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According to Filipino history, the Kampilan is believed to be the main sword that struck down the famous explorer Ferdinand Magellan by the legendary Chief Lapu-lapu. Originally dual pointed with a carved hilt, these swords of the Moros of Sulu and Mindanao are carried by warriors who are in the first line of defense; and actually are considered a national weapon of the Moros of Sulu & Mindanao.
History shows a single swinging motion (like a baseball bat swing), can chop two heads (in which these swords are made for) at a time. So far, it is believed to be the longest sword of the Filipino warriors. The Kampilan is a heavy double pointed sword with a rich history in the Philippines. As maintained by tradition, the Kampilan is about 40" to 44" with a carved hilt with a single edge. Kampilans were widely used as "head-hunting" swords on enemies in the southern Philippines.
The handle is shaped like a jaw of reptile lizards and alligator makes this sword unique in appearance. In the past, strands of hair is attached to the butt-end of the handle for a more appealing and intimidating look.
Kali, Arnis, Eskrima & Kun Tao Staff
Four foot staff, used by Filipino Kun Tao warriors is the shorter staff for defending against other weapons in a more jungle environment. Long range to close range practice is often drilled. Clench range with the use of footwork and leverage is used to trap up and tie up an opponent limbs to a possible take down. Bullistically and accurately hitting all the vital areas on the body is always the follow up. The training methods are very precise and very athletic. This is one of the main weapons of Kun Tao Dumpag.
The five foot staff is the kali, Arnis and Eskrima staff. There are quite a few long range and mid range drills combined to develop the long and mid range fighting skills. In competent hands, this is a great weapon for defending against other weapons. They work especially well in multi man attack situations.
A traditional double edge sword to double the pain, and do a dual job that single edge sword can’t do. Kalis swords are believed to have originated in the 13th century on the island of Java in the Indonesian archipelago, and migrated to the Philippines, Malaysia, and various other Southeast Asian countries.
The Kalis sword is very distinct in appearance with various shapes and sizes. This particular blade is mostly straight from the tip down and wavy near the handle. Typically, Filipino Kalis swords are larger and heavier than their Indonesian equivalent. When used in combat the Kalis sword is primarily a slashing weapon but has dynamic thrusting power.
The Kalis sword is an important part of Filipino culture, history, and steeped in tradition.
The Tagalog region in the Philippines has used this bladed tool only for cracking coconuts and for harvesting root crops. Eventually it evolved to become one of the deadly weapons of the Tagalog people.
The Itak Tagalog was used by young boys who joined their father in the revolution and it was also used by the young women and their mothers in defending the town while the men are in the battlefields.
The Barong (sometimes spelled Borung) is a leaf shaped bolos that are popularized by the Muslims, especially the Tausug tribes of the Southern Philippines. Which later on reached the Mangyan Tribes of Mindoro and Tagalogs of the Eastern Luzon Provinces.
The unique leaf-shaped blade makes the Barong distinguishable from other Filipino weaponry. Though weird looking to most people, these Barong Bolos have the most comfortable grip when used as a utility tool, and is one of the easiest to maneuver when used as a weapon. It’s so funny how such a humorous design can be such a brutal weapon. This blade is a powerful addition to the Filipino practitioners collection.
The Barong is said to be the blade of the Kuntaoists (Kuntao players) in Southern Mindanao.
Balisong knife, is mistakenly called the butterfly knife outside of the Philippines. History on the Balisong knife seems to be vague though there are many myths and legends for this knife. The Balisong knife is very popular and named after a town in Batangus called Barrio Balisong in the Philippines.
This knife is like the “Swiss knife” of the Filipinos, who use it for almost anything. From peeling to chopping food, eating, fixing loose screws, cutting cardboard boxes, and many other things that you can think of, including it’s use for combat of course. The only knife that can be opened and closed with grace and style, but has a bad reputation as a dangerous weapon, and with good reason.
In the right hands of a knowledgeable Balisong player, this blade can be very deceivingly deadly.
The Panabas is a chopping weapon favored by the Moro tribes of Mindanao, which soon gained its place as a weapon of war similar to the western battle axe and with just as deadly results! This interesting 19th century Moro sword is an unusual and very hard to find weapon these days. The Panabas is not only used as a weapon but It is also believed that the Panabas has traditionally been used as an agricultural tool as well.
The Panabas can range in size from 2 to 4 feet; this particular one is 34 inches long. This single-edged sword, which takes on the appearance looking like a long handled Kukri, can deliver a dreadfully deep meat cleaver like cut. Due to its clean cutting capabilities it was also sometimes used as an execution weapon. It is said that the warriors wielding the Panabas would follow the main group of warriors up front and would immediately without discussion or attention to formalities, go in mopping up any survivors of the first wave of attack.
It can be used by holding it with one hand or two hands. Either way, in combat this particular sword can cut anything it comes in contact with right in half!
The Panabas hilts were often wrapped in rattan bindings or had metal collars. The one in the picture below is decorated in both wrappings so it is one solid sword from the tip right to the end of the handle.
The Punyal, a shorter fighting and/or utility bladed weapon of the Maranao tribes, is commonly referred to as the Kris Knife outside of the Philippines. The Punyal is a thrusting blade that is sometimes used in conjunction with the Kris Sword.
If you notice, the Punyal has no finger guard. Instead the tang extends back from the spine of the blade so that the blade hangs below the handle, protecting the fingers from an opponent's blade. That also protects the fingers from running up onto the edge during thrusts. This particular design has a flat area for more comfort in handling which is the design of the blade maker for the Punyal we have here.
Different versions of Punyal designs will be seen various tribal knife makers. It is considered an important side arm and is used in close quarter fighting.
There are many different designs of the Gunong. The Gunong is usually A Southern Philippine Maranao or Moro weapon. There are a few different designs of the Gunong; some straight like this one, some that are straight have a double edge. Some have the waves of a Kris blade.
The Straight Gunong is also a side arm like the Punyal. The Gunong is worn by tucking it in the sash, although the one wearing it does not suggest a fight or asking for a fight, a man wears it because of its multi purpose use.
Often (and until this day), men who have a Gunong tend to show it off and compare it with their friends’ Gunong just to appreciate it’s art and beauty.
The "Talibon" or "Talibong" swords exaggerated belly indicates its uniqueness. This lady sword was seen in the northern Philippines during the later part of the Spanish era to the early American regime. Used for hunting, this swords shape can both cut grass easily (while hunting animals) and slaughter the game when caught.
The handle used to be simple and ordinary until it was modified by the Filipinos to be used as a weapon during the later part of the Spanish era. The handle was designed to protect the fingers from getting cut during an enounter.
Perfect for close quarter attacks, the Ginuntings are shaped like a beak as the tip of these swords are curved downward, similar to Kukris of the Gurkhas. Ginuntings are the official swords of the Philippine Marines. The Ginunting is easier to use as a utility tool, as jungle bolos, for clearing brush, slaughter tools for hunting, chopping small pieces of wood for fire and a perfect weapon to carry. It is common to see a Ginunting along with M16s and the other firearms used for war in the jungles of the Philippines.
ESPADA Y DAGA
The Espada Y Daga (Sword & Knife) is a system or a technique that was developed and perfected in the Philippines. The focus of this method of fighting is to be able to go in and out of long, middle and close ranges to trap up the enemy and kill. Though, it is a fighting method indigenous to the Philippines, one of the inspirations for it's evolution is said to be European fencing, mostly Spanish; as you can see by the Spanish name of "Espada Y Daga!" One of the few long lasting cultural and martial influences the Spanish conquistadors left with the Filipinos was the Spanish names to some of the techniques and the names of the fighting systems popularly known as Arnis or Eskrima (sometimes spelled Escrima).
The Filipinos imitated the Spanish version of Espada Y Daga and soon found the weaknesses working a way to make the offensive moves complicated so Spaniards could not counter it.
To be able to coordinate such skills with a sword and knife together consisted of many hours of training drills for the development of the proper reflexes and good flow in using two weapons for parrying, checking, scooping, thrusting and slashing. Included in this training was the incorporation of geometrical footwork, body angling for evasiveness to be able to close in and attack without being killed.
Various locking, and takedowns from Dumog are normally added once a student has demonstrated good fighting skills. Both the Espada and the Daga (sometimes spelled "dagga") are employed at the same time with beautiful looking weave like movements are very deceiving and quick to finish the job!
This sword of the Regions of Cordillera Mountains was not ever used as a tool. It has one use only and that is to chop heads and other limbs on the body off. You can feel the potential and the chopping power just by holding this blade in your hands! The chopping off of heads is done when someone is to be executed due to a heavy crime, or when there is a tribal war due to land disputes or family feuds. Actually the Golok is still used this exact way to this day.
The Kris is the most common Moro sword found in Sulu & Mindanao. The Kris sword is extensively used by the Tausug, Samal and Yakan warriors. The waves of each Kris denotes a flame or a serpent (depending on who has made it and for what purpose). The Kris with the most wave will always be carried by someone with the authority and believed to give the deepest thrust and could even go through the enemy's body.
The waves are simply variations that tells a stranger where they came from, what region, or land, or their position in the community. The Kris has a rather vague history with folklore giving many varying accounts where some also believe that it is symbolic of the stingray's tail. Some believe it's a design of the mythical serpent or dragon and some believe it has a distinct religious association.
There are so many reasons why the blade of a Kris is shaped like a crawling serpent. Whatever the reasons are, these type of swords can deliver the most damage when used with both slash and thrust movements. Hacking works well with this sword due to it's unique design. The unique design of the Kris distributes the weight perfectly for hacking anything it hits in half!
There are many versions of the Kris and each version has names that are not far from it’s original name, like Kalis, Keris, etc.
SANDUKO Y DAGA
The Sanduko is a top heavy blade that was brought in the Philippines by the early settlers from Indonesia. Used mainly for farming, trimming tree branches, and dressing animals for feast, the small dagger that goes with it serves as the cutter for things that the long blade cannot accomplish easily such as peeling fruits, sharpening stick tips, and cutting the meat into small pieces.
Until revolution was called upon the Filipinos, these combinations of farming tools became very deadly weapons for resistance.
The Bicuco was known in the province of Tarlac, Pangasinan, and some towns of la union. Purely a working tool, this sword is considered by the Filipino people as a “long knife” that can be used for slaughtering animals and preparing the meat for a feast. But the nasty design of this long knife can actually cut a body in half very easily.
The Sansibar Sword, sometimes mistakenly known as the Zanzibar Sword. The Zanzibar sword, which is an African sword, mainly from around the Saudi Arabian/African border line area. If there is a historical connection between the Filipino version of the Sansibar and the Zanzibar, it is presently unknown!
The Sansibar was officially born in Leyte in 1881 before Spain sold the Philippines to America through a treaty. Mainly the sansibar was and still is used by the river men who cut bamboos and use it as floaters for their "bangka" or boats for local traveling. These same boatmen also travel the seas to cross to the other islands in the Philippines. That is the reason why the Sansibar design reached other islands within the Philippines. You will see various popular designs of the Sansibar sword...approximately 5 different designs in the various islands where the Sansibar had found a home.
The name Sansibar was first called "pang sibak", which "pang" means "for" and "sibak" means "chop" in Filipino term. So pang sibak means "for chopping," later the term evolved into "pang sibar" which means the same in Tagalog. Other explanations are "san sibak," meaning "one" (san or isan or isang) and "chop" (sibak) so to put them two words together "san-sibak" means "one chop!" Then much later on the name sansibar was adopted even though every Filipino dialect differs in almost every island. The hearing and the pronunciation of the word "Sansibar" changed until the occupation of America began...and then the word Sansibar was used as the standard name for this particular sword design.
This history is one strong theory supported by strong beliefs of the Filipino people. Any other history of this sword is not well known because a more popular swords like the "Katipunan" and "Pinute" were used by the katipuneros. Those swords are widely used in everyday tasks as tools of survival, and the Sansibar whose image, shape and style was temporality put aside. But then again, the Sansibar was also used by many of the katipuneros for all out combat purposes due to its perfectly engineered balance.
The Barong (sometimes spelled Borung) is a leaf shaped bolos that are popularized by the Muslims, especially the Tausug tribes of the Southern Philippines. Which later on reached the Mangyan Tribes of Mindoro and Tagalogs of the Eastern Luzon Provinces. When this sword crossed the island from Mindanao to the Visayas, it was modified to give it a more effective use, a hilt was added at the spine, and the handle was modified because of the small hands of the native workers.
The unique leaf-shaped blade makes the Barong distinguishable from other Filipino weaponry. Though weird looking to most people, these Barong Bolos have the most comfortable grip when used as a utility tool, and is one of the easiest to maneuver when used as a weapon.
It’s so funny how such a humorous design can be such a brutal weapon. This blade is a powerful addition to the Filipino practitioners collection.
Favored sword by those who lived near the seas in the province of Batangas, all the way to the island of Mindoro. The Dahong Palay is a dreaded poisonous snake that resembles the 'leaf of a rice plant. The deadly sword also named after it’s shape as the leaf of a rice stalk, is a tool used by farmers who works in the rice fields. However, during the revolution, some Batanguenos depended on this sword as their primary weapon due the amazing slashing and thrusting feel it has.
The only sword that ever existed in the Philippines that does not have a pointy tip. The War Golok is most simple tool that has ever been used by the Igorot tribes of the north. The tribes consider this as their “multi-tool,” for it can be used to chop wood for fire, carve wood and create decorations, for butchering meat, peeling and slicing fruits, and many more uses. The tribal wars that existed between tribes found another use for the War Golok so it evolved to become their personal weapon.
The Karambit (sometimes spelled as "Korambit") is an all purpose/utility knife that was carried by the Indonesians since the 11th century, and can still be seen in some provinces throughout their islands. Although this type of knife was introduced in the art of Indonesian Pencak Silat, only a few people knows that it’s roots can also be traced in the Martial Arts of Malaysian Bersilat, and Filipino Kali. In the Philippines, the Karambit is called the "Lihok." Pronounced Lee-hok! (sometimes you will see it spelled like this, Lehok or Lijok or Lejok) The word, "Karambit" is the most common word among English speaking people!
It was not meant to be used for combat since Karambit is first and foremost, a tool. It evolved only because of the necessity of the people of these three Asian Countries to protect themselves from foreign invaders.
This razor sharp Karambit is made of high carbon steel called 5160. Each knife was carefully hand forged and heat-treated to 59 to 61 rock tempered scale. This same treatment is used by the Japanese sword makers in tempering the katana.
Just like all steel, high carbon steel will rust if the owner does not give time for care and maintenance of the blade. Simple oiling (thin application only) will keep the Karambits from rusting like hell. Salty water, sweat, blood, and carelessness, will surely darken your blade. But it will not affect the steels performance. It can still kill and go through the human skull. Keep it sharp by using steel rods and stones.
The Garab knife is the little brother to the Garab sword. This is an excellent combat blade as well as a good utility blade. In other words, what the long sword like the Garab sword could not do in a task, the short Garab can take care of it. Tasks like cutting leather, ropes, Stripping sugar cane, etc., the Grab knife is perfectly designed for all types of uses! The handles and the modifications were done to achieve it's unique look which simply states that this sword has it's own identity. Even though it is a common bladed weapon, many rich men and landlords carry a Garab knife with their Garab sword while riding in their horses around their many hectors (2.2 acres) of land.
The Hagibis knife dates back to the Spanish occupation, but was re-designed by the grandfather of the now Grand Master (GrandTuhon) of Pekiti Tirsia Kali, Leo T. Gaje. It was Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje who made the Hagibis popular back the early 60's. The Hagibis was re-designed by him to make it a more effective "killing use only" blade! This blade was made for only one purpose...to kill. Any other tasks for this knife such as for utility use or for Philippine jungle survival is secondary.
MAGUINDANAO KRIS SWORD
Maguindanao means "people of the flooded plains." Maguindanao is in central Mindanao. It is bounded on the north by Lanao Del Sur, on the east by North Cotabato, on the west by the Moro Gulf, and on the south by Sultan Kudarat. The Spaniards launched expeditions to subdue the area throughout the colonial era but they never gained control of the middle of the 19th century due to the Rebellion of the people in this area and the skillful use of the Maguindanao Kris .
The Kris is the most common Moro sword found in Sulu & Mindanao. The Kris sword is extensively used by the Tausug, Samal and Yakan warriors.
The waves of each Kris denotes a flame or a serpent (depending on who has made it and for what purpose). The Kris with the most wave will always be carried by someone with the authority and believed to give the deepest thrust and could even go through the enemy's body. The waves are simply variations that tells a stranger where they came from, what region, or land, or their position in the community. The Kris has a rather vague history with folklore giving many varying accounts where some also believe that it is symbolic of the stingray's tail.
Some believe it's a design of the mythical serpent or dragon and some believe it has a distinct religious association. There are so many reasons why the blade of a Kris is shaped like a crawling serpent. Whatever the reasons are, these type of swords can deliver the most damage when used with both slash and thrust movements. Hacking works well with this sword due to it's unique design.
The unique design of the Kris distributes the weight perfectly for hacking anything it hits in half! There are many versions of the Kris and each version has names that are not far from it’s original name, like Kalis, Keris, etc.