Back to top

Arnis is one of the names for the Filipino martial arts (FMA) that teach the use of and defense against weapons. Eskrima (also spelled escrima) and kali are other common names for the FMA. Garimot Arnis is a system that encompasses many styles from the northern islands of the Philippines (Luzon) and teaches many types of weapons, including sword, knife, stick, staff, spear, shield, and rope, although the training gives a practitioner the skills necessary to fight with any weapon. Garimot Arnis also includes other Filipino martial arts that are not considered arnis, such as native Filipino wrestling (buno, or dumog in Cebuano) and healing (hilot). In addition to empty hands, the following weapons are the most commonly taught in Garimot Arnis.


The baston used for training is commonly made of rattan, a climbing palm, straightened and dried. This is due to the ability of rattan to withstand repeated hard impact without shattering; rattan fibers will begin to shred, but remain intact. Nearly all arnis training begins with the stick. In Garimot Arnis, the stick is generally used as a substitute for the sword in training. Sometimes, a wooden sword is carved for training, called a brokil. Nevertheless, there are many techniques specifically designed for a stick that are trained as well. The stick is sometimes paired with a knife, but perhaps more often, it is paired with another stick.

There are many names for the sword in Laguna - some are generic (itak, tabak), others refer to the shape of the blade (dahon palay, dahon buho), but the general term that everyone knows is bolo. The sword is sometimes known by the Spanish term espada, especially when paired with a dagger, which is known as espada y daga (or sometimes by the Tagalog tabak at balaraw). Filipino swords are short, usually about two feet in length, with some reaching up to two-and-a-half feet. Garimot Arnis not only teaches the use of a sword and the defense against one, but it also teaches methods of quickly drawing the sword from its scabbard, known as bunot armas.

Also known as daga or balaraw, the knife is a very common weapon. Undoubtedly the most famous Filipino knife is the balisong, from Batangas. This knife can be manipulated in very flashy and entertaining ways, but essentially the balisong is an old version of a modern folding pocket knife - able to be quickly opened or closed with one hand, and safely carried without a sheath. Garimot Arnis teaches many methods of using and defending against any knife, including a method from Batangas.

The rope (lubid in Tagalog) is the only weapon used in buno (Filipino wrestling). Weighted on both ends, it can be used for striking, blocking, tying, choking, locking, and disarming. Its proper use takes much more practice than other weapons, but it can easily be transferred to other flexible weapons.