The words Arnis, Escrima, Kali all stand as general names for the Filipino Martial Arts (FMA).
Contrary to most other martial arts, a beginner in Arnis trains first how to handle weapons (sticks) and then learns to apply the same principles to defend himself with everyday objects and empty-handed. Through the training with weapons coordination, sense of distance and the development/strengthening of natural reflexes are developed from the very beginning.
Many different styles of Arnis have developed on the Philippine islands. The AEK Norway first teaches the style Combat Arnis before different classic styles are introduced later in the curriculum.
The Filipino Martial Arts contain a vast variety of different techniques, all distances and variations of combat are included within these arts.
Therefore, beside the use of sticks and bladed weapons (machetes and knives), there is Filipino boxing and kickboxing, ground-fighting and even the application of flexible objects (ropes, belts, etc.) as well as the use of every-day objects (pens, newspapers, umbrellas) as improvised weapons.
During time, many other martial arts have had their impact and influence on the FMA. As a "living" martial art the FMA are not bound by a fixed set of techniques or forms but evolve constantly.
Arnis can not only be applied as a fighting art but also as a fighting sport.
Fighting art describes the use of any learned technique as efficient and accurate as possible during combat or self-defense, while
Fighting sport illustrates competitive fighting within a fixed set of rules. Internationally, there are several organisations having competitions with their own set of rules. At the AEK Norway, mostly WEKAF rules are used for training the competitive aspects of the FMA. This offers the possibility for participation at national tournaments as well as European and World championships.
The Filipino Martial Arts have been, as every other traditional martial art, formed by the cultural and historical development of their country of origin.