Filipino Kali / Eskrima / JKD at TAMA

Our Filipino Martial Art (FMA) program is an exciting blend of traditional and contemporary Filipino Kali with Eskrima and Jeet Kune Do (JKD).

Kali is known for its dynamic footwork, fluid hand techniques, and powerful weaponry. When these elements combine, Kali is a complete martial arts training and self-defense program.

Kali’s versatile techniques are integrated such that the methods and concepts are essentially interchangeable whether you are using sticks, knives, or empty hands or some combination of the three.

Looking for mental development? Balance? Better coordination? Kali’s close-quarter drills help improve focus and attain a calm mind under pressure. 

Our footwork improves coordination and balance that can enhance performance in other sports and improve daily activities. Our active training approach improves hand-eye coordination, increases fluidity, and provides for better overall wellness. And most of all, Kali martial arts training is fun!

Our Filipino Kali / Eskrima / JKD curriculum includes:

  • Basic blocks and counters with single stick, double stick, and empty hand
  • Pasurutan patterns for speed and flow
  • Dynamic numerous Kali footwork
  • Sinawali with double stick and empty hand
  • Espada y daga (sword and dagger)
  • Speed disarming
  • Close-range throws into submission locks
  • Close-range knife disarming and trapping drills
  • Sensitivity trapping hand drills
  • And more!!!

TAMA’s Kali system is a complete martial arts training program that draws from the richest lineages in FMA. TAMA presents a unique Filipino martial arts training experience in the Willow System (Taningco’s grandfather’s system from Bacarra, Ilocos Norte-Kailukuan). Through this dynamic Kali martial arts instruction, Grandmaster Manuel R. Taningco shares his 56 years of compiled FMA knowledge that stems from his family grandfather, Lorenzo Robles, of the Ilocos Norte region of the Philippines and later from his Uncle George Robles (eldest son of Lorenzo Robles).

During Grandmaster Taningco’s childhood, gangs were rampant in the Philippines. So, under the tutelage of his older brother Alex R. Taningco, Grandmaster Taningco learned the family arts to protect himself in the streets of Sampaloc, Manila. Over the years, Grandmaster Taningco has continued to advance his family’s system by integrating other FMAs’ best practices. These best practices have come from world-renowned Grandmasters with whom he has studied. These Grandmasters read like a “who’s who” of FMA and include such names as Dan Inosanto (FMA/JKD), Leo Gaje (Pekiti Tirsia), Remy Presas (Modern Arnis), and Tata Cacoy Eskrido and Dionisio Canete (Doce Pares).

The History of Filipino Martial Arts

During its early development, Kali was often referred to as Arnis de Mano and Eskrima. It was practiced primarily for self-defense by the pre-Spanish Filipinos. These early practitioners were noted for their friendly nature and legendary hospitality. The older Filipinos, who made stick fighting an art, preferred to hit bone and preferred a stick to a blade. The stick left shattered bone instead of a clean cut. The hitting end of the stick can travel many times the speed of the empty hand, and a stick feels nothing whether it hits bone or flesh.

With the migration of the Malays, about 200 B.C., came the long knife. The Malays were experts with daggers, swords, spears, and the bow and arrow of both the reflex and long bow design. Other bladed weapons were brought to the Philippines when the second migration of Malays occurred in the early years of the Christian era through the 13th century. The third Malay migration began at the start of the 14th century and continued until the middle of the 15th century. They favored bladed weapons but were skilled with sticks, bows and arrows, and explosive projectile weapons. Early trade relations with China also brought T’ang dynasty Martial Arts skills to the Philippines.
When the war with Japan broke out in 1941, the Filipinos enlisted in the American services. During one training session, a Filipino enlistee used his Kali techniques against the American fighting techniques. The instructors were so impressed that they permitted the Filipinos to train their own style of fighting instead of using the American techniques. During the war with Japan, and afterwards, Eskrimadors and Kali men traveled to Hawaii and California. Once they arrived there, they had to take any job they could get. They were forced to give up their proud heritage and resign themselves to domestic labor.

These early immigrant Eskrimadors would not forget their art altogether though. They would rise early to practice and stay up late at night to practice their art. Their children knew little of the art. Their practice brought curious onlookers, some of which were their own children. The offspring soon demanded to learn what was rightfully theirs by heritage. They wanted to learn the Kali art of Arnis de Mano; so, the old “masters” began teaching the art once again. That basically was the beginning of Kali, Eskrima, and Arnis de Mano in America.


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