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PH Arnis team Martial Arts

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Recognised by law as the countryís national sport and martial art, Arnis hails its origins from pre-colonial Philippines and continues to be appreciated today by the young generation.

The book The Filipino Martial Artsócompiled by Dan Inosanto, Gilbert L Johnson and George Foonócites theories that using bamboo canes as weapons may be traced to Indo-Malayan migrants from India and the Indonesian islands or from the Arab missionaries who were known for their mastery of blades.

However, the first documented account of using wooden sticks and spears as weapons was written by Antonio Pigafetta in his chronicle of the Battle of Mactan in 1521. Pigafetta wrote that the natives used bamboo spears to stab Ferdinand Magellan, leading to his death.

Today, Arnis is one of the three weapon-based fighting sports in the country under the umbrella term of Filipino Martial Arts. The other two are Kali and Eskrima. Together with hand-to-hand combat, grappling and weapon disarming techniques, arnisadores use bastons (sticks) made of either rattan or kamagong wood. Knives, blades, spears, bolo, the Indonesian dagger kalis and the single-edged sword kampilan from Mindanao are just some of the sharp-edged weapons also used in this sport.

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