“Kali” is an ancient martial art form the Philippine Archipelago (formerly Maharlika) that pre-dates the Spanish conquest of the island nation and is based on the use of the blade (sword).
The word “Kali” has many interpretations and meanings depending on who you talk to within the Filipino Martial Arts community. Since there are over 180 languages in the Philippines and 12 unique alphabets no one knows for sure who is correct. It was a standard procedure for Spanish Conquistadores to burn all local literature.
Over the 370 years of Spanish rule in the Philippines, many local words were replaced with Spanish words. Two of the most common Spanish terms for the Filipino Martial Arts are Arnis and Escrima.
“Kali has a long history as a successful fighting method and lifestyle in the Philippines. It was the Kali warriors that killed Ferdinand Magellan.
In his 1980 book, The Filipino Martial Arts, Guro Dan Inosanto, one of my Kali instructor, wrote…
“Kali (Silat) was the oldest form of weaponry on the islands and the mother to Escrima. Older than Escrima, Kali comes from the word Kalis, which implies a blade, and it dates back to a time before Chinese from the Ming Dynasty infiltrated the islands. Kali also a stick, empty hand or multi-weaponed art, defended the islanders for centuries before the Spanish invasions.”
Kali includes bladed weapons, contact weapons empty hands (Panantukan).
I find the weapons training enhances and facilitates empty hands.