Filipino Canadians push for “arnis de mano” to become accredited sport in British Columbia

VANCOUVER — The group Arnis BC hopes that Filipino communities will take up stick-fighting as a sport and as physical activity.

Arnis instructor Jeshurun Cabactulan has been going to different Filipino events to conduct arnis demos and workshops.

Cabactulan, along with Arnis BC are hoping these demos will inspire different communities to take up Philippine stick fighting as a sport and as a fitness activity.

“Lahat ng martial arts, ang benefit physically is magiging strong yung katawan mo, magiging physically fit ka, mentally fit ka rin.”

Their group is targeting at least a thousand signatures, which they hope to present to sport BC to prove that there’s community support for the accreditation of arnis in the province.

But Arnis BC organizers admitted that they still have a long way to go.

A major challenge is how to gather the instructors of the different schools of arnis, so they can take the best movements from each method and develop a curriculum.

“Iba-ibang klase ang arnis eh so pati sa pangalan merong tinatawag na kali, eskrima, sikaran, depende sa region ang tawag sa kanila. Ngayon, we wanted to unify them para makuha yung magagandang movements sa bawa’t sports na yon and then present it as a curriculum.”

Lopez said as part of their Filipino heritage, young Filipinos should know about arnis history and techniques so they can pass these on to the next generation.

Cabactulan said arnis is comparable to other Asian martial arts like karate and taekwondo, and there’s no reason why it should not get the same recognition here as well.

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