No one can give an exact estimate to the age and origin of the Filipino martial arts. Most generally agree that it is between twelve and fifteen hundred years old.
The art is steeped in actual combat usage though-out its history. It is one of the few Asian martial arts that has been influenced by so many other cultures and races. It is also one of the few arts that is still used, in one degree or another, in actual combat in the Philippines today.
The Philippines is a vast archipelago, comprising over 7,000 islands. Granted that many, even most, of these islands are little more than atolls and sand bars, there are still quite a few habitable land masses. The peoples of the Philippines are as diverse as the many islands, with over 80 dialects and over 50 sub-dialects with three major tongues, its like a small nation of many different races. With this diversity comes clannishness, provincialism, and tribal ethics.
This of course lead to the development of many different styles of combat. Like the gun of the old west; the stick, and long blade were the principle means of defending ones home and village.
This being the case most clans and villages were very reluctant to show or demonstrate their means of self defense for fear of having it studied and nullified by an opposing style of fighting.
In short, there are many different styles of Eskrima. Just as there are many different styles, Eskrima is called by many different names. Arnis, Kali, Baston, Garrote, Pagkalikali, Kailiradman, Kalirongan, Armas de mano, Esgrima, Escrima, Mano-Mano, Kuntao, Silat, and the list goes on.
Most of the styles emphasize weapons proficiency with hands as an adjunct to the weapon. Although emphasis is on the weapon do not underestimate an accomplished Eskrimadore. His forte is the study of combat and all its aspects. But when it comes to wielding a stick or bladed weapon he is second to none in his skill and abilities.
The Inayan System of Eskrima is called a system because it encompasses more than one style of the Eskrima arts. It has been developed to provide the student with the best all round knowledge and skill to become an accomplished practitioner. It has at its core of fighting styles three of the most formidable styles in the Philippine Martial Arts. The beginning styles are also powerful styles in their own right.
A style is a set of techniques that contain a viable and practical mode of defense against attacks and does not need to barrow from any other technology or method. These styles are also complete and effective against opposing methods and styles when applied properly, and if studied adequately.
Some of the styles (but not all) in the Inayan System of Eskrima are:
Serrade is a medium to close range style. Serrada stylists use an 18" to 26" weapon ( stick), depending on the physical stature of an individual. In the Inayan System of Eskrima, it is the most important of the core styles. There are three core styles in the Inayan System of Eskrima.
Larga-Mano is a long range style of combat employing a 26" to 36" weapon. We include the staff/spear training in this curriculum. Larga-Mano is one of the core styles in the Inayan System of Eskrima.
Kandena-De Mano is a short range style of combat employing an 8" to 18" weapon. Emphasis is based on bladed ( Knife) weapon, hand to hand and grappling aspects of combat.
The theory if this style of training can be employed at different ranges. The weapons can vary in length and can be inter-mixed. It is usually practiced with two weapons (sticks) of equal length.
The Siniwali style is good for people who are starting out in he art of Eskrima since it is very easily taught to beginners. Although this style is easy to learn, it is not so easy to master. We will be working almost exclusively with this style in this book.
Dequerdas is a medium range style that uses reinforced blocking with the 'off' or 'shield' hand on the weapon. It is similar to the style of Modern Arnis. It is a simple but effective method of defense and is easily taught to beginners as well as individuals who do not want to dedicate much time to the study of weapons; defense and offense.
This is a medium to close range style of combat. Not recommended for beginners, students in the Inayan System of Eskrima do not seriously study this style without first becoming proficient in the core styles.