For today’s episode of DID YOU KNOW THAT? We are going to feature ARNIS, the official national sport and the martial art of the Philippines. It is also known as “Kali” or “Eskrima”. These two terms are used for the traditional martial art of the Philippines (“Filipino Martial Arts”, or “FMA”) that focuses on weapon-based fighting with knives, sticks, bladed weapons, and some improvised weapons. Arnis is a combat sport to defend oneself from attacks using hand-to-hand combat, grappling, and weapon disarming in weapon-based fights. source: https://sportsmatik.com/
Arnis is a sport that helps to develop hand-eye coordination which can result in enhanced athleticism and more efficient performance of daily functions. Arnis also develops quicker reflexes and reaction times which is important for self defense. Being able to react quickly helps to detect, block, or evade an attack.
In 2009, the government of the Philippines declared Arnis to be the martial art and national sport of the Philippines through Republic Act No. 9850 being recognized for its indigenousness to the country. As Filipinos frequently had to defend themselves against attackers from other countries as well as from other villages, it was necessary for them to hone their own effective and simple form of combat. Thus, Arnis was developed as a way of defending one’s life (and the lives of one’s family members) when attacked. (various sources)
YANTOK AT KAMAO: Arnis and Boxing Exhibition
Coincidentally, with the post-celebration of Qatar National Sports Day (usually held on the second Tuesday of February), the Embassy of the Philippines in Qatar hosted a demonstration event featuring ARNIS and BOXING on 18th February 2023. Held at the Qatar Foundation Student Centre, Her Excellency Lillibeth Velasco Pono opened the arts and sports exhibition event attended by members of the Filipino community. The ambassador encouraged everyone to “be your own mandirigma… a Filipino warrior who is proud of his/her roots” and to be courageous to bring the Filipino culture, sports, and arts to the world stage. Noteworthy to mention is the presence of lots of young students who were eager to witness the performance. These are also the very people who needs to see and appreciate our homegrown sports, especially ARNIS.
While BOXING is one of the more popular sports with our very own Manny Pacquiao as our global icon, it’s also good for these kids to appreciate ARNIS as a physical sport (health and active lifestyle), and as a form of personal discipline aside being a combat sport to defend oneself against armed or unarmed attacks.
And in support of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ (NCAA) celebration of National Arts Month 2023 this February, the Philippine Embassy in Qatar also incorporated an art exhibition featuring various local artists in Qatar.
ARNIS: WHERE DOES IT STAND NOW?
Since 2005, Arnis has been part of the Palarong Pambansa, the biggest and the grandest sporting event in the country. However, it was only part of the demo-events during the 2005-2006 Palaro in Naga City and was finally included as one of the sporting events during the 2007 Palaro in Koronadal, South Cotabato, a DepEd report said.
In history books, the use of Arnis is said to be deadly as that of the bladed weapons if one fully discover its potential, however, like any other sports, Arnis builds self-confidence, self-discipline and respect, promotes a sense of nationalism, stressed Raymond Velayo, president of Arnis (ARPI), who pushed the bill that made Arnis as a national sport in 2009. The proposed bill was also supported by Senator Miguel Zubiri.
Velayo also lamented the continuing misconception then about other sports including Sepak Takraw as a Filipino sport. “Sepak Takraw is not a Filipino word. It is a mixed of Thai and Malay, and yet it is being promoted as ours”. He said the declaration of Arnis as a national sport will allow the country to impart the Filipino culture to countries where Arnis is yet to be introduced as a sport.
“Arnis has been part of the South East Asia (SEA) games and is also practiced in Japan and Korea. But we are yet to make aware countries especially those outside Asia that there is arnis and it is ours,” Velayo added. source: https://capiznon.wordpress.com
ARNIS: AN APPEAL FOR HELP
During the YANTOK AT KAMAO event, it occurred to me as a Filipino and as a blogger to do something to help ARNIS and the people who love the national sport to be given a platform – not only through a demonstration segment, but hopefully to be known in our community here in Qatar as a Filipino martial arts – similar to WUSHU of China, TAEKWONDO of Korea, SUMO WRESTILING of Japan, MUAY THAI of Thailand, etc.
The coming INDEPENDENCE DAY this June 2023 is a great opportunity to do a sequel to further the promotion of our national sport. Filipino schools like PHILIPPINE SCHOOL DOHA (PSD) and PHILIPPINE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL IN QATAR (PISQ) may also incorporate ARNIS in their Physical Education programs. Also, gyms and other sports facilities in Qatar, maybe our very own MMG MANDIRIGMA gym, and the likes – can consider incorporating ARNIS in their offers or supporting current and existing ARNIS enthusiasts in their roster of trainers (especially those who do not have the capacity to open their own gym).
In a quick chat with the founder of KALI-Filipino Fighting System, GURO ANTHONY CAINDOY, he expressed his earnest desire the keep the sports alive amidst all challenges. Mr. Caindoy spearheaded the demostration activity during the YANTOK AT KAMAO event. Seeing the initial support of the Embassy as well as the interest from the students who were present in the event made him hopeful that ARNIS will find its way in mainstream sports along side BOXING and others.
For us here at BEST LIFE QATAR, we hope that this feature will bring awareness and draw support from the community. This started with a conscious desire and a firm belief that it must be done somehow. It’s a legacy that our children deserve to know, and our country’s wealth that we should be proud of as a nation.
For more information about KALI-FILIPINO FIGHTING SYSTEM you may reach them at Tel No. 6653 1452 or email: Kalibudoaiki@gmail.com (accepting private and small group sessions).