MANILA, Philippines -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has declared the ancient Filipino martial art Arnis as the country’s National Martial Art and Sport.
Malacañang Palace announced on Friday that Mrs. Arroyo has signed into law Republic Act 9850, which officially adopts Arnis, commonly known as stick fighting, as the Philippine’s National Martial Art and Sport.
Section 3 of the law also provides, “The official adoption of Arnis as the national martial art and sport shall be promulgated by inscribing the symbol of Arnis in the official seal of the Philippine Sports Commission and by making it as the first sport competition to be played by participating teams on the first day in the annual Palarong Pambansa.”
Arnis, also known as Kali or Eskrima, is originally known as Arnis de Mano or “harness of the hand.”
It is the art incorporating empty-handed fighting as well as techniques with a variety of weapons specializing in short sticks and knife techniques.
Among the best known arnis practitioners are the late Remy Presas, his younger brother Ernesto Presas, and the departed Filipino bodybuilder-actor Roland Dantes.