Brief History of Arnis:  Indigenous Filipino Martial Arts (FMA)

Lapu Lapu

Arnis is an indigenous Filipino Martial Art (FMA) that traces its roots to pre-Hispanic Philippines. It is also known as Kali or Escrma. It is a no-nonsense and practical martial art and lethal self-defence discipline designed to neutralize the natural advantages of an adversary through the effective use of speed, skill and power. The ultimate objective of Arnis is to transform the exponent (Arnisador) into a complete fighter, familiar with the use of weapons (Arnis), and of the more difficult skills of open-hand fighting also known as unarmed combat. Unarmed combat features Philippine-style boxing (panununtukan), kicking (sikaran) and wrestling and grappling (dumog).

Arnis is unique since it begins training immediately with the use of  weapons. Among the variety of weapons employed in Arnis, two are most prominent: the sword (espada) and the dagger (daga) –represented during training purposes by wooden sticks.

Lightning Scientific Arnis International (LSAI)

One of the pillars of Philippine Arnis is Grandmaster Benjamin Luna Lema or more fondly called as ‘Mang Ben”. The fighting style of Mang Ben is known as Lightning Scientific Arnis International or LSAI which he established in 1937 at the age of 19. It utilizes different types of distances and various angles of attack. It also stresses speed, power and the full use of body movements in executing various weapons methodologies complemented with hand and foot techniques, limb and head locks and grappling.

mang ben 2

Kilat Senjata -Lightning Arnis Singapore

Lightning Arnis Singapore (LAS) or Kilat Senjata is the Singapore branch of Lightning Scientific Arnis International (LSAI) — A Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) System brought to life by the late Grandmaster Benjamin Luna Lema. LAS  traces its roots directly to the University of the Philippines (UP) Sangkil Karasak group. Lightning Arnis (Singapore) also follows a lineage with LEMA Escrima Kali Arnis System or LESKAS founded by the late Guro Elmer Ybanez. Started in early 2002 by Chief Instructor Dr. Vicente “Enteng” Reyes, LAS has slowly but surely grown in number. Kilat and Senjata mean “lightning” and “weapon” respectively.

Arnis-Kali-Escrima is a practical and efficient combat system. It consists of speed and power training that develops strength and endurance. It also allows the exponent a familiarity and mastery of a variety of weapons. Exponents become proficient with weapons and unarmed combat fighting integrated into a tactical whole. The LSAI system as practiced in Lightning Arnis Singapore attempts to combine speed, power and proper technique best suited to the unique physical make-up of an individual exponent.




8 thoughts on “History of Lightning Arnis

    1. Just drop by one of our training sessions either at Tanglin Community Club or at Yunnan corner.

      Hope to see you soon

    1. Hi,

      Yes you can still join us.

      Visit us at Tanglin Community Club (Tuesday nights or Sunday mornings) or Yunnan corner (NTU) Wednesday evenings.

      Hope to see you one of these days.

      Punong Guro Vicente

    1. Hi,

      Yes, our current youngest practitioner is 14 years old.

      Hope to see you around our training sessions one of these days.

      Punong Guro Vicente

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