“ARNIS DE MANO” – is misleading Spanish term, which is means “harness of the hand”. The term was originally derived from the Spanish word “Arnes”, which referred to the decorative trappings or “harnesses” worn on the hands of the Moro-Moro actors; “de mano” refers to the hands. The word “Arnes” was soon corrupted into presents “Arnis” Arnis de Mano uses Spanish words almost entirely to describe its techniques. With its very title a Spanish expression, this fueled the popular misconception, even among Filipinos, that Arnis was brought to the Philippines by the Spanish invaders.
“ESKRIMA” – is also the Spanish word for “Fencing” of use of the sword. Further, the Spanish word “Estocada” is derived from the defensive theory of “bull fights” used by the “Matador” (bull fighter). According to the Eskrimadores and Estokadores from the Tagalog provinces, Moro-Moro actors were required to learn Spanish Esgrima (basic fencing skill), and Estocada (basic defensive skills) for their presentations, combined, they form a secondary representation of Arnis de Mano curriculum.
Shortly after the Spanish occupation, Arnis de Mano became widespread in the Philippines that in 1896, Jose de Azas started the first school dedicated to the study of Arnis and Eskrima. This marked the first public arena for the practice of the Filipino schools called “paaralan” (equivalent to the Japanese “dojo”). The students were taught social ethics and code of the true Filipino warrior.