Kali, Escrima (also Arnis) refers to the original indigenous martial art of the Philippine islands that emphasize weapon-based fighting with sticks, blades and improvised weapons. Although training starts with weapons, empty hand techniques, trapping and limb destruction are core parts of the art called Pangamut but better known as dirty boxing.
The basic teachings of Kali are traditionally simplified. With a focus on pragmatism, only techniques that were proven effective in battle and could easily be taught en masse were used. The fierce warrior tribes of the Philippines fought constantly against invaders from other tribes and countries for centuries. This concept of taking only battle tested techniques and adapting them into their existing martial systems worked to such a high degree that Kali was used well into the modern gun era with impressive effectiveness.
These philosophies of simplicity and pragmatism are still used today and are the underlying base of Kali. Because of this approach, Kali / Escrima and the Filipino martial arts in general are often mistakenly considered to be “simple”. However, this refers only to their systematization, not their effectiveness. To the contrary, beyond the basic skills lies a very complex structure and a refined skillset that takes years to master.
Kali builds upper body strength through repetitious swinging patterns of the stick and lower body strength using rigorous stepping drills and low stances. The combination of these gives the exponent improved coordination, strength and self confidence.It provides the practitioner with the skills to tactically overcome an armed or unarmed aggressor.