Kali martial art is one of the most fluid styles that can be learned. It focuses on establishing open and versatile movements that range between unarmed and weapon based attacks. Because of the nature of this martial art, however, it is important to use it only during dangerous situations where your life may be at risk. Kali martial arts are defined by very aggressive movements and techniques that are designed to engage attackers immediately and cause tremendous damage.
Most martial arts have extensive histories that are often hard to pin down to their exact roots. Kali is no different from most other martial arts in that regard, as it is an old style that many believe first arose between Filipino tribes. Additionally, many scholars believe that some of the styles were adapted from various other areas around the world, including India.
More definitive characteristics of the style arose during the 1500s, when Spanish conquerors had arrived in the region. The styles were hidden under dancing rituals, but slowly, as the world began to modernize over the centuries, the techniques became more and more refined. What began as a collective of techniques that varied from region to region slowly became one of the world’s most powerful and fluid styles of fighting. The systemization of this martial style did nothing to dilute the personal flavor, and only made it easier for practitioners to learn the techniques.
The style began to spread to Western regions after World War II, when American operatives were introduced to the style after being stationed in the country. They took the lessons back home with them, which led to many American schools of the style to open all over the nation.
As was mentioned earlier, Kali is a very powerful style that focuses on fluid versatile and constant, calculated movement. One of the most defining characteristics of the fighting style is the transitioning between fighting with weapons and fighting bare handed. This emphasis in fluidity helped empower practitioners, as even without a weapon, they would find techniques that would allow them to hold their own, even against armed opponents. While there are many different schools of the style that teach varying techniques, most of the basic principles have remained the same. Almost all schools teach weapon fighting elements that focus on striking and blocking, as well as unarmed fighting techniques that include grapples and throws. For life and death situations, practitioners are even taught unorthodox techniques, such as biting and attacking points on the body that would normally be off limits.
Practitioners of this style believe that unarmed moves should be used similarly to weapon moves. As such, both sets of skills are developed alongside each other, emphasizing the fluidity of this style. There are numerous and versatile weapon combinations that can be utilized in the field, including single stick and double stick techniques. The most versatile weapon is the rattan, which is a stick that is roughly the length of the user’s arm. It is lightweight and very quick, making it a staple in the style.
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