.” The time period “eskrima” came from the Filipinization of the Spanish phrase “esgrima,” which usually means fencing. And lastly, Kali was a Filipino time period for blades termed “Kalis.” It was pretty unclear when exactly this Filipino martial arts exercise commenced. It was explained that there were no prepared accounts on when Kali particularly begun for the reason that most of its practitioners did not have scholarly instruction. Even so, it could be traced back to the “Pintados” or the Philippine ethnolinguistic group native in the Visayan area. We know, even though, that this martial artwork contains hand-to-hand fight, grappling, joint locks, and weapon disarming. In reality, it has been the Philippines’ Nationwide Martial Artwork and Activity given that 2009.

Weapons that can be used in Kali. Photograph from The Fatal Dance

Currently, the most well-liked weapon used in kali is a pair of durable rattan sticks identified as “baston” or “yantok.” They are typically ranging from 20-four to 20-eight inches very long. Other less common regarded weapons were being swords, daggers, and spears.

Affect in Other Nations

The kali tactics were being so helpful that they were being also practiced and adopted by the US military in its Shut Quarters Overcome programs and other martial arts. For the Russian Systema Spetsnaz, which is a detailed fight procedure applied by Russian Special Forces, it is claimed that the “knife fighting strategies they exercise can be traced again to Kali Eskrima and Eskrima grandmasters are occasionally hired to do sessions for the exclusive forces crew. Spetsnaz troopers are also qualified to regulate the body’s six levers (elbows, neck, knees, waistline, ankles, and shoulders) with the blade similar to Kali Eskrima.”

In the 2002 movie “The Bourne Id,” Jason Bourne (performed by Matt Damon) was an expert of different martial arts, like kali, which could be observed in a scene where he used very little but his pen against an attacker with a knife.


These days, several facilities provide kali lessons inside and outside the house the Philippines, like Daniel “Mumbakki” Foronda, a propagator of Filipino Martial Arts each in the Philippines and other countries like The Russian Federation. There were being also martial arts faculties and companies like Arnis Philippines and UP Kali Eskrima that instruct this martial art.

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