The Philippines is the origin of the escrima sticks, they introduced a Martial Art called Arnis which is based on the implementation of 2 sticks each approx 76cm long (escrima) and was generally used in the fighting systems during internal conflict. Although this art form was very cultural it spread out to other countries such as Hawaii and California by Filipino migrant workers in the 1920′s, but still managed to stay within the Filipino communities. The cultural bond was broken in the 1960′s when some took it upon themselves to start teaching the style to others.
Arnis is different to many other fighting arts in the way that beginners must learn to fight using weapons first and only when they have mastered that do they learn to fight unarmed. Most styles work in reverse order to this but we believe that the reason for weapons training first is because tribal warriors would initially enter combat with weapons, then only fight bare handed if they became unarmed. Arnis practitioners use 2 weapons so that both hands are in use, but their style is very interesting where they don’t strike to the same area with both weapons at the same time, each aims for individual targets. The logic behind this is to train each limb independently making them ambidextrous, a very useful skill in the fighting arts!
Modern Arnis was founded by a Master Remy Presas (Remgio Amador Presas) from Hinigaran, Philippines. He studied traditional Arnis from a very young age of 6 with his father, then as he reached his youth decided to travel across the Philippines to learn several other styles. The main studies were Japanese Martial Arts styles such as Shotokan Karate and Judo. Remy took the best of what he had learned and combined it into one style, in 1966 Modern Arnis was developed. His primary reason for creating this new system was to save the Filipino Martial Arts. Other styles were becoming more popular due to higher interest in unarmed self defence systems. Modern Arnis therefore includes alot more striking, throwing and locking techniques to that of the traditional Arnis.
Unfortunately it was a sad loss when Remy passed away in 2001 with a severe cancer of the brain. Many students still teach his style around the globe today. Presas formed the International Modern Arnis Federation (IMAF) in 1970 so if you want to know more please Click Here