The arts of the Philippines are often referred to with three different terms that all mean the same thing. Kali is the traditional Tagalog word for blade. Arnis is Spanish for fencing or sword fighting and Eskrima is Portugese for fight or skirmish. Arts of the Philippines will also be referred to by the region in which they are learned. Kali/Arnis/Eskrima are the oldest know forms of self defense on the 7,100 islands of the Philippines.
The explorer Magellan was killed on the island of Mactan by Lapu Lapu,King of Mactan, who was defending his homeland and was a skilled Kali warrior. For 54 years thereafter, no Spaniard set foot on Philippine soil. Filipino martial arts training traditionally starts with weapons then transitions into shorter weapons and so on to empty hands. The reason for this is of a historical and practical nature given the environment of the Philippine Islands. Throughout the Philippine history, unending wars between rival tribes and invasions from foreign aggressors have imposed the need for combat readiness. Survival did not depend on the strongest, but the smartest.
Man used whatever it could to secure the advantage and to fend off and protect themselves against animals and other aggressors. This could have meant throwing an object, using a tree branch, and perhaps poking at their enemy with a sharp object. The weapon was used to equalize the differences of strength, speed and aggression between man and other enemies. Students at Blue Ridge Kung-Fu Arnis Academy learn “SASAMBA”.
This system was founded by Grandmaster Rick Ward after his many years of training with Late Grandmaster Remy Presas and Tuhon Gaudiosa Ruby “Queen of the Filipino Martial Arts” among others. He combined the most effective principles of Modern Arnis, Traditional Arnis and Kali with his knowledge of jujitsu, Chin-Na, and Sil Lum Kung-Fu. The result is a well rounded approach using joint locking, takedowns, and low kicks in addition to stick fighting. The Arnis stick techniques are applicable to sword, knife, or empty handed fighting. Grandmaster Rick Ward also holds the title of Tuhon or king which was given to him by Tuhon Ruby.