Press Release
July 30, 2010

Zubiri affirms commitment to promote Arnis

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri today reiterated his commitment to support and promote 'Arnis' as the country's national martial art and sport.

Zubiri, an arnis practitioner himself, has authored Republic Act No. 9850, or "An Act Declaring Arnis as the National Martial Arts and Sports of the Philippines."

Zubiri has been practicing arnis since he was 16 years old, or over two decades now. He was named National champion in his weight class in 1988 then proceeded to become World Champion in 1989 at the 1st Arnis World Championship held at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

In pushing for the arnis law, Zubiri aims to unify all styles of arnis - kali eskrima under the Filipino Martial Arts (FMA).

"At present there are literally 120 to 150 different styles of arnis in the country. We really have to standardize techniques and forms," he said, noting that while arnis is already the country's national martial art and sport, it has not been taught properly in schools due to its various styles and techniques.

He said he would push for the creation of a coalition or group, to be called the Alliance of Filipino Martial Artists (AFMA), under which all the various styles would be reconciled.

He promised to stage arnis Congress once that the AFMA is organized "where we can harmonize to discuss and create one Bible of rules that every arnis practitioner must vow to respect."

At the same time, Zubiri expressed concern the own home-grown sport and martial art is more popular abroad than in the Philippines.

The two biggest FMA organizations in the county are Arnis Philippines (ARPI) and the World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (WEKAF).

In line with his commitment to promote the sport, Zubiri will participate in the celebration of the 5th World Filipino Martial Arts Festival in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, 7 p.m. tonight and deliver an inspirational message before its participants.

The Arnis Cultural Contest and Gala Night will be held at AA Plaza Hotel in Puerto Princesa.

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