Is Filipino Martial Arts Realistic?

Is Filipino Martial Arts Realistic?

The answer to if Filipino Martial Arts is realistic is complicated, because the reality of Filipino martial arts depends on who’s asking the question. Westerners have preconceived notions about what “realism” means when it comes to the martial arts. Most associate the word with boxers, who are big and strong and hit each other as hard as possible, and who train for hours a day to obtain a single, lethal punch. But the word “realism” has other connotations, too, ones that don’t have anything to do with violence.

Filipino Martial Arts is an exciting and dynamic style of fighting. It is a mix of traditional styles and modern applications that originated from the Philippines and has traveled to other countries where the art has been adopted. It’s also a great way to learn about the history, people of influence and the cultures that brought them to where they are today. But is Filipino Martial Arts realistic for a modern day self-defense situation? Before we can truly answer this question, let’s look at simple components.

The Martial Part and the Art Part

The term martial arts can be broken into two separate words. The martial part and the art part. By definition, the word martial implies fighting. Art, however, is linked to creativity and expression. FMA students would have to balance their practice on what their preferences is between the two. Some students may be heavily gravitated towards combat while others are on the expressive side. Then, there are those that have both but with a favor towards one.

But what does this all mean when it comes to realism? It basically boils down to the practitioner and how they utilize it. There is risk everyday in every environment. Learning FMA will reveal its use and its up to the student to choose which part of it makes sense as the situations play out. Morality, ethics, discernment and knowledge of the law will guide a Filipino Martial Artist to choose its use.


In conclusion, FMA is realistic. The results of each situation will now come from how the concepts are taught and how it’s practiced from the learners. It is a weapons based system after all.

If you’re in the Virginia Beach area, come train with us at Impact. Our Filipino Martial Arts program teaches a system that is useful for many of our students.