Arnis de Mano (pronounced "ahr-nees dee man-o") is the contemporary name of the Filipino martial arts systems that come from the northern Philippine island of Luzon.
The basic meaning of Arnís de Mano is "armor of hands". By this, it is referring to the functional use of weapons and empty hands for self-preservation and protection. In the central and southern islands of the Philippines, the arts are more commonly known as "Escrima" or "Arnis". Escrima is the Spanish word for "fencing" or "dueling with swords". There are actually hundreds of unique styles and variants of these arts throughout the Philippines, especially when regional dialects and personal innovations are considered. However, despite the controversies behind the origins of systems and styles of Filipino martial arts, it remains that the "Arnís", "Escrima", are overall the most commonly used names for the indigenous Philippine fighting arts today.
The Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) is the only martial art that starts as a weapons art an advances to empty hand. The Filipino Martial Art utilizes a rattan stick or baston (20 to 30 ins.) in a single or double stick configuration (develops the left hand as well as the right), the stick/sword and dagger (Espada y Daga), the dagger and empty (live hand), as well as numerous other weapons.
FMA encompasses 12 to 24 basic striking patterns with as equal number of blocks or counter. Multiple strikes as well as blocks transitioning into strikes can take place in less than a second. Disarm techniques, grappling techniques, kicks, elbow strikes, and knee strikes are also utilized.
A well-trained Filipino martial artist can use any weapons that are available, since the striking patterns are the same regardless of the weapon. You need only make adjustments for the weight and length of the weapon. The weapon is viewed as an extension of the hand and therefore any good practitioner is just as effective with the empty hand as with a weapon.