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Chieftain Lapu-Lapu facing Capt. Magdellan
Filipino Martial Arts Terminology
'Arnis, 'Kali' or 'Eskrima' are some of the many terminologies to describe the name of the Filipino Martial Arts. In the North and Central region of the Philippines it is known as 'Arnis' while in the south the terminology of 'Eskrima' (meaning to skirmish) or 'Kali' (ancient Malayan term meaning weapon longer than a knife) is more commonly used.

Decline of the term 'Kali' and the emergence of the word 'Arnis'
Kali declined in popularity as early as 1596 when the Spaniards authorities discouraged and eventually banned the practice of the art in 1764 arguing that Filipinos were so engrossed in the art that they left their lands untilled. The Spaniards also stated that the practice of the art also led to death or injury to combatants especially when tempers got out of hand. Sources intimated that the Spaniards may have other reasons for discouraging the practice of Kali.
The Spaniards must have considered the art to be a threat to their rule, since they decreed that natives found practising Kali would be considered 'tulisanes' (outlaws), so many Filipinos practiced in secret, often disguising it in dances and plays.
 In 1967, the friars introduced the moro-moro, a socio-religious play dramatising the triumph of the Christian Spaniards over the Muslim Moors of Granada Spain. The play called for the use of fighting techniques using a sword pr a similar bladed weapon. With the introduction of the moro-moro, the Filipinos again had a chance to practice their art, thus interest in Kali was revived. In said play, Spanish soldiers fighting for Christianity were supposed to wear 'Arnes', a Spanish word for the English 'harness' - the colourful trappings worn by medieval soldiers. From the word 'Arnes' came the present word 'Arnis'. In 1853 the word 'Kali' was no longer commonplace. However, some regions in the Philippines still retain the word Kali in their vocabulary. Thus, we have 'Pagkalikali' to the Ibanags, 'Kalirongan' to the Pangasinense, 'Kaliradman'. to the Visayans, 'Eskrima' or 'Garote' to the Cebuanos, baston to the people of Panay and Negros Occidental, and lastly 'Sinawali' to the Pampangenos.

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