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Did you ever watch the Bourne movies and wonder "Wow...what style of fighting is that? It looked so cool on screen but does it really work in real life? The answer is YES it can. The martial arts featured in all the Bourne Movies was Kali. Matt Damon, the lead actor for the Bourne movies had extensive training in Eskrima to prepare for the role. Not only does it look cool (like when he picked up a ballpoint pen and turned into a weapon - as shown in the YouTube Video here) but Kali is a martial arts that has gained world wide fame recently and has been rated as one of the most effective self defense techniques on the street and in a real fight.
A fight scene from the Movie, The Bourne Identity displaying Kali fighting skills
Kali or also known as Eskrima or Arnis is the national martial arts of the Philippines. These 3 terms can be used interchangeably under the umbrella of Filipino Martial Arts or FMA for short. Kali / Eskrima / Arnis was developed due to the conflict-ridden nature of the Philippine port-kingdoms (Kedatuans, Rajahnates and Sultanates) who were often at war with one another or raiding each other. This constant conflict and war forced and forged many warriors who then developed a system to protect themselves while attacking others. During the precolonial era, the people of this geographical area developed a reputation for being highly capable and effective mercenaries, which were soon employed all across South, Southeast and East Asia.
When the Spaniards first arrived in the Philippines, they already observed weapons-based martial arts practised by the locals, which any proclaim was a version of present-day Arnis. As with many traditional martial arts, there were no proper records of the teaching or the art and everything was handed down from one generation to the next, the same was true for Kali as well. Besides the use of weapons in combat, Kali / Arnis / Eskrima focuses on hand-to-hand combat, joint locks, grappling and weapon disarming techniques.
Kali / Eskrima rattan sticks which is used in training and as a weapon.
Weapons include striking weapons such as sticks as well as edged weapons such as knifes and longer blades such as a machete. The most basic and popular weapon in Kali is known as the baston or yantok. They are made from rattan, a stem like plant found abundantly in South East Asia's rain forest. These sticks go through special treatment and hardened in heat making them very hard and durable while maintaining a super lightweight. These hard and light qualities make it a safe training tool but make no mistake...these qualities also make it highly effective against blades and can also be used as an effective striking weapon.
Besides the use of sticks, Kali also trains it practitioners to use blades such as the:
Karambit - a short curved blade originating from Indonesia
Balisong - Better known as a butterfly knife
Pinuti - a long bladed weapon which is similar to a Machete.
When a practitioner first learns Kali / Eskrima, they first train and learn how to use the various weapons. Empty hand combat comes later once the practitioner has become more proficient in the use of the weapons.
Now you can learn this martial arts at Lil' Ninjas Dojo. This class is rated for Children aged 12 and above and also for adults. At Lil' Ninjas Dojo we have classes for both teenagers and adults. Do call us at 010 297 0068 to book your free trial class.