Filipino martial arts

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Filipino martial arts or FMA consist of various martial arts disciplines in the Philippines integrating a “system-of-systems” approach to combat readiness. Highly skilled Filipino martial artists are often characterized by a state of "flow" that is decisively responsive, deployable, agile, versatile, lethal, survivable, and sustainable. This approach was developed and influenced over centuries of cultural incursion and social upheavals, resulting in a philosophy of adaptability and flexibility born of the Filipino's intrinsic need for self-preservation. Out of necessity, they learned how to prioritize, allocate and utilize common resources in combative situations.

For over three hundred years the Spanish had control over much of the Philippines. The Spanish regime often enforced royal laws and decrees limiting and prohibiting the use of weapons by indigenous people. These restrictions of use were partly responsible for secretive and underground nature of FMA. Spaniards often employed Filipino warriors known as Eskrimadors for various battles and wars. The Filipino's battle-tested tactics proved strategically effective from the angle of old world weaponry and hand to hand conflict.

In 1972, the Philippine government included Filipino martial arts in the Palarong Pambansa. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports also included it as part of the physical education curriculum for high school and college students. Knowledge of Filipino martial arts has been made mandatory in the Philippine Military and Police. Today, the traditional Filipino martial systems continue to grow, new ones emerge, and new transitional FMA stylists continue to arrive on the martial arts scene.

Note: This page is meant to serve as broad overview of the core components and advanced capabilities supporting Filipino martial arts.


Traditional weapons

Practitioners of these arts are noted for their ability to fight with weapons or empty hands interchangeably. Filipino martial arts include tactics for a wide variety of weaponry and combative situations. The weapons vary in design, size, weight, materials and methodology.

Impact Weapons

  • Mano Mano - hands, open-handed, fingers, fists, elbows, knees, sipa or kicks, locks, blocks, and disarming
  • Baston or olisi, eskrima sticks, traditionally crafted from rattan and kamagong
  • Sibat, Tongat - staff
  • Tameng - shield

Edged Weapons

Flexible Weapons

  • Latigo - whip
  • Lubid - rope
  • Kadena, tanikala - chain
  • Yo-Yo
  • Tabak-Toyok - two sticks attache by rope or chain, a.k.a. nunchaku or flail

Projectile Weapons

  • Bow and arrow
  • Lipad-lipad, bagakays, blowgun and darts
  • Slingshot

Traditional Uniform

  • Badok

Basic training and tactical methods

The triangle is the strongest shape in geometry.

Signs and symbols

The triangle represents many underlying philosophical, theoretical and metaphysical principles in the FMA. Many schools incorporate the triangle into their school's logo. Application of these theories are found in defensive and offensive tactical stratagem, including footwork, stances, blocking and disarms

Salutations and signing, non-verbal gesture communication and recognition is used in teaching and identification. Eskrimador's sign language, utilizing hand, body, and weapons signals, is used to convey ideas, desires, information, or commands.

Basic tactical ranges

  • Corto - close-range tactics
  • Medio - medium-range tactics
  • Largo - long-range tactics
  • Hakbang - general term for footwork
  • Corto Mano - close range, short movements; minimal extension of arms, legs and weapons; cutting distance
  • Serrada - "split step"; short range footwork; quick, split action, front and back; low stance
  • Largo Mano - long range, extended movements; full extension of arms, legs and weapons; creating distance
  • Fraile - short range footwork; hopping action; balanced position; short hop, pushing off from the lead foot
  • Ritriada - short range footwork; shuffling action; pushing backward by pushing off the lead foot; giving six to eight inches of range per action.
  • Batran Batran - side to side action

Basic training and tactical methods

  • Solo Baston - single stick methods
  • Doble Baston - double stick methods
  • Bati-Bati - butt of stick methods
  • Dulo-Dulo - palm stick methods
  • Bantay-Kamay, Tapi-Tapi - "guardian hand" or "alive hand", auxiliary weapons tactics used for deflecting, checking, blocking, monitoring, trapping, locking, disarming, striking, cutting, etc.
  • Mano y Mano - hand to hand combat methods
  • Baraw - knife and dagger methods
  • Mano y Daga - hand and dagger methods
  • Daga y Daga - dagger and dagger methods
  • Jendo - hand to hand and weapons fighting methods
  • Espada y Daga - sword and dagger methods
  • Latigo y Daga - whip and dagger methods
  • Tapon-Tapon - hand-thrown knives and weapons tactics
  • Numerado - striking and blocking by the numbers; refers to the most basic strikes and angles in Eskrima
  • Cinco Teros - five strikes; refers to the five most basic strikes and counters in Eskrima
  • Doblete - two-weapon blocking and countering method of doubles
  • Sinawali - weaving; rhythmic, flowing, striking patterns and tactics, utilizing two impact or edged weapons.
  • Redonda - repeating pattern, double strikes and tactics
  • Ocho ocho - figure 8
  • Palis Palis - force with force, force to force method
  • Abaniko - fanning strikes and tactics
  • Witik - whipping, snapping back or picking movements and tactics
  • Lobtik - follow-through strikes and tactics, horizontal, vertical, diagonal methods
  • Crossada - cross-blocking methods, hands and weapons
  • Gunting - armed and unarmed scissoring techniques aimed at disabling an opponent's arm or hand
  • Lock and block - dynamic countering attacks based on the striking and blocking methods of the system
  • Free Flow - live interaction and play, flowing practice, rapid, rhythmic, weapons tactics
  • Kadena de Mano - chain of hands; close quarters, continuous, hand to hand combat tactics
  • Hubud Lubud - to tie and untie; continuous trapping methods
  • Trankada - joint locking and breaking techniques
  • Pangamut - mano mano, Pamuok, empty-hand techniques
  • Kino mutai - a sub-section of Pangamut that specializes in biting and eye-gouges
  • Panganaw - disarming techniques
  • Panantukan or Panuntukan - Filipino kickboxing
  • Pananjakman and Sipat - low-line kicking components
  • Suntukan - Filipino Boxing, empty-hand striking techniques
  • Dumog - Filipino grappling methods with an emphasis on disabling or control of the opponent by manipulation of the head and neck

Basic FMA "system-of-systems" training and tactical combinations

These weapons vary in design, size, length, weight, and materials used.
Core FMA Left Hand ( LH ) & Right Hand ( RH ) tactical weapon combinations.
( LH ) & ( RH ) ( RH ) Empty ( RH ) Stick ( RH ) Knife ( RH ) Sword ( RH ) Shield
( LH ) Empty hand & hand hand & stick hand & knife hand & sword hand & shield
( LH ) Stick stick & hand stick & stick stick & knife stick & sword stick & shield
( LH ) Knife knife & hand knife & stick knife & knife knife & sword knife & shield
( LH ) Sword sword & hand sword & stick sword & knife sword & sword sword & shield
( LH ) Shield shield & hand shield & stick shield & knife shield & sword shield & shield

Impact Weapon - IW IW - IW IW - EW IW - FW IW - PW IW - BW
Edged Weapon- EW EW - IW EW - EW EW - FW EW - PW EW - BW
Flexible Weapon - FW FW - IW FW - EW FW - FW FW - PW FW - BW
Projectile Weapon - PW PW - IW PW - EW PW - FW PW - PW PW - BW
Balistic Weapon - BW BW - IW BW - EW BW - FW BW - PW BW - BW
Copyright (C) 2017, Esrey, Serrada Eskrima
Permission to copy and distribute verbatim copies of the FMA matrix, but changing it is not allowed.
Authorship and copyrights must be noted.

Spiritual or internal practice

See also


Original Source

Original content fromWikipedia under [ GNU Free Documentation License]. See full [ disclaimer]