Arnis – also commonly known as Kali and Eskrima – is a fast, fluid, technical Filipino martial art specialising in the use of knives and short sticks. It’s often also referred to Filipino Martial Arts, or FMA, although technically there are other indigenous martial arts of the Philippines but they’re far less popular than Arnis in the West.
Arnis is very popular around the world, especially in English-speaking countries, partly thanks to Dan Inosanto’s role in spreading Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do in conjunction with his native treasure Arnis, and partly as there isn’t much expertise in knives and short sticks coming from traditional Chinese and Japanese martial arts which usually focus on other types of weapons.
Arnis also offers weaponless hand-to-hand combat training which is based on the weapons systems so there’s a lot of slick glancing combos with dynamic chipping/skimming/brushing action between various targets including limbs which can be ideal for knife fighting but critics of the art claim these moves are inefficient for empty-handed combat.
Arnis is generally regarded worldwide as being the leading martial art for technical expertise in both knives and short sticks.