About the Film

“The Bladed Hand” is an independent documentary that explores the secret world of the Filipino Martial Arts (FMA, known variously as “Arnis”, “Eskrima” and “Kali”) and their transformation from a group of indigenous fighting styles used for tribal defense, to an international influence on entertainment, law enforcement, and the martial arts culture of the world.

You have seen FMA, perhaps without realizing it, in Hollywood films ranging from Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon”, to the Jason Bourne movies.  Military and Law Enforcement Organizations have highly prized and sought out the Filipino Martial Arts for their efficiency, effectiveness, and elegance, and many martial arts schools have adapted and adopted FMA techniques and concepts into their training.  Yet, in the land of their birth, the arts still largely remain in a secretive and arcane world, existing in the periphery of a modernizing developing country that often seeks to embrace foreign values and culture, while neglecting its own.

This documentary brings the story of FMA back to the place of its birth and seeks to regenerate pride and interest in an art that has long been neglected in its native homeland, despite the success and popularity the art has found around world.  This project will be of interest to anyone who is concerned with martial arts, history, culture, the transformation of indigenous cultural practices in the global market, independent film, or documentaries.

Creator Jay Ignacio’s film was inspired by his initial curiosity and interest in this secretive cultural treasure.   Through the making of this film, he not only documented the transformation of FMA around the world, but also his on transformation as his deepening understanding and appreciation has led to his own adoption of the arts as a dedicated practitioner.  As the first in-depth look into FMA by a non-insider, “The Bladed Hand” is a historic endeavor, a labor of love, and a journey of discovery.

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