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Refers to a class of Filipino martial art that emphasize weapon-based fighting with sticks. Although training starts with weapons, empty hand techniques, trapping and limb destruction are also core parts of these art as the weapon is considered merely an extension of the body.

Arnis comes from arnes, Old Spanish for armor (harness is also an archaic English term for armor which comes from the same roots as the Spanish term). It is derived from the armor costumes used in Moro-moro (Moor versus Christian) stage plays where actors fought mock battles using wooden swords. The practice of weaponry by the peasants or Indios was banned by the Spaniards during colonial times and the Moro-moro stick fights disguised as mere entertainment was one of the methods they were able to practice their art right under the Spaniards' noses. Arnis was also hidden as quaint folk dances like with the Sakuting stick dances in Luzon. These methods of hiding the arts are probably how Arnis evolved into distinct and complex stick fighting systems in the Luzon and Visayas areas which had been disarmed by the Spaniards.

The most basic and common weapon in Arnis is the baston (Spanish for "stick) or yantok. They are typically constructed from rattan, an inexpensive stem from a type of Southeast Asian vine. Hard and durable yet lightweight, it shreds only under the worst abuse and will not splinter as easily like other woods do - thus making it a safe training tool. This aspect also makes it useful in defending against blades. Kamagong (ironwood or ebony) and bahi (heart of the palm) are also sometimes used after being charred and hardened. These hardwoods are generally not used for sparring, however, as they are dense enough to cause serious injury, but traditional sparring does not include weapon to body contact. The participants are skilled enough to parry and counterstrike, showing respect in not intentionally hitting the training partner. In North America and Europe, eskrima practitioners wear head and hand protection while sparring with rattan sticks, or otherwise use padded batons.


Arnis as the National Martial Art and Sport of the Philippines

Republic Act No. 9850: An Act declaring Arnis as the National Martial Art and Sport of the Philippines

Congress of the Philippines

Philippines. Congress (2007-10). "Republic Act No. 9850: An Act declaring Arnis as the national martial art and sport of the Philippines." Metro Manila: 14th Congress of the Philippines, Third regular session, 2009.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Republic Act No. 9850, approved on 11 December 2009, defines the indigenous Filipino martial art of Arnis and declares it as the "Philippine National Martial Art and Sport." The Act then orders the Department of Education, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and the Philippine Sports Commission to promulgate the rules and regulations necessary to carry out its provisions.

Republic of the Philippines
Congress of the Philippines
Metro Manila
Fourteenth Congress
Third Regular Session
Begun and held in Metro Manila, on Monday, the twenty-seventh day of July, two thousand nine.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:

SECTION 1. It is the policy of the State to inculcate patriotism, nationalism and appreciation of the role of national heroes and symbols in the historical development of the country. Furthermore, the State must give priority to education, science and technology, arts and culture, and sports to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress, and promote total human liberation and development.

SEC. 2. Definition of Amis. - Arnis, also known as Eskrima, Kali, Garrote and other names in various regional languages, such as Pananandata in Tagalog; Pagkalikali, Ibanag; Kabaraon and Kalirongan, Pangasinan; Kaliradman, Bisaya; and Didja, Ilokano, is an indigenous Filipino martial art and sport characterized by the use of swinging and twirling movements, accompanied by striking, thrusting and parrying techniques for defense and offense. This is usually done with the use of one (1) or two (2) sticks or any similar implements or with bare hands and feet also used for striking, blocking, locking and grappling, with the use of the same principle as that with the canes.

SEC. 3. Arnis is hereby declared as the Philippine National Martial Art and Sport. The official adoption of arnis as the national martial art and sport shall be promulgated by inscribing the symbol of arnis in the official seal of the Philippine Sports Commission and by making it as the first sport competition to be played by participating teams on the first day in the annual Palarong Pambansa. The Philippine Sports Commission shall be the lead agency to implement the provisions of this Act.

SEC. 4. The Department of Education, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and the Philippine Sports Commission shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this Act.

SEC. 5. Any provision of law, decree, executive order, rule or regulation in conflict or inconsistent with the provisions and/or purposes of this Act is hereby repealed, amended or modified accordingly.

SEC. 6. This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its complete publication in the Official Gazette or in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.


Speaker of the House of Representatives

President of the Senate

This Act which is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 3288 and House Bill No. 6516 was finally passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on October 14, 2009.


Secretary General
House of Representatives

Secretary of the Senate

Approved: DEC. 11, 2009

President of the Philippines



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