The roots of the martial art of Arnis lie in the Philippines. Around 1550 Arnis, at that time still known under the name Pangamut, was successfully used by the natives there against the Spanish conquerors and later around 1900 against the Americans. At that time the Arnis consisted of machete, knife and stick techniques - as well as weapons that could be found on every farmer's farm. In the 16th century the martial arts of the Filipinos, which were originally practiced only by kings and princes, were already widespread. Soon, however, the Spanish occupying forces recognized the danger threatening them from the martial arts, began to make Arnis unpopular as early as 1596 and banned it altogether in 1764. The official reason was that the Filipinos only trained and no longer cultivated their fields. It can be assumed that it became too dangerous for the Spaniards to have a trained swordsman in front of them in every Filipino. Arnis was trained further in secret and the fighting techniques were hidden in dance movements. The dances are called Moro-Moro, Sayaw or Sinuiog.
What is Arnis?
The word Arnis is short for Arnes de Mano, which means arm protection. This Spanish name was derived from the forearm protectors worn by the armored Philippinos in the fight against the Spanish conquerors. Over time this name was changed into Arnis.
The classical styles
In classical Arnis, training is usually done with machetes, sticks or knives. When training with sticks, it is assumed that this stick can also represent a machete. According to this, the techniques are structured in such a way that even as a defender one is anxious to block the opponent's weapon with one's own weapon and to control the opponent's weapon hand with the free hand. Alternatively, the attacking weapon hand can be blocked directly or even on the attacker's body. Classic styles are for example Hirada, Palis Palis, Abanico and Espada y Daga.
The Modern Arnis
In the course of the centuries, however, the fighting situations changed. Today a bar fight is more about fists or chairs, but unfortunately dangerous weapons such as knives or sticks are also part of the picture of a street fight today. Therefore, Grand Master Ernesto A. Presas Sr. and his brother Remy A. Presas developed in the 50's from the classical styles a self-defence adapted to the time, the Modern Arnis and spread it around the whole world. At the same time, they changed the block principle: one deliberately grasps into the opposing stick (which, in contrast to the classic, no longer represents a machete) in order to initiate disarmament. In order to achieve a unity between stick fighting, weapon fighting and weaponless self-defence, Grand Master Ernesto Presas Sr. further developed this martial art and combined his Modern Arnis and Mano Mano systems into an all-encompassing fighting system: the Kombatan.