Why Try Arnis?
When I ask you to list all the sports you know, I am sure that you can list a lot, but I don’t think that arnis will be one of the sports you will list. It is possible that you will even ask me what that is. For those who don’t know, arnis is a Filipino hand-to-hand combat sports. To give you a broader look, try watching the behind-the-scenes video of a movie with sword fighting. Try the one when the actors are only training how to do their fight scenes. See those sticks they’re holding? Those are arnis sticks and what they are practicing is arnis.
As a Filipino, I have encountered arnis and arnis sticks a lot, but I never learned how to properly use it until I was in 2nd year college. It is one of the few Filipino sports, yet it was not practiced often. Only a few schools have arnis as part of their physical education. It is sad to think that more schools have basketball, volleyball, badminton and even football as part of their physical education. There are times when more people from another country practice it, than people from the Philippines.
It is sad to think that there are Filipinos who lived and died, but never tried or even heard of arnis. It is supposed to be one pride of the Filipinos, but it seems that we are not even proud of it.
Why Should Try Arnis?
Below are some reasons why we should try arnis.
- Arnis can also be used in self-defense. It’s main objective is to teach people self-defense. This does not mean that you need to carry arnis sticks around to protect yourself. Learning arnis doesn’t only teach you to use arnis sticks, but also to use your hands, knives or anything when the need arises. It teaches you how to strike and block with sticks, and using that idea, you can learn how to strike and block using anything.
- It teaches you how to use swords. Yes, you read that right. While other countries have fencing, Filipinos have arnis. The use of arnis sticks originated when they are training Filipinos in using swords.
If you still haven’t notice, I used the plural form of sword, because you can use two arnis sticks at a time. There will also be a time when you will be taught how to perform some strikes and blocks with two sticks.
- You will use both sides of your body. Actually, you will use every single part of your body. By practicing arnis, you will be able to learn how to control both sides of your body simultaneously. That means exercising both sides of your brain. Exercising both sides of your brain makes you smarter and more alert after some time.
It also teaches you how to multi-task. You need to control your hands, feet, head and body all at the same time. You will also need to think of your strategy, strikes, blocks and the possible next move of your opponent.
When you try to learn fencing, you will probably need a lot of money, because it is an expensive sport. When you try arnis, you will only need arnis sticks to learn, and probably some gears like arm shields. Everybody can afford to try this sport.
A view from my experience:
In our school, we changed the sport in physical education 4 from badminton and swimming to arnis and swimming. When we started, most of us don’t even know the basics of arnis. After six weeks of training, with only two two-hour meeting per week, all 40 of us learned the basics stances, strikes and blocks. We also learned different ways of attacking using single and double arnis sticks.
At our last meeting for the arnis, we did a bit of sparring. We were partnered with different people and were involved in some friendly competition. I saw a lot of different strategies and developed my own. There were many underdogs that surprised everyone. There were winners and people who won in a different way.
Like in every sport, you practice arnis to have fun and to learn. Whether you win or you lose, you will learn something. You will learn how to defend yourself physically, how to be alert, how to respond in a short period of time and how to predict other people’s moves.
I enjoyed every moment I had practicing arnis. Remember that this is a combat sports and you are bound to experience body pain. You will experience torn muscles from time to time, so you better do a bit of stretching before you start. You may only be practicing strikes and blocks, but you will experience a lot of sweating.
Why do we need to learn the Filipino combat sport, arnis? It is our pride and we can benefits many things from it.