Escrimador, Arnisador,...?


Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Aug 28, 2001
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Terre Haute, IN
Are there terms similar to escrimador for escrima practitioners or arnisador for arnis practitioners that are used by kali practitioners, sikaran players, and similar FMA?
The terms Arnisador and Escrimador are Tagalog (Spanish Influence). Since Kali was developed before the Spanish occupation, I doubt that there is a term like Kalisador or something to that effect. There may be a Visayan term for a Kali practitioner, but i don't know it.
A term the could be used is kalista. However since kali is not used in the Phil. (other than to market arts to americans) you wouldn't hear it used there.

Black Grass
However since kali is not used in the Phil. (other than to market arts to americans) you wouldn't hear it used there.

You are right Black Grass, the word "kali" is not used in the Philippines. There is a misconception that kali is the mother art of FMA. That is not the case! If kali is the mother art of FMA, then the word kali would be widely used. I speak Tagalog and Bisaya but the word kali does not ring a bell.
A book that does a good job of covering the misconception that kali is the 'mother art' of arnis and escrima is Mark Wiley's Arnis. It is actually a collection of essays on the Filipino martial arts by various people, with many of the essays covering this very topic.

I assume you mean this book:

Arnis: History and Development of the Filipino Martial Arts, by Mark V. Wiley

I had heard that it wasn't so good and so haven't bought it. I do have several other of his books. Are you recommending this one?
That book is not very good as far as being instructional or informative on technique. It is more a collection of essays (opinions) from practioners of the arts. I probably wouldn't buy it for myself, but its an intresting read. (I borrowed it from Cthulhu).
Yep, that's the one, arnisador. Arnisandyz is correct in that there really isn't anything in the book regarding technique. It's more of a collection of research essays. As a fellow bibliophile, I think you'll probably like it.

Originally posted by Cthulhu

As a fellow bibliophile, I think you'll probably like it.

Thanks for the comments arnisandyz and Cthulhu . I'll probably pick it up then!
If the name Kali isn't used in the Phillipines than where did it come from? I had simply assumed that Kali meant war (like the goddes of death) but my instructor told me it did not, I forget what he told me it translated as.. But the real question is, "is there any diffrence between kali,arnis,eskrima?". I havn't practiced any art with "Arnis" or "Eskrima" in the name (and havn't practiced kali very long) but I have seen Arnis and Eskrima practiced and it all pritty much looks alike, I mean there are some small diffrences in tactics from style to style but I have seen more diffrence just form instructor to instructor and student to student, the foot work is pritty much all the same and the angles though numbered diffrent are pritty simular.. So what's the diffrence between say Pananandata and Petiki-Tersia(sp) (besides the minor diffrence in range prefference)?
I believe Kali has something to do with India, or Hinduism, but I may be mistaken.
Kali is a hindu goddess

according to Dan Inosanto, ka-li is a contraction of 2 words. filipinos are fond of contracting words. i do not remember exactly the words, but i think it's kamut and lihouk which translates to hand - motion. meaning kali is about motion. i forget the word for foot, i believe it also starts with "ka" and kali could mean foot motion.

on the net, i've read a few of the arguments re: "kali" explaining it and denying it on the origin of the term. i do not know concretely and have not researched this personally, i'm only offering an explanation of the term.

FWIW, Floro Villabrille and Ben Largusa use the term kali.

i've seen a recent post on the diff 'tween A, K and E:

"kali - is the mother art that has empty hands/grappling/whips/ ect.

escrima - has all weapons but not the empty hands stuff

arnis - is just impact and edged weapons "

According to some sources, kali is a corruption/contraction of the work kalis, which is in reference to a blade or knife. This may explain in part why many think of kali as a 'blade art'.

Also, a lot of Filipino systems underwent a name change when they got to the West. For instance, I believe it was in as essay in Wiley's book, Arnis, that the claim was made that Pekiti-Tirsia Kali was originally Pekiti-Tirsia Arnis. The name was changed partly to draw in uneducated Westerners seeking the so-called 'parent' or 'mother' FMA of kali.

I doubt there'll ever be a definitive answer, unless some researcher happens to stumble on some 'Rosetta Stone' for the FMA that clearly delineates kali's place in the FMA.


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