Arnis: The art of fighting with sticks

Introduced to Vietnam by foreign coaches of the national Pencak Silat team, Arnis has become one of the most popular sports in big cities as it helps practitioners have strength, endurance and flexibility.
According to Nguyen Danh Phuong - Arnis coach at KickFit Vietnam, Arnis is a martial art of the Philippines. This martial art is also done in some Southeast Asian countries under the names Krabi Krabong or Trumbu. Since 2005, the Arnis martial art has become an official sport in the Southeast Asian Games.

To begin Arnis, practitioners have to learn how to move and handle the sticks before learning the nine basic fighting techniques. Learners can quickly become proficient in Arnis if they are aware of how to start the competition and direct the path of the sticks in order to create their own strength and speed in each move.

There are two types of sticks in Arnis, a 76-cm long stick for the right hand and a 28-cm long stick for the left hand. Normally, 36 training sessions are enough for practitioners to take part in the competition.

Arnis attracts participants of different ages.

Coach Nguyen Danh Phuong instructs new students to handle the sticks. 

Handling the stick is important as it determines the effectiveness of strikes.

After practising for 3 months, 50-year-old Can Cong Xa has mastered 9 basic techniques of the martial art.

Practice makes the sticks go faster and the student becomes stronger. 

Arnis is also suitable for women. 

Greeting an opponent before a competition. 

 Temple strike is one of the techniques used by participants in the competition.

After mastering the nine basic fighting techniques, students can take part in an Arnis competition.

Arnis practitioners wear protective clothing to avoid injuries in competitions. 

In the Arnis competition, there are two parts, combat and performance. For the combat part, competitors with protective armour are matched according to their weight. Practitioners use nine basic fighting techniques with individual strengths in each move. For example, a top of the head strike will come with a poke in preparation for the next strike. The performing part includes the individual category, three person category and five person category.

50-year-old Can Cong Xa said: “I studied this subject online and went to a KickFit center to practise. After 3 months of practice, I feel healthier and my thinking and reflexes are faster”.

Arnis not only helps people improve their health but also provides defensive skills in every situation, and thus is attracting an increasing number of followers
Story: Ngan Ha – Photos: Khanh Long

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