Kali Overview

The Filipino Art of Kali is a highly effective, close quarters, in-fighting system of combat from the Philippines. Based on tactics and strategies derived from edged weapons, Kali is a complete system incorporating both weapons and empty hands methods. Designed for both single and multiple attackers, Kali is both ancient and modern. Kali is proven effective in combat and indispensable for today’s heroes of the law enforcement and military community.


Our programs include both traditional training in Filipino Kali as well as specialized programs for law enforcement, emergency rescue, and military. Traditional programs are designed to promote authentic Filipino combative arts and serve to develop highly skilled leaders. Programs for Law Enforcement include instruction in Defensive Tactics for police officers, state troopers, SWAT and tactical police as well as FBI, TABC, and ATF officers. Other programs have included gubernatorial and presidential protective detail as well as VIP protection services. Yet other defensive tactics programs include training for EMS, Fire and other emergency rescue personnel who are often placed in danger during their service to the community. Military programs include counter terrorism and specialized training in close quarter offensive and counteroffensive tactics for US Marine Corps and Philippine Marine Corps including the elite Force Reconnaissance Marines.


Because, the nature of warfare involves the use of weapons, Kali training begins with weapons skill development. The weapons are trained first to develop proper movements and body mechanics, to increase intensity in training, and to condition constant weapons awareness. Training in this method allows one to understand the nature of warfare, weaponry and the dynamics of attacks, and be able to properly apply principles of offense and counter-offense with effective tactics and techniques.

Weapons training includes edged and impact weapons of various lengths, flexible weapons, and firearms. Empty hands methods include Pangamut, involving striking, guiding and immobilizing with the hands and arms; Sikaran, which incorporates kicking and leg clearing; and Dumog, which uses takedowns, breaks and ground-fighting. The main categories of weapons included in Kali are the following

Solo Baston – Solo baston includes single stick, machete, bolo, kalis, espada (sword), or any long weapon held primarily in one hand. It is the primary training category to develop the principles, attributes, mechanics, tactics, and strategies of Kali. For safety, training usually employs a rattan stick, measured from armpit to fingertips, but application is suited for both edged and impact weapons.

Doble Baston - Doble baston, or “double stick,” includes training with two long, one-handed impact or bladed weapons of equal or similar length. Doble baston is also known as sinawali. Sinawali is a name derived from sawali, patterns found in woven panels of split bamboo used for walls, mats and other construction in the Philippines. The complex intertwining movements of the doble baston remind one of the sawali weaving patterns. Training with doble baston develops ambidextrous coordination to be used with all categories of weaponry.

Daga – Daga or Dagaso Tirsia includes close range infighting with knife and dagger tactics. This includes the use of one or more knives of any size from an inch or less to the length of the forearm. Techniques applied are passing, guiding and slashing rather than blocking and grabbing. Knife technology is the core of Kali and a sum of all its parts. Daga application is refined with skills drawn from all other weapons categories.

Sibat – The Sibat subsystem includes any weapon that requires two hands for control, including long sticks of many lengths, spears, swords, even rifles and bayonets. Based on the spear (sibat) at long distance (malayu), Sibat methods attack with continuous slashing motions and powerful hooking thrusts targeting the body, legs, hands and head of an opponent. Training in Sibat rapidly develops torque and body mechanics used with other weapons categories in the system.

Modern Firearms – Modern firearms training primarily incorporates the retention and control of firearms in close quarters encounters. Offensive and counteroffensive tactics are essential elements together with proper positioning and strategy. Techniques used are disarms, reversals, and counters based on the commonality of motion principle.

Hand-to-Hand Combat – Empty-hand fighting includes what is known as Dumog and Pangamut. Dumog is Filipino grappling and involves both close quarter grappling techniques, throws, breaks and ground-fighting which relates closely to Indonesian Pencak Silat. Pangamut includes fighting skills with the hands and involves mostly striking, evading, and guiding with hands, forearms, and elbows. Empty hand combat in Kali emphasizes no-nonsense, effective techniques to quickly immobilize an opponent or opponents. 

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