Socks and other things Arnis

Photo credit:

Warm greetings from Dubai, UAE!  I’m here with hubby and mom for a much awaited month-long visit to my sister and her family.

Before I left Manila, I knew that there was little chance that I could do Arnis here and I felt bad about it.  Upon arriving here and amidst the hustle and bustle, I didn’t think of Arnis…for two days.

On the third day, I started to mope around missing my sticks. I tried to do empty hand exercises and they were nice but I missed the feel of those weapons in my hands. I missed doing the sinawalis, redondas, and strikes. I missed hearing those marvelous sounds they make when they slice through the air and strike each other. Most of all, I craved for that after-session muscle ache they always give me… Divine.


I became so cheesy that I sent this thought across the globe to my sticks:

images (2)
Quote by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Photo by


Then I saw my 12-year old nephew and 8-year old niece playfully hitting each other with their socks. A lightbulb suddenly lit in my brain! Of course! How could I forget? Ordinary items can be improvised weapons. In Arnis I can use ANYTHING and EVERYTHING as weapons. That’s one of the reasons why I adore Arnis!

Oh yes, yes, yes.

Thank you for that most amazing reminder. It cements my belief that Arnis is so relevant and workable.

So I borrowed the socks. They felt like short whips and getting hit with them were also painful. Arnis also has whips and it was good that I somehow got to try how they moved. Oh, the feel of having weapons, delicious! Then I also got a knife and a fork, and then keys. Weapons were everywhere!

After a while, I saw something wonderful… my nephew’s drum sticks!


THANK GOD, I have sticks!

Sure drum sticks only measure 15 inches but still, they’re sticks and they’re fantastic.

So here’s my obligatory Dubai tourist photo. The Burj al Arab with me… and my sticks.

Marhaba (Hello)

I’m happy now.

I hope everything is well with you too, my friends.



Interesting read:

The Filipino whip  Latigo / Bill Lowery/  FMA Informative Magazine, 2013 


7 thoughts on “Socks and other things Arnis

  1. aminahgarangan2014 October 7, 2013 / 3:20 AM

    Asalam wa Laikum, kay fal hal ya habibti? (Greetings, how are you my friend?). Looking refreshed ate Joy Dubai is serving you well. I see you are holding the drumsticks of your nieces, cute story. It looks like Arnis will forever linger in your mind and body as you never left it behind. Anyway, we miss you already. You might enjoy the holiday this Eidl Adha.
    Have you been to their local market? Did you taste some Shawarma or Kabsa? baklava maybe? I bet you did.

    • thedeadlydance October 7, 2013 / 11:12 AM

      I’m a happy gal here. Shukran, my friend. Yes, I also miss you, Master Cris, and all our Arnis friends there in QC. Good thing, I found out that there are Filipino Arnisadors based here and maybe one of these days I can watch them practice.
      The local market, not yet. The food, yes! Baclava goes so well with their chai.

      • thekuntawmanmustafa October 7, 2013 / 7:09 PM

        when i was a young man in the philippines, i got into a fight with some younger guys, who were way too young for me to fight. they didnt know what they were getting into, because i was an active regular fighter, and older than they thought. i was 19, they were about 14/15 years old. i had a weapon in my pocket, too dangerous to use on kids, and even my hands were too much for them, but they kept coming.

        so like my dad, i took off my belt. i ball it up, and went to work. when there was only one left to fight, i turned it around to use the belt buckle for my arnis. i still teach this today. 😉

        • thedeadlydance October 10, 2013 / 10:34 PM

          Thank you very much kuntawman Mustafa. Even as a young man you already knew when and how to use your skills. You could have easily hurt those kids with your weapon and empty hands but you held back.
          A belt? Oh yes, as in your story, they can be very effective in the hands of a skilled practitioner. But for me, I tried it yesterday when I read your reply. Wow, it’s not easy to use. I broke a cardinal rule in arnis : Do not strike yourself. 🙂

  2. Halford Jones October 9, 2013 / 11:03 PM

    DUBAI is an interesting place. A relative of my wife’s was married to the Philippine Consul who served them some years ago He is now deceased and he had many things to say about the place. Most of the work was done by FILIPINOS who at that time, manned the buses, worked the offices, and did work the Arabs did not want to do and also they tended to like living and hunting in the desert and did not like the high rises which often seemed empty. Nowadays, DUBAI is a mecca for tourists and foreigners. The oil money changes things. Enjoy your stay there. Arnis, as you are finding out, can be donw anywhere in the world if you think about it and make an effort. Daily practice leads to mastery.

    • thedeadlydance October 10, 2013 / 11:13 PM

      Yes, GM Jones, Dubai is so interesting and even now, I see Filipinos working everywhere– restaurants, malls, offices. We’re really all over the world (I say this with pride and sadness at the same time).
      You’re right, oil money does a lot as I see so many luxurious displays and lifestyles here. Well, I’m glad for Uae and also grateful that they have welcomed many Filipinos to work here.
      I’m enjoying my stay here alright, because I’m with my sister but I miss my arnis class in the Philippines.
      Thank you for visiting and commenting.

  3. thedeadlydance December 13, 2013 / 11:06 PM

    A comment from my always insightful friend, Mio:

    Time and again, I keep telling arnisadors not to limit themselves with the use of conventional weapons of the art, e.g. rattan sticks, wooden dulo-dulo, balisong, etc.

    Get out of the box!

    The greater part of learning arnis is to explore, experiment and apply the use of unconventional or alternative weapons. From time to time, let your hands feel the grip of some of the tools or items you have at home, e.g. screw driver, ballpen, edges of a hardbound book, flashlight with batteries for added weight, hammer, golf clubs, baseball bat, 1-lb dumb bells, monkey wrench, padlock, crowbar, steel or wooden cane, sharp end of a can opener, etc. and try to swing it in a manner as if to effectively hit somebody with a stab, slash, chop, etc.

    Ika nga, pag nagkagipitan, at buhay at kamatayan ang pinag-uusapan, matuto tayong maghawak at gumamit ng kahit ano. Hindi sa lahat ng araw ay meron tayong bitbit na rattan o kamagong.

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