Kali vs Escrima
What's the difference in these two stick fighting systems? They're different, but I am unaware of what the differences are between the two, so please educate me.
Its mostly just different words for the same things, you have to remember that the Philippines is 7000 islands or something ridiculous like that, so you'll find about that many names for the same stuff.
Kali/Escrima/Eskrima/Arnis for the arts themselves.
Sayaw/Anyo for forms.
Also: They're far from just being stickfighting systems, many don't even consider them selves stick systems at all but insist that they're purely blade oriented.
What Fuzzy said.
Some people try to fit the names into particular boxes ("escrima does this while arnis does this") which makes me think their entire FMA experience was gleaned from the pages of Black Belt Magazine.
This is highly debatable, but Kali (or those systems that refer to themselves as Kali) tend to be thought of as older blade systems. Escrima tend to be more stick or stick and dagger. Arnis is probably the most common term of description in the Philippines.
I've heard knowledgeable practitioners say the term (kali,eskrima,arnis) applies to where a style came from. I don't agree that this is a reliable definition. In some systems the art, Balintawak for example is sometimes called Balintawak eskrima and sometimes Balintawak arnis. The only consensus i think you'll find is that there is no consensus on the usage of the terms.
Well, that's certainly the story they tell. In the CMA, nobody blinks an eye when someone claims that their system is the oldest. Outside of Ben Largusa's claims in Dan Inosanto's book, you'll have a hard time finding anyone in the Philippines who agrees with it.
Originally Posted by RynoGreene
I've heard that Kali focuses on single blade/stick more, while Escrima/Arnis focuses more on double or stick and knife.
Originally Posted by RynoGreene
It's all folk legend. You'll get different origin stories from allmost every Guru you ask.
Here's a couple of tropes from my personal experience (your mileage WILL vary):
Escrima tends to have more Spanish influence and some of the movements resemble fencing.
Kali tends to be more "close up with knife".
Arnis has spectacular largo stick work and an endlesly creative variety of stick grapling moves.
There's a ton of cross over between styles with the percentage and mix (including the Panaktukan fisticuffs and Dumog wrasslin') of elements being individual to each school and even each master within some of the schools.
The rando continuity weirdness is all part of FMA's own special flavor IMHO. It makes the general culture of the art very colorful. Tons of variety with new things to learn at every school and enough in comon between them that you can visit other groups and get right in the groove.
Last edited by Mr. Machette; 6/04/2013 12:24am at .
This is about as good as you get. Nobody really knows.
Originally Posted by Mr. Machette
Kali- Short blade, knife or short sword. It's debatable whether this term was actually used in ancient times. Numerous researchers have tried to trace this term, but just get blinking eyes and silence when they mention it to the vast majority of old timers in the Philippines. Dan Inosanto's source seems to be what really encouraged the use of this term. It's not been verified by many older individuals or manuscripts, but the term has been adopted by many to better describe their systems as traditional short-blade systems.
Escrima - Esgrima in spanish directly translates as fencing or sword fighting, indicating spanish influence. Sword and dagger often times. This is also represented as stick and dagger frequently. This term is much more popular in the U.S. due to Angel Cabales' use of the term, and he was one of the first to really start promoting the Filipino arts here in the states.
Arnis - Long stick or broadsword (Kampilan). Where this term came from is up for debate, but it is widely used by many old masters throughout the Philippines. Arnis tends to be the most broad and generic term for most Filipino stickfighting.
There is lots of crossover/hybridization, and regional specializations to pretty much all of the Filipino arts.
My teacher and Dan Inosanto have said this: its all just names, and they change over time, but they call it kali out of respect for what GM Largusa called the art he taught. I believe Sayoc kali, for example, was only referred to as Kali somewhat recently.
Practically speaking, the one useful thing the names do is help to differentiate when your teacher teaches a few different FMA styles. Mine teaches Villabrille/Largusa kali (KAA) and Cacoy Doce Pares. They use different angle systems etc. Both tend to use a 12 angle system but what number is what varies. For example, CDP #12 is a left lead right thrust to the guts, while KAA #12 is a right high line thrust to clavicle with left hand mirroring (or, with 2 weapons, a double high line thrust). So, when my teacher says to feed attacks 1-12, sometimes I have to clarify which one he means.