Philippines by airThe Philippines consist of thousands of beautiful islands both big and small that stretch across the South China Sea. Together they form a nation that has gone through many changes. Centuries of immigration and melding have created a fusion of Malay-Polynesian stock with Chinese, European, Indian, and American blood and culture. The Philippine Islands are the origin and proving grounds for some of the most deadly and yet beautiful fighting systems known to man. The Filipino Martial Arts have been practiced and developed over hundreds of years through much tribal “in-fighting” when uninvited guest were not readily available to sharpen the Kris, Kampilan or Barong swords of these mighty warriors. Like religions, the Filipino Martial Arts are practiced in many different ways and are known by many different names yet have some common denominators.There appears evident that human life existed in the Philippines at least 20,000 years ago, in the Pleistocene Age. The antiquity of man in the East Indian Archipelago has not been fully established, but skulls of the Talagai Man of Australia, of the Java Man found at Wadjak, together with Stone Age culture of the Dutch found in Tasmania, seem to suggest a possible lower Paleolithic culture in the Philippine islands.The original tribes of black pygmies were driven back into the mountains, to be displaced by a first wave of brown people who swept over the Philippine Archipelago probably as early as 5,000 years ago. The primary black inhabitants have survived, however, to remain as a negligible proportion of the population of the islands. Padre Crevas, the early historian of the Philippines, preserves for us a description of these “Negritos” (as the Spaniards called them in 1645);
lkjdo“There are in this island (Mindanao) black, nomadic tribes who recognize no subjection… they live more like brutes, fleeing from all who approach them, doing harm too when they can. They do not settle in villages, nor do they, in these inclement wilds, have other shelter than the trees. They do not use any other ornament than that which they inherited from nature, covering their modesty so meagerly that they altogether fail in the endeavor. Their arms consist of a bow and arrows, tipped with a poison known only to themselves and it appears that this is the first people who occupied them (the islands) — that these are the original inhabitants of the soil and being the primitive race, no one can acount for their origin.”
IMG_0020It is believed that a race of people called Armenoids trickled down through India from a country north of Macedonia. There are indications that these people preceded the Aryans to India. A much later invasion of the Aryans pushed the Armenoids out into Burma and Malaya, and down through Indonesia into the Pacific. They entered the pacific at an early date, as is shown by the absence in their language of Sanskrit words which came into use after their departure from India.Nicolo Conti speaks of the Moro in 1430; “The inhabitants of Java and Sumatra exceed every other person in cruelty. They regard killing a man as a mere jest; nor is any punishment allotted to such a deed. If anyone purchase a new sword and wish to try it, he will thrust it into the breast of the first person he meets. The passers-by examine the wound, and praise the skill of the person who inflicted it, if he thrust in the blade direct.”Sawyer speaks of Moro in 1900; “Trained to arms from his earliest youth, he excels in the management of the lance, buckler and sword. These weapons are his inseparable companions. The typical Moro is never unarmed. He fights equally well on Moro warror2foot, on horseback, in his
fleet war canoe or in the water, for he swims like a fish and dives like a penguin. Absolutely indifferent to bloodshed or suffering, he will take the life of a slave or a stranger, merely to try the keenness of a new weapon.

“Even with these different accounts throughout history, no one can really give an accurate age and origin to the Filipino Martial Arts. Most generally agree that these arts are between 1200-1500 years old. Yet there are a few that believe they are most likely much older than that. Be that as it may, it is known that there exist many different forms or styles of these combative arts today. Although most systems of Filipino Martial Arts focus on sticks and blades, do not underestimate an accomplished Eskrimador, as most systems have gone through some form of evolution to incorporate the most modern combative technologies of today. The Filipino Martial Arts are one of the few martial arts still used, in one degree or another, in actual combat today.