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Eskrima: Cebu's Power Sport


Eskrima - a comprehensive kind of martial arts which includes the use of olisis and bladed weapons. This Filipino martial art is typically called arnis in Luzon, eskrima in the Visayas, and kali in the South. It is generally classified into single olisi (such as a fire-hardened rattan stick) or double (doble) competition. It also includes "empty hands" training, and a system of kicking, punching, and grappling (dumog).

 Eskrima in Cebu

Cebu's Eskrima was first introduced to the world when Lapulapu fought with Magellan and his men in the Battle of Mactan, using fire-hardened sticks, wooden spears, lances, and bladed weapons to defeat the Spaniards.

 The practice of eskrima was nearly lost during the Spanish rule when the Spaniards banned its practice. However, it was kept alive under the guise of Moro-Moro plays and dances which included battle scenes. With the end of the Spanish rule at the end of the century, eskrima continued to grow in Cebu.

 Labangon Fencing Club - formed in 1920, it is the first eskrima organization in Cebu City. Political conflicts during that time - the issue of whether the Philippines should remain a territory of the USA or not - resulted in the club being dissolved in 1930.

 Doce Pares Society - founded in 1932 with 24 members. The name refers to the Doce-pares style eskrima - the use of 12 basic strikes and 12 basic defenses. Practically all the original members of Doce Pares fought as guerilla fighters during WW II.

 Cebu Escrima Association (CEA) - formed in 1975 through the efforts of Diony Canete, this club is the association of 14 eskrima clubs in Cebu City. It was also during this time that the National Arnis Association of the Philippines (NARAPHIL) was created to promote the art locally, nationally and internationally.

 1st National Eskrima Festival - held in 1976 in Cebu City through the joint efforts of the Doce Pares, the CEA and the NARAPHIL. It brought together 60 of the most skilled eskrimadors in the country.

 1st National Arnis Championship - held in 1979 at the University of the Visayas in Cebu City, it attracted more than 100 participants.

 Popularity of Eskrima - The popularity of eskrima is validated by movie [stars] Steven Seagal, Jeff Speakman and others, who have used stickfighting in their action films.

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