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Manila, Philippines


Photo courtesy of Daniel Bernas

We welcome the month of June by celebrating the country’s independence and keeping the spirit of patriotism alive.

On that note, we bring honor to the country’s de jure national sport — Arnis, and tribute to a zealous practitioner of the art — Daniel Bernas.

Bernas is a Filipino martial arts world champion and a content creator, power striking social media tools to promote the beauty and value of the art.

His remarkable journey commenced at 18 years old when he picked out Arnis for his Physical Education class. Bernas’ career then flourished as he represented the Philippines in various local and international martial arts events, including World Martial Arts Festival, International Thang-ta Championship, World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation Tournament, Southeast Asian Games, and many more.

Moreover, he actuates younger generations to develop skills in the sport as an Arnis team instructor in numerous notable schools in Metro Manila. He also provides training and assistance in several martial arts workshops.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Bernas

In March 2020, Bernas launched his YouTube channel and utilized the platform to spread awareness of the art. He exhibits his love and passion for Arnis by producing content that features his personal process and insights on the sport that will promote Filipino martial arts.

In one of his YouTube videos, Bernas expressed the reason behind his admiration for the national sport. Arnis is diverse as it presents numerous styles and systems, which provides him opportunities to learn and explore new perspectives. He also explained that the sport is practical as it showcases techniques on how to use weapons. Lastly, Arnis is fun — carrying the principles of the sport, Bernas values the importance of doing the things you love.

The value of traditional sports may be insignificant to some, its relevance in shaping cultural identities remain indisputable. Our country is fortunate to have practitioners like Daniel Bernas -- devoted to bringing more meaning to our culture and the art of the sport.

To end this, let’s get a load of the origins of Arnis and admire its story of cultural heritage.

Employing varied weaponry for combat and self-defense, Arnis, also known as Eskrima, Kali, Garrote, was developed by indigenous groups in the Philippines as early as the 15th century. Filipinos honed their own simple yet effective form of combat through Arnis to defend themselves against attackers from other countries. The power of Arnis brought triumph in battles for freedom and liberty.

As a training ground and a practice of defending one’s life, Arnis was taught in schools during the pre-Hispanic era until it faded post-Philippine Revolution in 1986. Arnis was gradually revived over the years. In 1991, when the Philippines hosted the SEA Games, Arnis was included as a demonstration sport and continued to be part of the 2005 SEA Games. Furthermore, in 2009, Arnis was declared as a Philippine National Martial Art and Sport.


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