The history of any fighting art is a reflection of the society and culture from which it was formed. The Filipino arts are no different.
Early records of the Malay Sri Vishaya empire, dating from the 8th century A.D. contain references to Kali as the martial art of the Philippines. Kali is known as the "mother art" to both Eskrima and Arnis.
In the early part of the 16th century the first famous foreigner to encounter Filipino sticks was a Spaniard named Magellan, who burned Filipino homes and attempted to enslave Filipino people as part of the great Spanish conquest. Magellan was finally stopped by the fiery chieftain Lapu Lapu and his men. Villagers in cotton cloth fought the armoured Spaniards on the beach. They battled Spain's finest steel with pieces of rattan (a type of cane), homemade lances and sharpened, fire- hardened sticks. Magellan died there and a statue of Lapu Lapu on Mactan island credits the chieftain for Magellan's death.
Ater Magellan's death, the Spaniards returned with reinforcements and firearms. Though the Filipinos understood combat with empty hands, sticks and bladed weapons, Spanish guns were more than they were equipped to deal with.When Spanish rule was secured, the Filipino martial arts were outlawed.In order to preserve their martial arts, the Filipinos were forced to disguise many combative techniques with native Filipino dances.
Due to the fact that the end of the stick can travel many times faster than the speed of the empty hand, the Kali practitioner or Eskrimador developed faster reflexes, speed, coordination, timing and increased eye focus. This is why the stick combat is taught before the empty handed combat, a principle foreign to many martial arts. It is this principle that is perhaps the most attractive aspect of Kali as far as ScimitarMartialArts is concerned. Whilst we like to teach martial weapons skills, these skills are principally taught in order to develop the attributes needed for success in the fighting arts.