Peace Means Having A Bigger Stick

Sure, the title is a quote from Robert Downey Jr. as he played Tony Stark. But wisdom often comes from the most unlikely sources. Today, I’d like to touch on a martial art style known as Kali.

Depending on your course, this style of martial art may be referred to as Escrima or Arnis. I have come to know it as Kali because of it’s attachment to Kempo karate, which is the style I currently study and train with.

Because RIOKK has roots in Hawaii (RIOKK means Regina Institute of Kempo Karate, by the way), there is a significant Filipino influence on the style. As such, the school tends to train with the Kali sticks a great deal.

Kali is extremely versatile and offers a number of variations unlike most weapons I’ve seen in the martial arts. It can apply to the sticks, machetes, blades and even empty hands. Just to be clear, my main focus over the past three decades has been empty-hand combat. I’ve had very little experience in weaponry with the exception of the samurai sword, which I have trained with in depth.

But since training with the RIOKK school, I’ve started training extensively with Kali sticks. It’s a whole different ball game when you start fighting with a stick in your hands as opposed to empty-handed. How much more basic can you get than fighting with a stick? Since the times of our ancient ancestors, using a stick to fight has been an expected tactic. Spears, lances and similar weapons that have evolved from the use of a basic stick all demonstrate that Kali can and should be considered as an effective weapon.

Some background information can be read through Wikipedia at

An example of wooden rattan kali sticks

Listen, I’m still an empty-hand guy, no doubt. But if I HAVE to use a weapon, it may as well be a weapon that can be accessed anywhere, right? Any old stick will do with this fighting art. Sometimes the simplest methods are the best. ☯

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I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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