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Filipino Martial Arts

Filipino history has seen the practice of Escrima help defend against invaders. Escrima has even been disseminated and practiced by a variety of special forces units worldwide.

So whether you're talking about an American or European referring to the Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) styles of stick and sword fighting as Escrima, or a resident of the Philippines more comfortable labeling them as Kali or Arnis. If you want to know how to use weapons to protect yourself, Escrima is a very efficient way to go.

Regardless, the documentation indicates that Filipino Martial Arts styles were used when the Spanish conquistadores arrived in the 1500's and generally differed based on the tribe or area of origin. As was the case with many martial arts styles, the native practice of Arnis, Kali or Escrima was later hidden from the occupying Spaniards by clouding practices in dances, etc. That said, it is generally believed that the practice of Escrima was significantly influenced by the Spaniards as it was refined over the years.

The presence of conflict in the Philippines has no doubt helped practitioners of Escrima to find what truly worked in their art and discard much of what did not. In recent years, practices have become more systemized, making the art easier to learn.

During World War II, several American special operations groups stationed in the Philippines were introduced to the Filipino Martial Arts, leading to this style reaching America despite the fact that natives were reluctant to allow outsiders in on their fighting secrets.

In contrast to many other martial arts, the Escrima student first learns how to handle and defend against weapons. This philosophy is to a large degree culturally bound, but also has a practical application. Even today, in many rural areas both men and women use swords and knives in their daily work. Self-defense using a blade is the preferred method. If you can defend against a weapon then fighting against punches and kicks will come more easily for a student. 

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