Episode 19 – Filipino Martial Arts

Kali, Arnis, and Eskrima, or sometimes known as “Filipino Martial Arts (FMA),” has been practiced both in the Philippines and in the United States for generations. A mix of native Southeast Asian and domesticated European fighting styles, Filipino Martial Arts has been known to be one of the most efficient and powerful fighting systems in the world. Through FMA, one can defend oneself using swords, sticks, knives, or even bare hands very effectively. However, while many flock to the Philippines and local studios to learn and train in the warrior art, FMA and its techniques are relatively unknown to a majority of Filipinos. Unfortunately, orientalized martial arts like Karate and Tae Kwon Do remain more popular.

In this episode, we talk to Mike Makabenta from the Magda Institute. He gives us an overview of the warrior art, its origins in the Philippines, how it flowed to the United States, and how it became popularized (yet not branded) in Hollywood action films. He goes into the diversity in FMA, its many practitioners and fighting styles, how it got passed down from generation to generation, and the current state of the art in the U.S. in this digital age.

Come find out which one of us trains in FMA, who calls it Arnis and who calls it Eskrima, and who has broken boards in a dojo. (But please don’t mind the plethora of Karate Kid references!). Whether it’s the first time you’ve heard about Filipino Martial Arts or you’ve been practicing the warrior art for decades, this introduction to FMA will help jump start a conversation about an art we can truly call our own.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here!


Got an questions or opinion about Filipino Martial Arts?  Let us know! Email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com or leave a voice message on (805) 394-TFAL.

1 comment on “Episode 19 – Filipino Martial Arts

  1. david garcia says:

    i would like to practice that art some day

Leave a Reply to david garciaCancel reply

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