IN AN effort to promote arnis in the region, the Benguet National Arnis tournament gains headway when it ushers in a competition on July 25 at the Benguet Capitol in La Trinidad.

At least 10 clubs are expected to join the one-day tournament organized by the Baguio City Arnis Federation in cooperation with the province of Benguet.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Trophies await the winner in the open, high schools and elementary divisions.

Seven weight divisions will be played in the open division, which will pit teams from the colleges and clubs from the various schools and organizations in Baguio and Benguet, according to event organizer Rodini Buyugan.

Five divisions will also be opened in the high school category while three age groups in the elementary will also be played.

Buyugan said invitations will be sent to arnis enthusiasts from as far as La Union, Mt Province, and Benguet.

Arnis was recently signed as the national martial art and sport.

Arnis-derived from the Spanish word "arnes" - which literally means armor - is known nationwide and even in other countries. But it often plays second fiddle to the foreign martial arts taekwondo, judo and karate in terms of prominence.

This martial art involves the use of one or a pair of wooden sticks as a weapon and a training tool meant to simulate a knife or sword.

Also known as eskrima, kali and garrote, and by various other names in the Philippine regions, it is characterized by the use of swinging and twirling movements, accompanied by striking, thrusting and parrying techniques for defense and offense.

RA 9850, which was signed by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Dec. 11, conforms with the state policy to inculcate patriotism, nationalism and appreciation of the role of national heroes and symbols in the Philippines' historical development.

With the enactment of RA 9850, the symbol of arnis will be inscribed in the official seal of the Philippine Sports Commission. (Roderick Osis)