Kali is an ancient martial arts form from the Philippine Archipelago (formerly Maharlika) that pre-dates the Spanish conquest of the island nation and is based on the use of the blade (sword). It is also the most popular forms of martial arts which incorporate elements from both Western and Eastern martial arts.
The Filipino people developed battle skills as a direct result of an appreciation of their ever-changing circumstances. They learned often out of necessity how to prioritize, allocate and use common resources in combative situations. Filipinos have been heavily influenced by a phenomenon of the cultural and linguistic mixture. Some of the specific mechanisms responsible for cultural and martial change extended from phenomena such as war, political and social systems, technology, trade and practicality.
Kali focuses on the ability to transition from fighting with weapons to empty hands fluidly, as there is always the possibility of losing or being without a weapon. Though there are several systems of Kali in use today, most teach elements of weapons fighting, striking, grappling and throwing/takedowns. A more aggressive maneuver like biting are also taught.
Kali practitioners believe that hand-to-hand combat moves are similar to those with weapons; thus, these skills are developed concurrently. Some of the popular combinations of weapons used are the single stick (solo baston), double stick (double baston), and sword/stick and dagger (espada). Along with this, the most frequently used training weapon is the rattan, a stick about the length of its wielder’s arm.
Kali is primarily a weapons-based style of fighting.Thus, it involves inflicting bad, often fatal damage to opponents with the use of weapons and empty hand techniques as quickly as possible. In the end, Kali practitioners are known for their lightning-fast movements and efficient footwork in wielding weapons.
Sources: Wikipedia, Robert Rousseau & Warrior Arts Alliance