Moros of Mindanao
Reader Don posted the following:
I’m glad to find such a recent post on this topic. I’ve seen the same things you and cook are talking about. From my knowledge Giron’s and Cabales’ arts came from regions of Spanish occupation but I still can’t find a Moro (Filipino Muslim ) fighting system use the Kali.
I’ve read an Illustrisimo book where the current grand master refutes Kali and it should be corrected kalis Illustrisimo reflecting the blade (kalis) . As for the Indonesia and Malaysia argument, everyone calls it [pencak] silat over there. And silat is also weapon based that do address long weapons at certain level of training. so I advise people not to assume one empty hand and the other is weapon. Also look for the general meaning of silat, escrima,and arnis. They all reference “fighting” in some way, simple as that.
Kali always gets this romanticized story to validate it.
The money quote is here: “I still can’t find a Moro (Filipino Muslim ) fighting system use the [term] Kali.”
And I’d be willing to bet money, Don, that you never will. As Nepangue and others point out, every single arnista of renown is either Visayan (with the vast majority of those from Cebu), or Ilocano (Ilocos and Pampanga regions). Anyone in Mindanao who practices arnis is typically a transplant from the Visayas.
And the Illustrisimo clan, noted for the use of the term kali, are Cebuanos.
Once again, I am NOT saying that kali practitioners are no good, nor am I saying that you don’t have a right to call your art kali. What I am saying is that kali is not necessarily better than arnis or eskrima as practiced in other parts of the Philippines, and that there is no indigenous Muslim art called kali.
I will take any Visayan or Ilocano practitioner of the FMA over any indigenous Mindanao art practitioner, any day.