Fighting Sticks of Arnis


An epic journey across the Philippines from Manila to Cebu and Negros to explore Filipino Martial Arts and in particular, the art of Arnis or Escrima. Our guides on this epic journey are datu Tim Hartman, a senior student of grandmaster Remy Presas and Balintawak grandmaster Bobby Taboada.



In Fighting Sticks of Arnis we meet many grandmasters who are students of the founder of Modern Arnis, Professor Remy Presas. “I started in Modern Arnis” says grandmaster Rodel Dagooc. “Grandmaster Remy Presas was my godfather. Without him, Arnis would have become a dying art.” For martial arts practitioners visiting the Philippines, Luneta Park is the first and last stop. Modern Arnis Grandmaster Rodel Dagooc begins his first class in Luneta with empty hand drills. It is his skill in stick fighting however that cemented his reputation… earning him the nickname “Smoking Sticks”. Our movie begins with grandmaster Rodel as he takes us through his typical lesson in Luneta park. Later in the week we travel to his home town of Batangas to the Arnis Village which he is building. Here he takes us through the many steps needed to make the ‘smoking sticks’ which he and his students use in Arnis.

One style that Remy Presas mastered is Balintawak, a dynamic single stick style from Cebu. Many of todays best known Escrima masters grew up on the streets of Cebu in the southern Philippines. Like Bobby Taboada, grandmaster Nick Elizar grew up learning boxing and Karate until he was introduced to Balintawak. Today he teaches at his ‘Nickelsticks’ club with his son Neil. At his Cebu Nickelsticks school, grandmaster ‘Nick’ Elizar explains: “The aim of Balintawak is to disarm your opponent. This means using counter to counter because we assume our opponent is smarter than us.”  Elizar says “Striking is easy.  We teach you to defend and react very fast.”

Arnis, like all traditional martial arts requires hard work and sacrifice. Grandmaster Bobby Taboada talks about his early years of Arnis training: “I learned to accept the pain. That’s the reality of training in the Philippines… are you ready to accept the pain.” As we travel from martial arts schools to training camps, we spend time with more than twelve grandmasters of Arnis or Escrima. Grandmaster Bram Frank introduces us to the Bolo or Filipino long knife… a weapon he has mastered since his first Bolo class with grandmaster Remy Presas. In Fighting Sticks of Arnis secrets are told and technique are shared as our film explores the many different teaching methods and the multitude of styles of Arnis.

Datu Tim Hartman: World Modern Arnis Alliance
Master Arnold Narzo:  Kalis Illustrisimo Repeticion
Master Ronnie Royce:  Base Laraw Kali Pamuok
Grandmaster Kyud Junn:  Lanada Kuntaw
Grandmaster Bobby Taboada:  Int. Balintawak Cuentada System
Grandmaster Nicomedes Elizar:  World Nickelstick Escrima
Grandmaster Samual Dulay:  Int. Modern Arnis Federation
Grandmaster Jerry Dela Cruz:  Arnis Cruzada Philippines
Grandmaster Dieter Knüttel:  Deutscher Arnis Verband
Tuhon Rommel Tortal:  Pekiti Tirsia Kali System
Grandmaster Bram Frank:  CSSD/SC
Grandmaster Rene Tongson:  Arnis Аbaniko Tres Puntas
Grandmaster Rodel B. Dagooc:  DAS / Modern Arnis

Balintawak Grandmaster Nick Elizar was the highlight of the whole doco! I would have watched the whole video on him alone. Gray Anderson. Australia. 09.08.2017.

Highly recommended documentary!

Marlon Elß. Germany. 09.08.2017.

Great history from a lot of great teachers.

Osiris. USA. 03.15.2017.

This video was amazing! The production quality was fantastic! Top notch video giving insight into Arnis in the Philippines.

Gary Meekin. USA. 11.19.16.

Let me say this is an excellent film and a gem of the Filipino Martial Arts documentaries. I really enjoyed watching it especially for seeing so many of my teachers and friends. Congratulations!

Dieter Knüttel. Germany. 03.09.2016.

Great video! High quality. I had an issue with the DVD not being able to play on my computer and contacted the producers of the film, Empty Mind Films. They resolved my problem by allowing me a downloaded version at no extra charge!.

Kevin S. USA. 11.26.2016.

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