Top 5 Benefits of Kali aka Why I Love Filipino Martial Arts

Gatorade Propel Arnis

Photo grabbed from Photobucket user Ben Padero

If you’ve read my previous posts, I’m sure you already know by now how much I love Kali. If not, then let me emphasize further. Below are my top 5 benefits of Kali or why I love Filipino Martial Arts.

1. Great self-defense

Self defense

Let me re-iterate, Kali or Arnis is not just stick fighting. A complete martial arts system, Kali teaches you how to defend against AND with an edged/impact weapon (knives, sticks, etc.), improvised weapon (pens, umbrella, etc.) and without one (hand-to-hand/empty hand). It’s street-based, thus, very realistic. Robbery, hostage, rape are some of the real-life situations we tackle in class. The drills we do help develop a quick (and safe) reflex to various attacks—how to block, counter, etc. And with minimal movement, a practitioner could render an attacker badly hurt and helpless. Maybe I can further elaborate on this in a separate post. Here’s that post: Filipino Martial Arts as a Great Self-Defense Tool.

2. Good exercise

Horizontal running

Sure, it’s not as calorie-blasting as other martial arts or physical activities. But Kali can give you a great deal of burn, too, especially during sparring. Mind you, most of us are soaked in sweat post-training. And as you continue training, you’ll eventually strengthen your upper body, specifically arms and wrists. You’ll also learn good eye-hand coordination. It’s a good workout but if you’re focused on weight loss and similar goals, I advise to complement it with another form of workout/activity plus healthy diet, of course.

3. Never boring

Carrie excited

One of the many things I love about Kali is that it never fails to amaze me every time I practice it. I always learn new self-defense tricks and techniques or just ways/variations to better raise my game. It’s fun, exciting and intense. It can even make you feel like an action star minus leather jackets and blings—unless you fancy those. 😉 So if you’re a frustrated action star or stunt man/woman or simply looking for a dynamic and interesting martial art, then look no more. I’m sure you’ll find Kali enjoyable. Plus, with so many things to learn in Filipino Martial Arts, a lifetime may not be long enough to master everything. This brings me to reason #4 below.

4. Sustainable

Grandma kitchen knife

Let’s face it, there are many activities that we can’t do anymore or as proficiently when we’re old. We naturally become weaker as we age. With Kali training, however, as my teacher puts it, “You only get better as you age” or something like that. The older the FMA practitioner is, the wiser he/she gets, and the more lethal he/she becomes. Living examples are Guro Dan Inosanto, Grandmasters Yuli Romo and Rodel Dagooc, and many other older FMA teachers/practitioners who have made Kali their way of life. Unlike other martial arts/activities that require a lot of power, endurance and agility—and may be tough to sustain when you have silver hairs and wrinkles, FMA, on the other hand, can be tailored to fit your lolo/lola (grandfather/grandmother) lifestyle. You can enjoy your golden years using: Efficient strikes/minimal movements = maximum damage/quick finishes. Personally, I want to continue doing this until I can’t anymore. I’ll probably be uhm the coolest and fiercest lola (grandma) ever. Haha!

5. It’s Filipino

Animated Flag Philippines

Love your own! Trivia (if you don’t know yet), using Filipino martial arts, Lapu-Lapu fought and won against Magellan in the Battle of Mactan. For me, practicing Kali is a way to embrace and celebrate being a Filipino warrior. I appreciate Filipino culture and history now more than ever. It’s just sad that many of us are guilty of Colonial mentality; so consequently, we lean towards studying western martial arts. That’s cool. But I hope we also look into our own fighting art, that is Arnis/Kali/Eskrima.


Emma Stone Thumbs up

It feeds my body, mind and soul. Cheesy, I know! But it does. Physically, it keeps me active for obvious reasons. Mentally, it’s quite technical and thus, requires some thinking, which I like because it stimulates my brain cells. Spiritually, it makes me feel relaxed and happy after a good training sesh. I have more reasons up my sleeve. But this is all for now. 🙂

If you have anything to add, then by all means, comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts! 😉


4 thoughts on “Top 5 Benefits of Kali aka Why I Love Filipino Martial Arts

  1. Thank you for this articulate post. It just further cements my belief that I’m in the right martial arts! Mabuhay! 🙂

    • You’re welcome! Thank you, too. I’m pretty sure we are in the right martial arts. I’m a big fan of your blog, by the way. Mabuhay! 🙂

    • Thanks. I’m glad to find another FMA blogger. There should be more of us so that more people will know about this awesome sport. More power 🙂
      -Joy (or maybe Tita Joy) 🙂

    • Tita Joy (or maybe ate Joy, as I’m same age as Guro Jeric :)), I so agree with you. Let’s hope for the best! More power 😀

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