By Julieta M. Santiago
If Japan has karate and Korea has Taekwondo, Philippines has its own local martial arts, ARNIS, also known as KALI or ESKRIMA, a sport refers to a category of Filipino martial arts that emphasizes the using of weapon – no like fighting sticks, blades or improvised weapons. These weapons are used as an extension of our arms. Thus, some body movement techniques are also basic to the sport.
There are no exact references as to the origins of the Arnis because of lack of valid documentation.
One theory stated, it was started when the Spaniards arrived, during their colonial periods weapons were banned in Luzon and Visayas. Indio (addressed to Filipinos by the Spaniards) used sticks to practice wielding their sword and bolos which they disguised as a folk dance. This was one possible reference as to how Arnis developed into actual Martial Arts.
Another theory suggested that we actually adapted the style of Arnis form Southeast Asian neighbors – especially during the Madjapahit and Shri- Vayajan Empires. This suggestion was due to linguistic similarities of the other names of Arnis. Some accounts also described a martial art practiced during the said periods that was similar to Arnis techniques.
However, because of the new culture brought by our colonizers, Arnis was overshadowed and almost went out of the spotlight. Luckily, with the rise of Martial Arts as a popular sport during 1980s Arnis was able to recapture the interest not only of the Filipinos, but also of the whole world in general.
Reference: https://www.rappler.com/sports /specialist/ larongpambansa
With implementation of RA 9850 schools have been mandated to include Arnis in their Physical Education Curriculum.
Through the supervision of the Department of Education Arnis Association of the Philippines (DEAAP), students from elementary to high school have been given the chance to learn and practice Arnis. It is vital because it would help the younger generations to appreciate our very own national sport. It would serve as a breeding ground for children who wanted to be future Arnis players/enthusiasts. This Filipino Martial Arts is now included in lower and higher meets, for promotion and propagation.