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Filipino Kali and stick fighting at Legacy Martial Arts

Kali is an ancient term used to signify the martial arts in the region of the Philippines. It emphasises weapon-based fighting with sticks, knives, bladed weapons and various improvised weapons, as well as “open hand” techniques without weapons.

Filipino stick fighting was entrenched in the island's culture long before the Spanish arrived in 1521. When the Spanish arrived, they saw a wavy-edged sword about 30 inches long made of wood called a “kalis.” During Spanish occupation, they forbade the practice of Kali. The Spaniards called the art Eskrima or Arnis.

Today there are said to be almost as many Filipino fighting styles as there are islands in the Philippines. In 1972, the Philippine government included Filipino martial arts into the national sports arena. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports also incorporated them into the physical education curriculum for high school and college students.

Stick fighting

Our academy has produced some of the finest European stick fighters over the last 30 years. Our very own instructor, Carl Jackson, represented Great Britain for 12 consecutive years in full contact stick fighting (Kali/ Escrima/ Arnis). He fought throughout Europe and as far afield as Mexico and Las Vegas, amassing 16 British titles, 3 European titles and 6 world championship silvers.

Our founder Bob Breen is one of the foremost experts in knife-defence and close quarter combat, and was the team captain and a competitor at the 1989 World Stickfighting Championships, and coach of the British Eskrima team that won 13 World Championship medals, including four gold medals in 1992.


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