Why should I learn Eskrima?

  • You learn practical self-defence. 
  • Your upper body, arms and legs will become toned
  • You will increase your fitness and aerobic capacity
  • Parts of your body, such as your forearms, elbows and hands will benefit from conditioning, making them more resistant to pain and injury.
  • You will become more flexible.
  • You will benefit from increased manual dexterity and co-ordination. This is derived from performing exercises with two weapons and weapons of different sizes. You will probably become partially ambidextrous.
  • You will be able use any weapon , even one you have not used before.
  • It complements and enhances any martial art. It can be learnt independently from other martial arts or grafted seamlessly into any form of exercise you do already.
  • Many of the techniques do not require strength or power, since most of the power is derived from body movement and economy of motion.
  • Because there is no need for strength, anyone can learn Eskrima. 12 year old children can learn Eskrima as well as retired women (The Black Eagle Eskrima Grandmaster is 76 at the time of writing, and is still in formidable shape).
  • It is a complete system of martial arts, training you in striking (punching, kicking,etc.), wrestling, all forms of weaponry, and even groundfighting.
  • It can be practiced anywhere. Eskrima can be practiced in a park as well as it's practiced in a gym.
  • It is fun. Because it requires a training partner to practice, it is a great way to meet people.

 

But why Eskrima? Why not another martial art?

  • Eskrima is a complete martial art. It does not focus exclusively on unarmed self-defence techniques (like for example, Tae Kwon Do, Judo, or Muay Thai) nor does it focus exclusively on weaponry. Students are learn to interchange weaponry depending on its availability so they can fight just as well with a weapon or without it. It covers all the ranges of combat. For example Wing Chun specialises in the close range techniques, while Tae Kwon do, specialises in kicking techniques. Eskrima trains the student to fight at long range (with feet), medium range (hands and feet), and close range (elbows and knees). It also utilises wrestling techniques, wrenches, takedowns, sweeps, throws  and pressure point strikes. 
  • There are little or no forms (or kata). Due to its combat effectiveness, there is little need to practice solo or routine exercises, since these do not train the student in anything relevant. All drills and exercises are partnered to maximise the learning benefits to the students.
  • Students of Eskrima learn to use weaponry first. Most other martial arts teach weaponry only to the most senior students when they have reached a high level of proficiency in their art. However, weaponry learnt this way is never related to empty hand applications and students are taught specific techniques, rather than teaching integrated principles. The benefits of learning weaponry first is that it increases the co-ordination tenfold for empty hand applications (after all, weapons are merely extensions of the limbs).
  • Students are taught sparring from the start. No time is wasted learning intricate footwork, or stances. The student is taught to spar at short range, long range, grappling range, and with a variety of weapons. Eskrima is probably one of the only martial arts where sparring against multiple opponents is successfully trained.
  • Eskrima does not over-emphasise one part of the system. Fighting with empty hands is automatically acquired after training with weapons. Students can also fight with weapons of different size, weight and shapes without any hindrance.
  • Eskrima is a mixture of hard and soft styles. Styles such as Karate are all hard, while many Chinese styles such as Tai Chi Ch'uan are soft. This mixture of hard and soft styles Eskrima produces a martial art which can be seamlessly integrated into any other martial art without any problems. Many boxers find it hard to use their techniques in Aikido, while someone who practises Karate will find it hard to blend his art with Chi na. 
  • Eskrima is often taught outdoors, with shoes, since this is an ideal streetfighting setting. No special uniform is needed, and it is a relatively inexpensive art to practice. All one needs to start Eskrima (save for a good instructor), is a broom handle, or a lead pipe and the clothes on his back.
  • Eskrima is the only art to be traditionally not practiced in a class format. Although today, this has changed, for obvious reasons, it was traditionally taught one on one, which is why Eskrima students learn so much faster than say a Jiu-Jitsu student who learns in a class of 30 people.
  • Many techniques in Eskrima are lethal and fatal. Not many restraining techniques are taught since the art is grounded in mortal combat. Spirituality and martial virtue is attained independently by the students and not taught as part of the curriculum.
  • Eskrima and most Filipino martial arts have not been bastardised like many other traditional arts*. There are no official rankings in Eskrima, Arnis, Kali or most Filipino martial arts. Be warned of someone who touts an eigth degree black belt in Eskrima. Titles such as Guro, Tuhon, Grandmaster, Instructor,etc.  are utilised however to rank the seniority of the instructor. You will never find someone who says they have a green belt in Eskrima.

 

* Note: The first exception and probably not the last, is Remy Presas' modern Arnis style, when after leaving Cebu, Remy saw the decline in popularity of Eskrima abroad and so adopted the belts and uniforms, not unlike Karate and taekwon-do schools. These were some of the marketing tools used to increase the popularity of Filipino martial arts abroad once more.

 

But if it's so good, why doesn't everyone use it!

Please read Who uses it? to see which organisations, institutions and influential people train in or have trained in Eskrima, Arnis or the Filipino martial arts.

 


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