Frequently Asked Questions
I've never studied any martial art. Will I be able to study
Filipino Martial Arts?
You don't need to have prior experience studying another martial art. What we do require is the willingness to learn and seriously train, and the good moral foundation to guide the skills that will be learned.
What can I expect during my first class at Kali Manila?
All beginners are required to go through the Beginners Program. This introductory course is intended to teach the basic strikes and footwork. The goal is for the new student to gain an understanding of the basic skill before joining the rest of the club for technical training. The basics skills will gradually be sharpened into functional skills and instincts as the student trains in the regular class. Progress of the student in training is completely up to him or her; instead of providing ranks or belt to designate progress, we believe that the student has to judge himself or herself against his or her peers by making their own personal, honest and unbiased assessment of the skills learned.
What do I have to wear when I start training? Do I need to
buy a uniform?
We don't use uniforms in our organization. We don't even have belts or any indicator of rank or seniority. We train in regular exercise clothing such as t-shirts, shorts, trainers, etc. We do have a club shirt that most of our members use in class, which is as close as we have to a "uniform".
What do I need to bring for my first day of training?
Nothing much, just bring enough drinking water for strenuous training. We can provide the training weapons for beginners.
Are classes conducted in English or Filipino?
If the class has foreign students, English is used throughout the class. If the class does not have any foreign students, Filipino and English is used.
Do you have knife fighting classes, or sessions specifically
for training with knives?
We do knife training as part of regular classes. Stick practice - and the body movement and the understanding of angles of attack that it teaches the student - is the basis of all weapon and even non-weapon training in Filipino Martial Arts. So in a sense we are always doing knife training. When we do conduct knife-specific training, it is limited to only intermediate and advanced students.
What's the point of training to use a weapon? I don't have a
stick with me all the time.
Having a weapon - matched with the skills to utilize it to the fullest - always gives the defender a crucial advantage over an empty-handed attacker. Against an armed attack, having a weapon will improve the odds for the otherwise empty-handed defender.
In Filipino Martial Arts, the stick represents a long bladed weapon like a bolo or machete. The stick can easily be replaced by anything at hand, regardless of its length or shape. So you don't just train to just use a stick or a knife; you train to use anything at hand as an improvised weapon.
We are almost always surrounded by potential weapons or you already have one on you. Ashtrays, cellphones, pens, books and just about anything you can grab and use can be a weapon. Filipino Martial Arts weapons training is directly applicable to anything you can pick up and use as a potential weapon. The mentality of seeing everything as having the characteristics of a potential weapon, and yet having skills to defend yourself empty-handed if needed, is a major advantage in a self-defense situation.
Unlike other martial arts systems where empty-handed skills are taught before weapons, the Filipino Martial Arts trains with weapons first and uses movement, speed, reflexes, instincts and other attributes to lead to empty-handed skills.
We believe that the most important component in a self-defense situation is the individual and his or her determination to survive. This is why we often say that a student of the Filipino Martial Arts is training to BE a weapon, rather than be completely dependent on having one at hand.
So the Filipino Martial Arts are not only
Yes. What we teach has its own empty hand subsystem, based on the same body movement developed with weapons training.
Do you accept requests for classes focusing on knife
Why should I train to use knives? I have no intention of
carrying one anyway.
A vast majority of armed robberies and assaults in the Philippines involve the use of an edged weapon. Knife training is meant to give the student a realistic, instinctive and thorough understanding of how a knife is used.
The chance of surviving empty-handed against a vicious knife attack is already slim; knowledge and experience with how the weapon is used is essential if one even hopes to survive such an attack. You cannot defend against a weapon or type of attack if you haven't experienced using it yourself. The Filipino Martial Arts are well known for teaching realistic and practical weapon skills and our particular emphasis is on edged weapons.
I've never heard of Filipino Martial Arts. Why is that?
Arnis, Escrima and Kali aka Filipino Martial Arts have always had an excellent reputation for being realistic and practical, making them a staple of police and military training here and abroad. Compared with most other martial arts, FMA in general remains very closely linked to realistic combat.
Ironically, the effectiveness of FMA has been largely ignored or unappreciated by Filipinos over the years in favor of foreign martial arts. Nowadays foreigners are more aware and appreciative of FMA than most Filipinos. The fact that FMA are well rounded fighting systems - beyond being simply about stick fighting - is even less understood by Filipinos.
However, the popularity of FMA is picking up, due to its use in numerous movies. Elements of FMA have been used in films for years, from Bruce Lee's "Enter The Dragon" to the Bourne series. Filipino Martial Arts was also used in "Repo Men","Blade II","Book of Eli","300" (as the fighting style of the Spartans), "Ultraviolet", "Daredevil", "Chronicles of Riddick", "Equilibrium" and "Matrix: Reloaded".
Despite FMA's increasing use in movies, it is often mistaken for other martial arts styles by the the general public. A good example is the common misconception that Krav Maga was used in the fight scenes of the Bourne movies. Actually, FMA was used as the fighting system used by the Jason Bourne character in all three movies. Matt Damon describes his FMA training in the DVD special features of one of the movies. Jeff Imada, a well known FMA teacher and student of Dan Inosanto, was the fight choregrapher of the Bourne series.
The Internet has helped a lot with making Filipinos more aware of their rich martial heritage, providing valuable information on local FMA groups, making the systems easier to find.