An eclectic martial arts style combining principles of Karate and Escrima into a well-rounded approach to self-defense was established in 1987 by Mr. Glenn Harmaning. He combined his extensive knowledge of Karate, Kenpo, and Filipino Escrima and Kali into a system which is based on the principles and dynamics of motion and physiology which encompass all the martial arts. The Japanese-Okinawan emphasis on strong, well-developed basic techniques, and the fast, fluid weapon and empty hand skills of Filipino Kali-Escrima form the foundation of the A.K.E.A. In addition, concepts from Chinese Kung-Fu, Korean Karate, Kenpo, Jujitsu, and Aikido can be found in A.K.E.A. techniques and skills. All instruction is geared toward use in and preparation for self-defense rather than sport applications.
The A.K.E.A retains some of the most important traditions of historical Japanese/Okinawan karate out of respect for the history and contributions of those masters and styles who formed the very heart of the martial arts we practice today. We adhere to the martial arts traditions that foster respect, discipline, personal honor, loyalty, and a sense of lineage. Although the martial arts are often associated with Eastern religious philosophies, the A.K.E.A. finds value in preserving these traditions without religious affiliation.
Other traditions that the A.K.E.A. preserves are: belt ranking traditions and practices, the bow of respect, the practice of forms (kata), standards of authority among black belt (Dan) ranks, the practice of breaking (tameashiwara), the practice of weapons along with the empty hand arts, and methods of sparring that differ from sport fighting due to their direct, skill-based application to self-defense encounters.
What is Escrima?
Escrima best known as a weapons fighting system developed in the Philippines. The use of the term Escrima is often interchanged in modern martial arts with two other Filipino systems Kali and Arnis. There are hundreds of individual system of Escrima, Kali and Arnis being practiced in the world today under the umbrella of the Filipino Martial Arts or FMA. The basis for what is taught in at the A.K.E.A. is derived from Tobosa’s School of Kali-Escrima. The initial focus of these systems is the use of one or two sticks, knives and swords for self-defense.
One thing that many people don’t realize is that legitimate Escrima systems are actual complete well rounded weapon and empty hand self-defense systems. All too often instructors will just part out the weapons portion of the Escrima and then combine that with their already existing empty hands fighting system. They then create two separate systems one for fighting with empty hand and one with weapons.
True Escrima, Kali, and Arnis systems start out teaching the weapons because in historical context in warfare it was rare that your opponent would attack your village or town unarmed. Thus the initial focus was on weapon skills. Once these fundamental basics were master the escrimidor could then apply these skills to a variety of weapons or empty hands self-defense. True Escrima systems include strikes with hands or feet, disarms, and grappling or locks.
Escrima isn’t as flashy as many other martial art systems nor does it use a lot of rigid forms. Instead it boils down to what makes effective street self-defense. While initially easy to use it can take a lifetime to actually master.