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The Basics of Eskrima  
During the Spanish colonization in 1500, the Spanish introduced a simple but practical martial art called Eskrima. It is originally designed as a self defense technique during combats. Some of the popular terms for Eskrima are Escrima, Arnis, Arnis de Mano, Kali (a stick fighting martial art) and Filipino Martial Art or FMA. Because of the proven usefulness of Eskrima, many Special Forces such as Navy Seals and Army Special Forces vigorously adopted this martial art technique in their routines.

Brief History:

The origin of Eskrima is yet to be determined. Some people say that Eskrima started off from Chinese influenced Indonesian combat techniques like Kun Tao, Chuan Fa and Tai Chi double stick forms. But to some natives, they claim that Eskrima is traditionally a Filipino developed martial art. One study shows that the word “Eskrima” is derived from the Spanish verb “escrime” which means “to fence with a sword”. Conversely, the widely accepted justifications appear to have rooted during the seat of Spanish colonization in the Philippines.

Even before the arrival of the Spanish in the Philippine territory, it has been said that the natives already have a form of art similar to Eskrima but was only used for recreational purposes such as for dancing, ceremonial rites and festivities. Furthermore, the art evolved from a recreational activity to a martial art discipline when the Spanish banned the Filipino natives from using local weaponry like Bolo, daggers and fighting sticks. Eskrima remained an underground activity not until the American took over the government form Spain in 1898. Since then, Eskrima or Filipino Martial Art has gained a wide acceptance and popularity.

After World War II, Filipino immigrants brought in and popularized Eskrima in the western part of the world, especially in Hawaii and California.

Weapons and Footwork in Eskrima:

Different from other forms of martial arts, the key tool to learn the basic concepts of Eskrima is focus on the weapon followed by empty-hand or bare hand techniques. The most common weapon used in Eskrima training is the Rattan stick which includes hand and head protection when sparring. Burned and hardened stick made of hardwood like Molave or Kamagong (ebony) may also be used as weaponry. Aluminum, other metals, or high-impact plastics are some of the modern versions of weapons. Bruce Lee who is an avid practitioner of Eskrima popularized the Nunchaku weapon also known as Kung Fu sticks or Double Sticks.

In Eskrima, each range or distance between opponents dictates a different footwork technique. Good footwork is shown in terms of triangles with two feet occupying two corners of the triangle and the step to the third corner. The shape and size of the triangle varies from what the situation calls for.

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