Arnis as a combat strategy evolved from the warrior-techniques of the early diverse eastern cultures that settled in the Philippine Archipelago. One of its precursor techniques – “kali” dates as far back as the 8th century and was in use in the Sri-Vishayan empire prior to the arrival of the oriental- spice-seeking Spanish Fleet under Magellan into the Philippines in 1521.
Arnis evolved as variations of earlier ethnic Oriental combat techniques that included “kali.” “Kali” is from the word “kalis” – Malay word for bladed weapon. Another early form of stick fighting that influenced the techniques used in Arnis today is Indonesian fencing. The use of sticks in combat in earlier years under the Spanish occupation of the Philippines was called “eskrima” (Spanish term for fencing) and “Arnis de Mano” (harness of the hands). During the almost 3 centuries of Spanish occupation in the Philippines, practice of Arnis or any other martial arts were harshly prohibited by the Spanish authorities. To secretly train native enthusiasts and pass on the techniques to others, the locals disguised the technical movements as parts of a stage dance ‘Moromoro.’ This stage dance was usually presented during town fiestas and it was thus how some of the most elemental techniques of the Art got preserved.
Modern Arnis was coined by the founder Professor and Arnis Specialist Remy Presas who initiated the scientific application of various existing Philippine ethnic stick fighting methods (including the “Balintawak” style of fencing) that laid claim to the term arnis.
It was through Presas’ efforts that “Arnis” as martial art gained recognition and respectability. It was formally adopted by Philippine schools in the 70’s as an official Physical Education program. When Presas moved to the United States, it did not take long for the “arnis” to gain a following as a popular and highly respectable form of martial art. Arnis, like other martial arts, form a part in either armed or unarmed combat training programs used by defence forces all over the world. In the US and Australia.
Renshi Mark first started studying the art of Arnis under Hanshi George Adams in 2011. Renshi Mark currently holds the grade of Shodan 1st Degree Black Belt in Arnis.