A BRIEF HISTORY OF ARNIS
Arnis, as martial arts, originated and developed in the Philippine soil. This was practiced and mastered by early Filipinos for defense and self preservation. Later on during the Spanish regime in the Philippines Filipinos called it Arnis.
Historically, It was a derivation from the word “Arnes,” a colorful trappings on defensive armors used in Moro-Moro plays which were then a socio-religious plays depicting the victory of Christian Spaniards over the Muslims. The shows were used primarily as propaganda and also for entertainment. During that time, The Filipinos were prohibited by the Spanish regime to practice their martial arts so the staging of Moro-Moro gave the players a good excuse to practice their fighting art.
The Arnis system of fighting includes empty hands techniques which employ the flowing method of training like the tapi-tapi (Tapping) system to develop reflexes, sensitivity, timing, and good coordination. It also utilized kicking techniques but usually applied to the lower part of the body. Traditional Arnis is usually practiced in three forms of play. They are solo baston or single-stick in which a long stick or baston is used; the Espada y Daga or sword and dagger in which a long stick or sword and a wooden dagger are used; and the Sinawali, a native term applied because of its intricate movements of the two sticks resemble the weave of sawali (crisscross fashion), the bamboo split weave pattern used in walling and matting which was very common in Visayas Islands.