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A Little history of the Martial Arts part 6

In part 5 we looked at some of the Arts from South East Asia and in particular the art of Kali/Escrima from the Philippines. We will continue our look at this most effective and deep art in part 6 and explore some of the symbols associated with this art.

When Guro Dan Inosanto studied the Filipino martial arts, he noticed that each Kali system had its own particular emblem or school patch. Although each design was slightly different, they all had common elements. The circle, triangle, and one or more weapons appeared in just about all school emblems. Guro Inosanto developed his emblem to take into account the history, religion, and cultural diversity of the Filipino people. He intended the symbols to represent the development of kali from the early 1500s until the present time.

Initially the design incorporated the “all seeing eye” of god. The eye, and now the circle, represents the omnipresent (present in all places at all times), omnipotent (a force of unlimited power & authority), omniscient (having infinite awareness, understanding, & insight possessed of universal or complete knowledge), and omnificent (unlimited & creative power) of the Creator.

Interestingly enough the all seeing eye symbol is found from very ancient times all over the world from ancient India to Egypt through the western mystery tradition and secret societies such as the Freemasons and illuminate,(see part 3 of this series) it can even be found on the back of a dollar bill on modern American currency above a pyramid ( a three dimensional triangle?).

The emblem also had the Roman numeral xxv representing the 25 Kali systems Guro Inosanto had studied at that time.


The circle represents Dlyos (the Creator). The two apparent triangles Depicted are the outside triangle representing the external Kali systems. Hidden within these triangles, or symbolized by them, are other triangles representing the numerous concepts, strategies, and moral values of the warrior?

The Buwan (moon) symbolizes how the warriors trained, in secrecy and at night by moon light. The half moon recognizes that only half of the Philippines were conquered.

The Suntok (fist) represents the Pangamut (empty hand) Filipino Fighting.

The symbol at the top of the triangle is the symbol for Kali (kamot lihok), Kaliradman Kalirongan, or Kattan.

The symbol at the bottom left of the triangle is Escrima, Eskrima, Esgrima, Estoke and Estocada.

The symbol at the bottom right of the triangle is Silat and Sikaran.

The Bolo (knife, blade) and the Olisi (stick) divide the emblem into four quadrants representing Norte (north), Este (east), Sur (south), and Oste (west). These four quadrants also represent the four patron saints (guardian or protector) Saint San Raphael, San Miguel, San Gabriel, and San Uriel.

The Olisi (stick) is divided by the Bolo (blade) into three sections representing the Norte (northern) Luzon region, Centro (central) Visayan region and Sur (southern) Mindanao region of the Philippines. The blade also represents the Visayan blade, but also symbolizes blades from Mindanao in the southern Philippines.

At the top of the universal triangle is the Diyos (Creator). This followed by Ka (self) and Kaaway (opponent).


Kali has numerous triangles that represent the physical, mental and spiritual side of the arts and the same is found in the inner mysteries of some of most of the world’s religions.

See you in part 7.