Archive for March, 2014

Filipino Martial Arts: A History

A History of the Terms

Arnis, Eskrima (or Escrima), Kali, Pangamot, Panandata, Kalirongan, Didya, Kabaraon, Pagkalikali, Sinawali, Kaliradman, Pagaradman, Estokada, Estoque, Fraile, Armas de Mano or Arnis de Mano.

These words all mean one thing: Filipino Martial Arts.

Why so many names? The Philippine Archipelago has 7,107 islands, although only about 2,000 of them are inhabited, there’s still a lot of different dialects to contend with.

Among all these names, however, Filipino Martial Arts is most known by three: Arnis, Eskrima and Kali.


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There are three major regions in the Philippines: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Luzon occupies the whole northern portion of the country and in this region, Filipino Martial Arts is more commonly known as Arnis. The southern portion of the country is shared by the regions of Visayas and Mindanao, and both commonly call the martial art “Escrima.”


The Philippines

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The Philippines was under Spain’s rule for 333 years, so many of the terms in various Philippine dialects will reflect Spanish influence.  “Arnis”, for example, comes from the Spanish “Arnes”, which is a term that means armor.  “Eskrima” on the other hand comes from the term “Esgrima”, which is the Spanish sport of fencing.

The word “Kali” refers to an old broad sword from the Indo-Malay region, which was commonly used in the martial art before the Spanish rule.


Lapu-Lapu: The “First” Filipino Martial Artist

The exact origin of Kali/Eskrima/Arnis is unknown, but what we are sure of is that the martial art was first exposed to the world by Lapu-Lapu, the Philippines’ first hero.

Lapu-Lapu was one of the two chieftains of Mactan at the time when the Spanish conquistadors, led by the Portugese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, first arrived in the Philippines.


Lapu-Lapu’s monument in Cebu,

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Rajah Humabon, who ruled the entire sultanate of Cebu had immediately converted to Christianity and pledged his allegiance to Spain. Lapu-Lapu refused to pay tribute and bow down to Spanish rule. With Rajah Humabon’s encouragement, Magellan decided to make an example of Lapulapu.


Ferdinand Magellan

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On April 27, 1521, Magellan took sixty of his men and twenty to thirty war boats full of Humabon’s warriors to Mactan. He demanded that Lapu-Lapu swear fealty to Rajah Humabon and pledge allegiance to the Spanish King.

Despite the imminent threat, Lapu-Lapu refused Magellan’s offer. When dawn broke over the shores of Mactan, he and his 1,500 warriors, armed with iron swords, bows and bamboo spears faced Magellan and Humabon’s combined forces.

Lapu-Lapu was known as the foremost master of “Pangamut” (the old term for Filipino Martial Arts), and he had trained his men for the eventuality of a battle. Magellan and his army were not prepared for the fierceness of Lapu-Lapu’s men, or their skill with weapons. They eventually retreat, but not before many of the men were killed, including Magellan himself.


The Battle of Mactan

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How Stick-Fighting Evolved

When the Spanish eventually conquered the Philippines, they banned the practice of Kali, for fear that the Filipinos might use their skills and turn against them.  As the 19th century approached, Filipinos were able to circumvent the ban and practice the art again, by disguising it as part of stage plays called “Moro-Moro” and other native dances. In order to avoid suspicion, they used wood training pieces called “bahi” or bamboo sticks of “rattan” to practice their moves. The only time the martial artists were able to even hold a sword, was during the finale of the Moro-Moro plays—which were often performed for the Spaniard’s enjoyment.

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Moro-Moro Plays

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Because they would go up against the Spaniard’s sharp swords and daggers, Kali practitioners learned to develop speed, agility and accuracy. They developed ways to strike nerve centers along the body and limbs they could easily disarm and disable any opponent using a flurry of attacks.

Many training methods were altered and new concepts and techniques adapted due to the influence of the Spanish culture and language. The Spanish sword and dagger were incorporated into the martial arts and certain concepts were given Spanish terms. Kali became more widely known as Arnis or Eskrima.

Eskrima became the popular name for the martial arts when the first Arnis organization was established in Cebu City during the early American rule. The Labangon Fencing Club used the term “Eskrima” for the art, and even after the group was dissolved in 1931, the term stuck.

In 1932, The Doce Pares Association was founded by the leading martial arts masters, and became the force that drove the martial art to evolve into the competitive sport it now is today. The curriculum they developed and the sparring rules and regulations they set became widely accepted by Arnis schools and organizations throughout the country.

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The Founders of Doce Pares

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In 1989, the World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (WEKAF) established itself as the international governing body for the sport, and has helped in the study and promotion of Filipino Martial Arts. Today WEKAF has a presence in more than thirty countries, and the followers and practitioners of the sport continue to spread the word about it.


Filipino Martial Arts is young compared to other Eastern martial arts, but it is already widely used in military training of different countries, as well as in Hollywood fight choreography.




History of the Filipino Martial Arts


Filipino Martial Art

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Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Karen Lange



Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Karen Lange, author of Home School Co-ops 101 and blog mistress at Write Now.

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Welcome, Karen!


Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

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Author Karen Lange

 Thank you for inviting me to stop by, Nutschell!  I am a wife, mom, and grandma. My husband and I have two sons, a daughter, a daughter in law, and a very smart and handsome 6-year-old grandson. (I might be a little biased about my grandson. :)


In addition to writing and blogging, I am the bookkeeper for the carpentry business my husband and oldest son own.  I also teach online writing classes for adults at the Coffeehouse for Writers and for homeschooled teens in the Homeschool Online Creative Writing Co-op.



On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I do most of my writing on my laptop at my desk.  I find I get the most work done in the quiet of my office.

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Karen’s workspace


2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

My desk is a large, old secretary’s desk that someone was throwing away. My husband rescued and refinished it for me.  The laptop takes center stage, and I have a bookshelf made by my husband and a printer sitting across the back of the desk. There are stacks of current projects and bills on one side. I call it organized chaos.  Most times I can find what I need. :)

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Bookshelf made by Karen’s husband


3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

For writing, my laptop is important, but I also have family photos on surrounding shelves. These remind me what’s important when I get stressed.


4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

I like that I have a room to call my own, where I can spread things out and shut the door when necessary.


5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

I drink water and unsweetened iced tea. Occasionally I drink Diet Coke, but I’m trying to cut back on that.

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

Oh, I have many favorites! Jane Austen and L.M. Montgomery top the list, and then I love the work of current authors like James Scott Bell, Cathy Gohlke, Jody Hedlund, and Julie Klassen. There are so many wonderful ones out there, you know?

There isn’t any one person who inspired me to write, but my Mom was always a great cheerleader for most anything I did. I remember her telling me I was a good writer; I still smile when I think of her encouraging words.


2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

In the mornings, I do household stuff like laundry, run errands, exercise, and answer emails. I usually write, do bookkeeping, and work on any online classes I have going in the afternoons and evenings. I don’t have any rituals or quirks, that I know of anyway, but I make sure I have water, a snack, and my cell phone handy. My best trick for actually getting things done is to ignore the internet. I get too distracted otherwise.


3.  Do you write everyday?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I try to write everyday but it doesn’t always happen. It depends if I have a deadline pending, or need to do a blog post or something like that. I am however, writing in my head almost all the time. Does that count?


4. Why do you write?

A writing mentor and friend once said that she wrote because it gave her joy. I have to agree! I love to write and I enjoy communicating this way. My desire is that my words would help others in some way, no matter what I write about.


5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

One thing I’ve learned over the years is the importance of self editing. One of my favorite tools for this is to read my work aloud. It really helps help find errors and rough spots.

As far as quotes go, I like what author Ann Gabhart said in a blog interview a few years ago. “Rejection is not fatal,” she said. It made me laugh at first, and the more I thought about it, it made so much sense. It isn’t fatal, and we have two choices when our work is rejected. We can wallow in self-pity and doubt, or we can move ahead, learning and improving.

Thanks so much for sharing your space with me today. It’s been a pleasure!



Karen Lange is the author of Homeschool Co-ops 101. She and her family were active in homeschool  activities during their sixteen-year journey. Her three children have since graduated, and she is now a freelance writer and online writing instructor for adults and homeschooled teens. Connect on Karen’s  Blog, on Twitter, and Facebook.


Homeschool Co-ops 101 is available on Amazon:



Twitter: KLELange



Homeschool Online Creative Writing Co-op for Teens:








Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Karen!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.




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Dragon Loyalty Award & Martial Arts Month

I’m starting off the 3rd month of the year with a blog award from bloggy buddy C. Lee McKenzie, who gifted me with the Dragon Loyalty Award last February 24th. Thanks Lee!




Here are the rules:

  1. Display the Award on your Blog.
  2. Announce your win with a post and thank the Blogger who awarded you.
  3. Present 15 deserving Bloggers with the Award
  4. Link your awardees in the post and let them know of their being awarded.
  5. Write seven interesting things about you.


And the nominees are:

I know the rules said 15, but I added one more since I’ve decided to nominate my amazing Write On buddies. I’ve been horribly absent from the discussion on your Facebook page, but I do read the progress reports every now and then and marvel at your writing achievements. You are all amazing sources of inspiration and I hope I can be consistent and updating my writing accomplishments as well. I cannot find a better bunch of people, who are loyal to their writing dreams!

To you, wonderful writers and bloggy buddies, I bequeath the Dragon Loyalty Award.

  1. Theresa Milstein
  2. Lydia Kang
  3. Rachel Morgan
  4. Pk Hrezo
  5. Robyn Campbell
  6. Sharon Mayhew
  7. Ann Ormond Fennell
  8. Crystal Collier
  9. Lynn Kelley
  10. Nicole Zoltack
  11. Sheri Larsen
  12. Susan Oloier 
  13. Sigal Wilnai Tzoore
  14. Martina Boone
  15. Carole Lindstrom
  16. Jackee Alston


7 interesting things about me:

  1. I come from a family of “gifted” people. My eldest aunt could read the future through cards and she’s passed on the gift to her eldest daughter Zamm, who is currently a professional Tarot Card Reader. My second eldest aunt can read palms and interpret dreams. My mom, the 3rd sister, has very good intuition and can see spirits. Their 4th sister can talk to spirits (actually she often can’t distinguish between spirits and live people because they appear so clearly to her.) Their two brothers have what charisma so strong they can convince you to do anything. The youngest sibling in the family is a bit of a healer.
  2. Yep, you guessed it. I have a “gift” as well. I can actually read people’s personalities, even if I’ve just met them for the first time.
  3. I started learning martial arts 3 years ago as a way to inspire my writing, but I continued on because I fell in love with the sport. I currently hold a Brown 1 Belt in Escrima or Filipino Martial Arts, which means I have two more belts before I can finally test for a Black Belt.
  4. I can play the drums and the guitar. Not as well as I’d like, but enough to produce decent melodies every now and then.
  5. I do love sketching/drawing, and if I had the time, I would explore this interest more
  6. I love photography and hope to take formal lessons one day.
  7. I can bake some mean desserts. Back when I had the time, family members and friends would order boxes of cookies and pans of Filipino flan to give as Christmas presents.


Congrats to all you bloggy buddies for picking up the award! And no worries about participating if you’re busy. I just thought this award was the perfect opportunity to give you gals a token of appreciation. J

Well that was fun!

And a Dragon award is a great way to start of my Martial Arts Month!


Martial Arts Month

You might recall my post on Filipino Martial Arts last February.

In that post, I mentioned how it falls upon Filipino Martial Artists to promote the art. So in line with this realization, I’ve decided to make March my Martial Arts month.

This whole month, I’m going to write posts about the Filipino Martial Art in particular. You’ll learn a little history, some trivia and a maybe some good self-defense moves as well. I hope you can join me for my Martial Arts March Madness this month. Hiyaaaa!


master erwin


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