Latest Info – What is Kali Martial Arts?

What is Kali Martial Arts?

The goal of martial arts is not for the destruction of an opponent but for self-growth and self-protection. What is Kali martial arts? Keep on reading to know more about it.

Kali martial arts are the arts of stick fighting using hard bamboo sticks to defend and strike. This Filipino Kali art teaches fighting with weapons before bare hand-to-hand combat.

Martial Arts fighter

Is Kali Martial Arts Good for Self-Defense?

In this section, you will learn if Kali martial arts are suitable for self-defense and its history. Keep on reading to learn more.

What is Kali?

Kali is one of the several terms used to describe martial arts. The other two terms are arnis and escrima, umbrella terms for what today is known as the national martial arts of the Philippines.

Generally, arnis and escrima are interchangeable terms for all the traditional Filipino martial arts, which focus on Kali stick fighting, Filipino knife fighting, and various improvised weapons. Kali martial arts also involves techniques without firearms, which deals with specific fighting combinations.

The term arnis comes from the old Spanish word for “armor.”On the other hand, the term escrima is a villainization of the Spanish word for fencing.

Now that you have learned about Kali continue reading to understand whether Kali self-defense is reasonable or not.

However, Kali is like almost every martial arts, suitable for self-defense, and will undoubtedly help you improve that aspect; it is not one of the best available martial arts to choose from, but it has a few benefits.

The first benefit is that it is good when it comes to coordination; the technique demands anticipation shots from many angles; this makes Kali better than boxing, whose punches only go in a particular direction.

The other main benefit of Kali is that it will prepare you to defend against weapons. In one way or another, Kali self-defense is very similar to Wing Chun but without certain specific elements.

Whether you use one or two weapons, you will always use both hands in Kali martial arts, preparing you for many potential situations better than other martial arts.

The History of Kali

It is challenging to trace the origin of almost any martial arts style because the written documents frequently fail to follow their beginning. In this instance, the Kali account has no difference. However, there is a general belief that various tribes started the ancient Filipino styles associated with it to defend themselves.

It is also possible that other areas like India influenced these Filipino styles’ origin. The documentation indicates that the Kali fighting style was essential when the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the 1500s. As with many Kali martial arts styles, which later hid the old practice of Kali or Eskrima from the Spaniards.

Without a doubt, the rivalry in the Philippines has helped the practitioners of Kali martial arts to identify what would work for them in their arts and discard much of what did not. As a result of expansions in systems, learning has become more accessible in recent years. 

During the second world war, several American special operations groups in the Philippines decided to introduce Filipino martial arts, leading to this style. Even though the natives were reluctant to allow outsiders into their fighting secrets, these Filipino arts could reach Americans who went there on work assignments.

Recently, Kali martial arts practitioners in the Philippines have become somewhat focused on fighting without protection. Many of them lost their lives in the early stages of the movement, but in the most recent, practitioners have begun to use hardwood sticks instead of knives to prevent many deaths.

Furthermore, the practice is now against the law in Filipino society, even if finding matches in parks and rural areas is not unusual.

How Does Kali Training Look Like?

Kali martial arts are not just one style; many share some characteristics. These methods involve hand-to-hand combat, joint locks, and weapon disarming techniques.

Although weapons are generally the center of these Kali martial arts, certain forms emphasize empty hands, while some old school systems do not even teach weapons.

When Kali students start their training, they learn to fight with weapons and only improve on empty-hand training, which could take some time.

Kali martial arts are in contrast to the many other martial arts that are well known. Still, they justify the idea that muscle memory is a crucial component of instruction because one learns naturally through bare hands when doing the same exercises as weapon techniques.

Additionally, Kali martial art training prepares students to defend themselves against attackers who use weapons by relying on the apparent truth that those who have skills have an advantage over unskilled students.

Motion grouping applies a single set of methods for the stick, empty hands, and knife in several Kali schools. Motion grouping uses the same footwork and angles; whether the weapon is present or not, it is nothing more than the extension of the body.

Many schools start their training with two weapons, usually a wooden knife or a pair of sticks. For example, one of the sticks may strike the head while the other is for the arm in these ambidextrous techniques emphasizing having both hands full and never moving them in the same direction. 

Such exercises foster the autonomous use of both limbs, a specific ability whose benefit is obvious.

Before proceeding, you first need to know the core concept and distinct features of Filipino martial arts-the so-called Live hand.

Even if a practitioner only decides to carry one weapon, he will still use the extra hand to control, trap, or disarm an opponent’s weapon. It also assists with blocking, joint locking, opponent manipulation, or other simultaneous movements like tearing the biceps with the live hand.

Martial Arts fighters

The Pros of Kali

There are hundreds of martial arts and styles worldwide, but they have some things in common. Keep on scrolling down this article to learn the physical, mental and social benefits you can acquire from training in martial arts.

Physical Benefits

  1. Cardiovascular fitness; extremely intense exercise enhances cardiovascular health as the effort level increases. The more oxygen your muscles require to function, the better blood vessel circulation, resulting in much better cardiovascular health.
  2. Weight loss and muscle gain; training Kali martial arts will give you a complete body transformation if you are persistent, meaning you burn many calories quickly and gain muscle. If you want to get in shape fast, there is no better way than starting martial arts training.
  3. Balance; training Kali martial arts will improve your body balance and control. You learn how to use your body differently as you prepare, improving your overall balance, stability, and coordination.
  4. Flexibility; martial arts require a specific dose of flexibility. Some will need more and some less, but your flexibility will improve no matter what martial arts you choose. This training requires a lot of stretching to avoid injuries.
  5. Agility and reflexes; martial arts increase your agility, quickness, and mobility. Probably before you even develop basic techniques. As you train, the reflexes evolve as you get used to remaining in stressful situations, such as hand-to-hand combat and sparring.

Mental Benefits

  1. Peace and calmness of mind; these arts aim to achieve peace of mind in which trainers emphasize meditation and spirituality during training and learning how to remain calm and peaceful in the most stressful situations.
  2. Memory improvement; martial arts play a significant role in improving your memory. As the neural synapses and pathways grow stronger with each repetition of a particular exercise, you will need to use your memory to effectively combine the elements into a fluid movement.
  3. Stress relief; training in combat sports can help you reduce stress levels by a large margin. When working out, you get to let out the negative energy in the gym, punching a bag, doing physical exercise, or simply getting your mind at peace.
  4. Confidence and self-esteem boost; practicing martial arts can change your heartbeat if you lack confidence. It will also give you a new skill to help you defend yourself in threatening situations.
  5. Increase in focus; martial arts helps in increasing the ability to focus. You will learn to stay in the game without drifting away and perform with stress, even in stressful situations.

Social Benefits

  1. Awareness boost; martial arts can help you develop a mental presence in social situations. You will better understand what to say, what to do, and what’s happening. When you train in martial arts, you are aware of your environment. It will translate to other aspects of your life, including family gatherings.
  2. Learning self-defense; if robbers attack you on the street, you will have a much higher chance of defending yourself effectively without damage if you know martial arts.
  3. Building character; many people lack confidence in expressing themselves in front of other people. Training martial arts can help build your character if you have self-esteem issues. You will get more confident about yourself, which will lead you to express your opinion more easily to others.
  4. Improving social skills; if you are not a social person by nature. You don’t need to talk much at the beginning. Many individual exercises will help you progress well with other practitioners while getting to know each other better.
  5. Agility and reflexes; martial arts increase your agility, quickness, and mobility. Probably before you even develop basic techniques. As you train, the reflexes evolve as you get used to remaining in stressful situations, such as hand-to-hand combat and sparring.

The Cons of Kali

In this section, you are going to learn about the cons or disadvantages of Kali.

The first disadvantage of martial arts is the potential injuries. Practicing these arts is a physically demanding activity that can lead to wear and tear on the body, impact sprain, breaks, or worse. It can mitigate most injuries by practicing safely with proper protection and awareness.

The second disadvantage is cost. Martial arts cost a lot of time and money. It can be rewarding, but it’s a trade. For some, it can be challenging to balance.

Kali doesn’t apply pressure at all. For self-defense, you have to apply pressure. You won’t perform at your highest potential if you don’t train under stress. You will relax because you are used to sparring with fake knives.

How Long Does it Take to Learn Kali Martial Arts?

There is no clear answer to this question, but it depends on how much you train, how fast you learn and how much you invest yourself in training. However, you can learn Kali basic moves in a month or two.

Additionally, Kali arts are so sophisticated; that you will need a lot of time to master all the details and movements. As time passes, the moves become more complex.

Keep reading to learn more about one of the methods that Kali uses.

What is Silat?

Pencak Silat is a variety of martial arts from Indonesia. Kajang Silat is one of many styles and varieties of martial arts that Indonesians practice. They utilize an umbrella to illustrate how there are many “Silat styles” and that each class has its own unique personality, flavor, and history.

Since the differences between Silat and other martial arts may be easily seen in terms of their armor, weapons, and techniques, what distinguishes it from other martial arts is its training method.

The concept of Pencak Silat does not categorize things into “good” and “bad,” nor does it demand perfect harmony or balance between the opposing forces. Instead, Pencak Silat believes that everything is from the energy that should direct through one’s body and mind to promote health and well-being.

Tips on How to Choose the Right Instructor

Choosing the best Silat instructor can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to the arts. If you are one of them, here are some of the tips to help you find the right online trainer:

  • The first tip is to learn more about your instructor: The best way to get more knowledge about your instructor is to watch their content on a video or take lessons with them. Always make sure you ask questions about their martial arts experience, background, and details about their training style and curriculum.
  • The second tip is the code of ethics: An ethical code of conduct should be available on your instructor’s website or social media accounts. This ethics explains to potential students how online schools run, what regulations they want students to follow, and how they handle difficult situations in the dojo.

If a teacher doesn’t want to share such information with you, it can be a sign that they are keeping something from their students and do not value them enough to publish it.

Ten Kali Martial Arts Facts

Below are the ten Kali martial arts facts to help you become the best martial artist:

  1. It doesn’t matter if you are a master or a beginner; learning the Filipino martial arts may revitalize your practice. Once you have established a solid foundation, you can learn many techniques using DVDs and books, but don’t ignore master-to-student instruction.
  2. The Filipino martial arts are reality-based self-defense and a great example of a complete MMA system.
  3. Training in Filipino weaponry goes much beyond just learning to use knives and sticks. You may use the techniques on just about anything, such as a cane, cellphone, umbrella, credit card, toothpick, or even a bottle of water in places where it is illegal to carry knives.
  4. Stick fighting is not just about using your weapon. To top that, you must use your adversary’s weapon against your opponent.
  5. Sticks are an extension of hands; without the hands, there can be no sticks. Practitioners of Filipino martial arts back that statement by doing stick fighting techniques with and without weapons.
  6. The Filipino martial arts teach weapons first, then empty-handed techniques. Filipino martial arts hand-to-hand combat techniques originate from principles that underlie the historical stick and sword movements.
  7. The world’s most complete and practical combat methods are in Filipino martial arts. These arts mean they can cover all distances where combat occurs. They are applicable because they don’t focus on fancy or complicated moves that are likely to fail under duress.
  8. The Filipino martial arts are the only ones that can complement any other fighting style; they don’t conflict with different types but strengthen them. These styles are; kicking arts,hand-based arts, pure self-defense arts, grappling, and throwing skills.
  9. Stick fighting is suitable and beneficial for everyone. Kids benefit from character training when they learn how to handle potentially dangerous weapons safely. In women, the art is perfect because even the most petite hands can hold a knife and wield it in a deadly fashion.
  10. Filipino martial arts assist you in putting your self-defense training together. Once you can determine whether an attack is coming from the inside or the outside, it concentrates on adaptable concepts rather than a different method for every situation.
Brazilian Jiu jitsu martial arts


With all the information in this article about Kali martial arts, you can conclude that understanding these arts requires knowledge through practice and perseverance. Be sure to look for the best instructors online who understand Kali martial arts well, rather than just teaching it as a side job or a marketing ploy.

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