The Deadly Art of Eskrima

Emphasizing weapons, fighting with blades, hardened-sticks and improvised weapons, eskrima is a deadly, combat proven, type of Filipino martial arts. Even though training begins with weapons, empty-hand methods are also core parts of the art as the weapon is basically an extension of the body.

Introduced to non-Filipino’s in 1521, eskrima was used in combat when Spanish invaders led by Ferdinand Magellan arrived to stake claim on the Philippine islands. During the invasion, native resistance fighters from the island of Mactan, armed with sticks, killed many of the Spanish including Magellan himself. After Magellan’s death, the Spanish prohibited the practice and teaching for eskrima, additionally prohibiting Filipinos from having and carrying full-sized swords.

Filipinos began to adapt eskrima to use different, and smaller, weapons. Eskrima fighters use a variety of fighting styles and weapons. Using whatever is available at hand as a weapon is a key part of what students are taught. The main training focus is in the repetition of the moves. Repeating/drilling the techniques over and over helps with speed gains and reaction times. Quick reaction and decision-making is stressed, along with the speed of strikes and counter-strikes.

Eskrima is one of the Philippines’ most popular and deadliest martial arts. It is the national sport of the Philippines, and has a very long history of combat use. Students are taught to train with weapons from the very beginning. This is a big difference form other martial arts that progress from empty-hand techniques to weapons training.

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Sifu Art Hugues
Sifu Art Hugues