Kuntaw is an ancient art of native Filipino hand and foot fighting using both hard and soft techniques. It is one of the oldest self-defense arts devised by Filipino Muslim royalty prior to the Spanish regime. Long before the coming of the Spaniards to the Philippines, systems of unarmed (kuntawan) and armed (kali) fighting were being taught and developed.
Kuntaw is a Filipinized term for the martial arts. However the type of kuntaw which was passed down to the lower classes of the country later on was accepted more as a national sport than as a fighting art. The particular styles of kuntaw practiced by Filipinos since the 14th century are considered a secret fighting art.
There are two distinct arts involved in this, first sikaran, which deals alone in the use of foot techniques, second is kuntawan, which is the combination of hand and foot techniques.
“In kuntaw, the study of vital points of the human body and how to hit them is a special art in itself, it is called kuntaw sapol, meaning hitting the vital points,” said Kuntaw Grand Master Lanada. “These points are broken down into three categories: primary, secondary, and temporary.
There are a hundred or more vital points in the human body, but many of these can only be reached by an acupuncturistís needle. The points we emphasize are the easiest to get to and are where nerves, sensitive bones, breakable joints, and vital organs are located. An expert (dalubhasa) in this art can easily damage his enemy by just lifting his hands or feet to hit the vital point of the attacker.”