Stickfighting, Swordsmanship, and Edged Weapon Survival
Specialising in the teaching of the Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) commonly known as Kali, Arnis, or Eskrima
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As there are over 7,000 islands that make up The Philippines, and over 120 distinct languages, the Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) have come to be known by various names. The arts we study are from the Visayas, the middle region of the archipelago, where the most widely used term is Eskrima (the local pronunciation of Esgrima, the Spanish word for "fencing"). In Luzon, the Northern region, the most popular term is Arnis (the local pronunciation of Arnés, the Spanish word for "arms" or "armour" and commonly used locally as a term for the sticks used in the art). Adopted by ex-pat Filipinos in California and Hawaii during the 1970s and 1980s, the term Kali (derived from an old Tagalog word Kalis, meaning "skill with blades") is commonly used among the Filipino-American Martial Arts (FAMA) community. Regardless of the term used, what FMA systems have in common is a focus on the use of single stick and/or double sticks, cutlass-style swords and daggers, and unarmed weapon-control methods against a stick or blade wielding opponent. FMA has distinct regional variations that are likely a clever Filipino fusion of Indigenous fighting methods and ingenious re-engineering of the Spanish fencing methods taught during the colonial period by Jesuit priests, adapted for use with local weapons, refined through the struggle for independence, and defence of the nation during WWII earning Filipino scouts the infamous title of Bolomen, before becoming the national sport in the 1990s, and seen on screen in the fight scenes of films such as the Bourne series, Kick-Ass, The Book of Eli, and Dune.
WHAT WILL I LEARN?
We offer instruction in authentic Filipino Martial Arts (FMA). Our Eskrimadors train to be proficient in Bernas Estocadas, a beautiful, comprehensive, and effective FMA system developed by Grandmaster William Bernas, from his initiation into, and study of, both the old unstructured but effective Wedo (Oido) martial traditions of Negros, and the carefully-organised Pekiti Tirsia (Close-Quarters) methods of Grandmaster Hortencio Navales; and De Campo 1-2-3 Original, an art from Cebu, developed in 1925 by Jose Diaz Caballero, who gained notoriety as a stick-fighting champion at town fiestas, during the Juego Todo (no holds barred) era of competitive duelling.
WHO ARE THE INSTRUCTORS?
Guro Robert Parkes (BEd Hons Sydney, PhD Newcastle), an author, editor, curriculum historian, and Associate Professor of Education at the University of Newcastle, is the Founder and Director of the Eskrima Academy. He commenced his martial arts training in 1980 at the age of fourteen, and has teaching credentials in Chinese Kung-Fu, Japanese Jujutsu (Budo Taijutsu), and Filipino Eskrima. Robert shares the teaching with his daughter Guro Rebekah Parkes (BMus Hons, Newcastle), a Musician, Circus Performer, and currently studying to be a Music and Physical Education teacher, and Guro Chris Baird (BTeach/BA Newcastle), an English and Drama teacher and performer. Rebekah and Chris also teach the Afro-Brazilian martial art of Capoeira, within the Capoeira Aruanda organisation led by Mestre Borracha. Each member of the teaching team has internationally recognised qualifications in the Filipino Martial Arts, are university teacher trained and qualified, and accredited instructors with the Martial Arts Industry Association (MAIA), and Kung-Fu Wushu Australia Ltd (KWA). We are the official Australian representatives of the Bernas Estocadas system (under Grandmaster William Bernas) and the De Campo 1-2-3 Original system (under Maestro Paolo Pagaling and heir to the art, Master Jomalin Caballero), and maintain close connection with our teachers in the Philippines.
WHAT HAPPENS IN AN ESKRIMA CLASS?
When you train with us at the Eskrima Academy, you can expect exposure to training drills and methods that are built around the following four key concepts and their related drills and purposes:
FORM (Earth) - developed through drills that assist you to build a sound biomechanical base from which to launch powerful and decisive attacks, defences, and counters.
FLOW (Water) - developed through interactive partner drills designed to enhance your mental agility, technical fluidity, and mechanical efficiency.
FUNCTION (Fire) - developed through pressure testing and attribute development drills that increase in intensity and strengthen your combative capabilities, as well as your confidence and resilience.
FREEDOM (Wind) - facilitated through the use of game-based play and free sparring as platforms for discovery learning, that lead to rapid skill acquisition, personal enjoyment, and individual expression.