Martial arts of the Philippines

This site is dedicated to Martial arts of the Philippines

 Styles  of Ola-a-nalo Eskrima New york



lighting scientific Arnis


                The Philippines has been described by many martial arts experts as having one of the most diverse and rich martial traditions in all of Southeast Asia.  Especial in weapons fighting, this can be subdivided into for major categories prehistoric, spanish, Moro-Moro and chinese.

              The prehistoric period of Martial arts occurs before the colonization of the Philippines by the Spanish in 1521, consisted primarily of bladed and projectile weapons which was documented by the Spanish conquers. Because the conquistadors viewed the native culture as primitive.


             Then in 1529 a major shift in Filipino martial arts occurred with the on set of Catholic missionaries utilizing religious plays involving sticks  as a way to convert the native people. Also it also served as a device to teach the Filipinos the Spanish language. This tradition of religious plays carries on today and has been identified with the Filipino identity.

      Another major source of martial development in the Philippines was caused by the Moro-Moro. Moro-Moro is the name of a Muslim tribe or person in many of the Filipino languages. This type Kali was developed exclusively by the Muslim Filipinos which focuses on the use of larger bladed weapons. These styles can be found in  the southern Philippines.

                   The last category of Filipino martial arts is the Spanish-American war. When peaceful coexistence finally came, the Filipinos learned of the tremendous wealth of the American nation and many flocked to Hawaii and the USA hoping to strike it rich and return home wealthy. Once in America, however, the immigrants found that the streets were not lined with gold and that hard work six to seven days a week was the only way to earn a living, usually of low wages.

Modern Eskrima (1920-1950) took a giant step forward at this point because Eskrimadors from all over the Philippines were brought together to work and live. 


Past suspicions and ethnic barriers were dropped as each ethnic group of plantation workers were responsible for their own section of land and their profits depended on the yield of their section. Competition for jobs was high because other immigrant workers were there competing for the same jobs as the Filipinos.

When Filipino men were not working in the fields in Hawaii and California, they gathered to practice Eskrima to keep up their timing and movements. Lasting friendships developed between masters who, were it not for immigration would never have been brought together much less become friends.

Some of the elderly Filipinos in Hawaii remember the days when you could go to the old Civic Auditorium in Honolulu and watch full-contact matches: two men with sticks but no protective gear fighting it out until one could not continue. Combatants were devoted to their masters and their styles, each believing his style was better than his opponents and ready to prove it in the ring. In 1929 the matches were outlawed in the territory of Hawaii because of two deaths and constant serious injuries suffered by the participants.

 Maestro Dexter James

  My Eskrima Instructors

 Master Ron England