There are many common names for Filipino martial arts in general, such as Kali, Arnis, Eskrima and the Anglo-American spelling Escrima.
In Europe, one usually speaks of Eskrima or Escrima, while in the US the term Kali is more common and in Asia more Arnis. However, there are all sorts of exceptions to this very generalized rule, so it’s best to leave that fix entirely.
Other theories suggest that in the Philippines north of the term Eskrima is in use, in the middle Arnis and in the south Kali. However, there are many other terms in the Philippines for Filipino martial arts such as Garote, Fraille, Estokada, Estoque, Pananandata or Sinawali.
In addition, these names mix throughout the Philippines and are sometimes even used in combination.
All of these terms have unambiguous ethnic and local origins and Google will provide many hits and theories to those interested.
In international usage, the name Filipino Martial Arts, short FMA has established.
All these terms are general terms for the type of martial arts, such as Judo or Karate in Japanese, Taekwondo in Korean or Wu Shu in Chinese.
Specific styles often use these generic terms as an afterthought in their names, and only when one speaks of a particular style one can speak of peculiarities and specializations. Well-known examples of such style names are:
• Doce Pares Eskrima
• Balintawak Arnis
• Cabales Serrada Eskrima
• Pekiti Tirsia Kali
• Bahala na Giron Arnis Escrima
• Ilustrisimo Kali
• Inayan Eskrima
• LaCoste Inosanto potash
• Latosa Escrima
• Lightning Scientific Arnis
• Warriors Eskrima
• Kombatan Arnis
• Modern Arnis
• Lameco Eskrima
• Villabrille-Largusa potash
to name just a few. Incidentally, this list is completely free of value and random.
In addition, many styles are subdivided into different expressions and then add the name of the respective grandmaster to the style name.
The different styles in the FMA differ in some cases considerably, so it is difficult to make sweeping statements about the training in the Philippine martial arts.
Incidentally, the “traditional” FMA does not exist. All the systems and styles we find today are hybrid systems or the evolution of older styles.
And that is a very important point in the FMA: they continue to evolve with the current needs in society and work and were and are highly effective and realistic.