Arnis Techniques – Weapons & Exercises

In order to excel at the Arnis techniques, you need to make sure that you are giving them the needed time, devotion and effort. The training can be taken lightly or very seriously depending on how important excelling at the Arnis techniques is to you.

The different Arnis techniques are native to South East Asia and in particular to Philippines. For so many centuries, these martial arts were so sacred that they were only practiced by the mighty warriors, kings and other respectable members of the society.

Today no matter where you are and who you are, you can gain access to the wonderful world of the Arnis techniques. You get to learn the difference between the different weapons, strikes and kicks in order to experience the glory of the past.


Arnis combines various martial arts that have been practiced for so many years by experienced and respectable warriors.

They were considered to be a part of the culture and the history as they marked the initiation of young people into the world of glory.

Notable Arnisadores from Balintawak lineage: (from left to right)”Chito” Velez, “Meo” de la Rosa, “Nene” Gaabucayan, “Anciong” Bacon, Ray la Victoria, “Bobby” Taboada, Teofilo Velez at Fort San Pedro, Cebu City (c. 1976). The photos were taken by “Johnny” Chiuten

The different techniques range from the very basic engagements to the more complicated ones that involve the use of more than one weapon.

Practicing and perfecting each technique should be your priority if you really want to experience the magical world of the Arnis.

As a matter of fact, most of the time the practitioners start practicing with different weapons like the knifesword and stick. Once the practice is over, a warrior will start to experiment with empty hand training. This type of training utilizes the body force to act as a deadly weapon meant to neutralize your enemies. These empty hand techniques range from using different types of kicks, punches and clinching techniques to hit the enemy where it hurts the most, even killing him on the spot.


There are a lot of traditional weapons that have been used for a number of years by the Filipino warriors.

After some centuries, the need called for more improvised weapons.

By the time the Spanish came to the Philippines, this art wasn’t called the Arnis yet.

There were a lot of fighting techniques that were practiced all over the region that were later combined into one mighty art.

Over the years, some weapons have gained so much popularity that they are today used by practitioners all over the world.

1. Baston

Batons, or Arnis sticks, is the most basic weapon used in the Arnis. It is made from rattan that doesn’t shred like wood and is by far more durable.

The baston is a lightweight safe tool that can be used in training or in combat. A warrior can also choose to fight using two bastons.

2. Espada y Daga

Daga is knife or dagger. It is mainly used in close range combat as you need to get too close to hurt your enemy.

This is a rather difficult weapon to use, since you will have to dodge your opponent’s attacks from a close distance.

You can easily use two knives at the same time to inflict more harm and to drive more than one opponent away.

3. Balisong

This is a butterfly knife.

This knife has two pieces of handles that attach together in the middle and fold to close the blade.

It is a serious weapon that requires a lot of practice.

4. Karambit

This is an Indo-Malay claw shaped knife that is held by warriors by inserting the finger into a hole at the top of the handle.

5. Sibat

This is a spear that is held to defend against close range attacks. It can also be used to attack enemies at a distance if it is thrown at the right speed and angle.

Variations of Sibat

The list of Arnis weapons goes on with some flexible weapons and some that are mainly used for practice.

Over the years, warriors have come up with more improvised weapons and more modern versions of the traditional ones especially for practice purposes.

Read more:


The Arnis (Eskrima) systems identify the nature of fights by the distance between opponents. The range is usually classified into 3 categories where each has its own techniques and footwork.

Each style combines techniques that will work for long, medium and short range attacks but might focus on one range more than the others.

At the same time, the Eskrima focuses on defending against the angle of the attacker rather than a particular strike or weapon.

For this reason, different styles give attack angles names or numbers to make them easier to understand and identify. The number of angles differs from one style to another and these angles describe the different exercises.

1. Sinawali

This is one of the most famous exercises where the attacker uses double sticks in a weaving motion that resembles the woven coconut leaves. The exercise is usually seen in double stick demonstration. See more here.

2. Redonda

Redonda is the Spanish word for round and as the name suggests, this strike moves in a circle until it gets back to its point of origin.

This strike allows for fast attacks but needs a lot of practice.

3. Puno

This is a rather difficult strike that is delivered by the butt of the weapon.

The strike can cause a lot of damage especially when it is delivered to a nerve point or a soft spot on the opponent’s body.

But if you are skilled enough, this strike can break your opponent’s bones easily.

See also:

Bare hand techniques

The Eskrima is not only about using different weapons.

A lot of warriors use bare hand techniques to neutralize their enemies and they can be very effective with the right practice. These techniques are usually called Mano y Mano which translates to hand to hand.

In the Arnis, the weapons are naturally viewed as an extension to the body of the practitioner and this means that practicing using a certain weapon will naturally improve the way this warrior fights bare handed.

1. Kicking

This technique focuses on the knees, tripping and stomps.

Low kicks and high kicks are not studied alone but are practiced along other techniques of the Eskrima.

The technique involves the study of the leg muscles and bones to understand where the pressure should be applied exactly to break or dislocate the bones.

2. Boxing

Boxing footwork can be usefully combined with the stick footwork to help the practitioner move better.

This will give him an edge over his opponent.

3. Panatukan

This is the fist related part of the Eskrima. It simply translates to punching.

Although some practitioners combine the use of weapons with punching, but this doesn’t change the basic features of Panantukan technique.

It takes time and devotion to understand the world of the Arnis. But giving it the right effort will definitely pay off.

Recommended post:

Panantukan Techniques – Effective Self Defense System

Panantukan techniques is a term for Filipino boxing. Outside the sport, this system is used as the fallback for the combative aspects. If you lose your weapons, you can still fight empty-handed.

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