During the Japanese occupation, stories of Filipinos going head to head against Japanese soldiers wielding nothing but rattan or bahi sticks or bolos became the stuff of legend.
Arnis comes from which means, “to scrape” in some Filipino languages.
Depending on who you ask, the word “escrima” is sometimes used interchangeably with the term “arnis.” When escrima techniques are used with bladed weapons (instead of rattan sticks), the art becomes known as kali.
Our past, under Spanish rule, is still evident in terminologies used to describe our martial arts.
For instance, the technique of hitting an opponent with the side of the blade (or stick) with a whipping motion of the wrist is called “ are rooted in Spanish — a remnant of a time when Filipinos were required to be polyglots — fluent in Filipino, in Castilian Spanish, and even in English, in addition to the native language of their province!
Others say the difference in the names either implied the region from which the art originated or the time period when the art was developed.