Sikaran – The Filipino Kicking Martial art

What is Sikaran?

Mention the Philippines, and you might think of beaches, delicious cuisine, and friendly locals. However, few people outside this island nation realize that Filipinos have a centuries-old tradition of martial arts.

Sikaran is a dynamic combat style that emphasizes powerful kicks delivered with accuracy and speed by using a unique footwork system. Some practitioners even call it “the art of kicking.” It involves both offensive and defensive techniques as well as grappling moves. Sikaran has deep roots in Filipino culture and history; it was developed by natives who lived on the southern Philippine islands.

Sikaran is an age-old martial art that has been practised in the Philippines for centuries. It is unknown how old the art truly is however it is known that it is older than 500 years. This is known because the art was practiced well before the 16th century. It was during this century the Spanish would arrive in the Philippines.

The exact age o the art isn’t known because Filipinos did not keep a written history of many things. This led to confusion around items such as the age of things.

Practitioners of the art from the Philippines have opened schools in a variety of large nations which has provided Sikaran with a means of global expansion. Some countries that currently hold schools in this art are Australia, the U.S., and Saudi Arabia.

Sikaran The Filipino Kicking Martial art


The words Sikaran and kicking strongly intertwine. This is because the art is most known for its concepts around the use of kicking.

The art even has its own kicking strikes that are learnt within the art. The art emphasizes almost sole use of kicks during fights. It is advised to practitioners that 90% of strikes come from the feet and 10% from the hands.

The term “Filipino martial arts” (FMA) encompasses various systems of hand-to-hand combat and weapons-based fighting that originated in the Philippines. One of the lesser-known FMA is Sikaran.

Martial Arts: A Vital Component of Filipino Culture

Filipinos strongly value their country’s martial heritage, which draws from various cultural influences such as those from neighboring countries like China, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Spain (which colonized the Philippines for over 300 years), and indigenous tribes throughout the archipelago. Today, FMAs continue to play an important role in Filipino society.

They are practiced not just as means of self-defense but also as expressions of cultural identity. The practice also helps instill important values such as discipline, respect for elders (and others), humility before one’s teachers or seniors in rank or experience level (known as “masters”), perseverance through adversity or challenges both physical and mental/emotional/spiritual), courage against all odds no matter what difficulties may arise during training or actual combat).

For example: – Schools may incorporate FMA into their physical education programs.

– Police officers and soldiers learn FMA techniques to better handle violent situations. – FMA tournaments and exhibitions are held throughout the country, showcasing the skills of both young and old practitioners.

The Significance of Sikaran

Despite its relative obscurity compared to other FMAs like Arnis or Eskrima, Sikaran has a devoted following in the Philippines. It is seen as an effective means of self-defense that capitalizes on the body’s natural abilities. For example, kicks typically have more reach than punches, so they can keep opponents at bay while also delivering powerful blows.

In addition, the footwork system used in Sikaran allows practitioners to move quickly and smoothly while shifting between defensive and offensive positions. Moreover, Sikaran is an important part of Filipino identity because it reflects the country’s complex history.

The art has evolved over time as it encountered different influences from other cultures. Yet despite these changes, Sikaran has maintained its essence as a FMA that embodies Filipino values and traditions.

History of Sikaran

Origins and Evolution of Sikaran

Sikaran is a traditional Filipino martial art that dates back to pre-colonial times. Its origins can be traced back to the indigenous tribes of the Philippines, who developed their martial arts systems as a means of self-defense against local and foreign invaders. The art was developed primarily by the Tagalog people, but its techniques and principles were later adopted and modified by other groups in the Philippines.

The word Sikaran itself is derived from the Tagalog word “sikad”, which means to kick. This emphasis on kicking techniques makes Sikaran unique among other Filipino martial arts, which tend to focus more on weapon-based or hand-to-hand combat.

Over time, Sikaran evolved into a more formalized system with specific techniques and principles. It was further refined by various masters over centuries, resulting in different styles and variations being practiced throughout the country.

Influences from Other Martial Arts and Cultures

Sikaran’s evolution was also influenced by other martial arts styles that were introduced to the Philippines through trade or colonization. For example, Chinese martial arts such as Kung Fu and Tai Chi had an impact on certain aspects of Sikaran’s footwork, while Spanish fencing techniques were incorporated into some forms of stick fighting.

In addition to external influences, internal factors like geography also played a role in shaping Sikaran’s development. The rugged terrain of the Philippine archipelago meant that different regions developed their own distinct styles based on their particular needs and challenges.

Despite these influences, however, Sikaran remains deeply rooted in Filipino culture and philosophy. It continues to be taught as a means of preserving heritage and promoting physical fitness among Filipinos both at home and abroad.

Overall, understanding the history of Sikaran is important for appreciating its unique identity as a Filipino martial art. By understanding its origins and evolution, practitioners can better appreciate the techniques and principles that make it such a dynamic and effective system of self-defense.

Sikaran Techniques and Training

Basic principles and techniques of Sikaran

Sikaran is a martial art that is primarily focused on kicking techniques. The basic principle of Sikaran is to use your legs to strike your opponent while minimizing the use of your hands.

This unique approach makes Sikaran an effective system for self-defense against attackers who are not expecting kicks. The most basic technique in Sikaran is the front kick, or “sipa”.

This involves lifting one leg and using the ball of the foot to strike with a snapping motion. Other basic kicks include the sidekick, roundhouse kick, and back kick.

Each of these kicks has its own unique benefits and can be used in different situations. Sikaran also emphasizes proper stance and footwork.

A solid stance allows for better balance and stability while delivering powerful kicks. Proper footwork allows for quick movement around an opponent and can help avoid attacks.

Footwork is fundamental to Sikaran because it allows practitioners to move quickly around their opponent while maintaining proper balance. Proper footwork ensures that a practitioner can evade attacks more easily while preparing themselves for a counter-attack.

Importance of footwork and kicking techniques in Sikaran

Kicking techniques are also essential in Sikaran because they allow practitioners to keep their opponents at a distance, making it more difficult for them to land effective punches or grappling moves. Kicks also have a longer reach than punches, which means that they can be used effectively even if an attacker is out of arm’s reach.

Sikaran Kicks

There are many kicks in Sikaran. The well known Biakid kick is executed by pivoting to the back in a turn, similar to a spinning hook kick or a reverse round house in other martial arts styles and targets the side or back of the head.

A Sikaran Kicks effectiveness is classified as either Panghilo or Pamatay.


Panghilo is known as a paralyzing blow. This philosophy empathizes kicks that cause parallelization to an opponent.

By stealing the ability to move from an opponent in taking away their ability to defend themselves. By doing this the fight can easily be taken over and then won from that position.

This concept is mainly used in modern culture and organized fighting. It is done by targeting specified vital parts of the body that aren’t vital enough to cause death.


Pamatay is based around lethal kicks. It is clear this concept was widely followed in the past when this fighting technique was used in battles and as a means of self-defense.

Practically its use only coincides with fights to the death. With this concept vital parts of the body are targeted and struck. Some of these include the heart,spine and neck.

One unique aspect of kicking in Sikaran is that it emphasizes using different parts of the leg for striking, including the shin, knee, and instep. This diversity allows practitioners to choose which part of their leg will cause the most damage depending on where they are striking their opponent.

Sikaran Training

Training in Sikaran involves a variety of methods and equipment. The most common training equipment is the striking pad, which allows practitioners to practice their kicks and strikes with a partner or trainer.

Practitioners also use heavy bags and speed bags to develop power, speed, and accuracy in their kicks. In addition to physical training, many Sikaran practitioners incorporate mental training into their practice.

This can include meditation or visualization techniques that help improve focus, concentration, and calmness under pressure. Sikaran classes are often taught in a group setting, with instructors leading students through drills and exercises that help develop proper technique and power.

As students advance in rank, they may be paired with more experienced practitioners for more advanced techniques. Overall, the combination of kicking techniques, footwork, and mental training makes Sikaran an effective martial art for self-defense as well as physical conditioning.

Sikaran Tournaments

Sikaran has always been more than just a martial art. It has been a part of the culture in the Philippines. Though the art proves excellent in the field of battle it is also used as a means of sport. Villagers regularly come out to watch tournaments that solely feature fighters in this art.

The fighters fight in a set area until a winner is established. This has been taking place for centuries and has become something to marvel at, an event to watch with family.

In modern times fighters in this art wear armor as a means of safety. This helps in preventing injury when fighting in this style especially considering the deadly nature of this art.

Sikaran Styles and Variations

Different styles of Sikaran practiced in the Philippines

Sikaran has multiple styles that are practiced throughout the Philippines. Some of the most prominent ones include Sikaran Arnis, Sikaran Labanan Lahi, and Sikaran Doce Pares. Each style is unique in its techniques, philosophies, and training methods.

Sikaran Arnis is focused on weapon-based combat and incorporates sticks, swords, and other weapons into its training. It emphasizes speed and agility in both attack and defense.

Sikaran Labanan Lahi focuses more on hand-to-hand combat but still includes weapon training as well. It is known for its fast-paced movements and quick strikes that often target vital points on the body.

Sikaran Doce Pares combines traditional Filipino martial arts with Western boxing techniques to create a hybrid style of Sikaran. It emphasizes sparring as a way to develop practical combat skills.

Regional variations in techniques, training, and philosophy

The different regions of the Philippines also have their own variations of Sikaran with distinct techniques, training methods, and philosophies. For example:

– In the Batangas province, there is a style called Sikap Batangas that emphasizes powerful kicks. – In the Visayas region, there are several styles that incorporate grappling techniques along with striking.

– The Mindanao region has a strong Muslim influence which can be seen in their martial arts like Silat-Sarimanok which utilizes soft flowing movements. Training methods also vary from region to region with some emphasizing solo drills while others focus more on partner or group exercises.

Philosophies can differ as well with some instructors placing greater emphasis on discipline while others prioritize spiritual growth through meditation practices. Overall, these regional variations not only add depth to Sikaran but also reflect the diverse cultural influences found throughout the Philippines.

Philosophy and Values

Sikaran is more than just a martial art, it is a way of life that emphasizes discipline, respect, humility, and honor. These core values are instilled in every practitioner from the very beginning of their training and are reinforced throughout their journey. Sikaran has a deep connection to Filipino culture, where these values are highly valued and respected.

Core Values Emphasized in Sikaran

Discipline: Discipline is the cornerstone of Sikaran practice. Without discipline, it is impossible to master the techniques or attain inner strength. Sikaran teaches students to be disciplined in all aspects of their lives so that they can become better human beings.

Respect: Respect for oneself, one’s teacher, and one’s opponent is crucial in Sikaran practice. Respect for others promotes harmony and unity within the community as well as within oneself.

Humility: Humility is a significant value that helps prevent arrogance or overconfidence in one’s skills. In Sikaran practice, humility allows students to learn from their mistakes and improve themselves continuously.

Honor: Honor represents the moral code within which a Sikaran practitioner operates. It includes being truthful, reliable, loyal, and respectful towards others’ cultural differences while avoiding any cowardly or dishonorable action.

Role of Spirituality in the Practice of Sikaran

Sikaran also has a spiritual aspect that complements its physical training. Many practitioners believe that practicing this martial art can help them connect with their inner self.

It involves meditative practices such as breathing exercises (pranayama) which help them focus on their energy centers (chakras) while enhancing mental clarity and focus. Practicing spirituality through meditation can also help reduce stress levels by calming one’s mind and body so that they can approach challenges with an open mind rather than reacting impulsively out of fear or anger.

Sikaran can also help practitioners develop a deeper sense of gratitude towards life, respect, and appreciation for their self, others, and surroundings. The spiritual aspect of Sikaran also helps students cultivate compassion and empathy for others.

By understanding their own limitations, they become more aware of others’ struggles and can better empathize with them. Spirituality can provide them with a profound insight into the nature of human existence which can enrich both their martial arts practice as well as their everyday life.

Sikaran is much more than just a martial art – it is a way of life that emphasizes discipline, respect, humility, honor, spirituality, and self-improvement. The values instilled in Sikaran practice represent the best qualities of humanity which enable practitioners to become better versions of themselves both physically and mentally.

Famous Sikaran Practitioners

The Legacy of Meliton Geronimo

One of the most influential figures in Sikaran history is Meliton Geronimo, who is recognized as the father of modern Sikaran. He was born in 1911 and was raised in a family that practiced art, developing his own style in his teenage years.

He continued to develop his skills throughout his life and eventually established the Philippine Karate Federation in 1957. His contributions to Sikaran include standardizing techniques and creating a grading system for practitioners.

The Pioneering Spirit of Carlito Lanada

Carlito Lanada was another notable practitioner who helped spread awareness of Sikaran outside of its traditional homeland. Born in 1949, he began practicing as a young man and later immigrated to Canada, where he established several martial arts schools that focused on promoting Filipino culture through sports and physical activity. In addition to teaching hundreds if not thousands of students over his career, Lanada also wrote several books on martial arts including “Sikaran: The Filipino Martial Art.”

Contemporary Practice

Sikaran, like other traditional martial arts, faced a decline in interest during the 20th century as people became more interested in Western sports and cultural practices. However, Sikaran has slowly regained popularity in recent years due to efforts made by organizations and practitioners to preserve and promote the art. Today, Sikaran is practiced not just in the Philippines but also in countries around the world.

One of the major reasons for Sikaran’s resurgence is its effectiveness as a self-defense system. Many people are drawn to martial arts not just for physical fitness but also for learning practical skills that can help protect themselves or others from danger.

The techniques taught in Sikaran are powerful and efficient, making it a popular choice for those seeking to learn self-defense. Another reason for Sikaran’s growth in popularity is its emphasis on values such as discipline, respect, humility, and honor.

These values are increasingly important in today’s society where many people feel disconnected from traditional cultural practices or personal spiritual beliefs. Practicing martial arts can help individuals connect with these deeper aspects of themselves and find meaning and purpose beyond their daily routines.

The current state of practice for Sikaran around the world

Sikaran is now practiced globally with practitioners belonging to different age groups, genders, ethnicities and backgrounds. Countries such as the United States of America (USA), Canada, Australia UK have significant numbers of Sikran practitioners who either participate regularly at dojos or belong to organizations promoting this Filipino martial art.

In many cases, contemporary practice involves adapting traditional techniques to modern contexts or combining elements of different styles into unique hybrid forms. Practitioners incorporate various training methods such as sparring drills with protective gear like gloves and headgear which enhances conditioning while reducing the risk of injuries.

There are various schools around the world that teach Sikran including universities offering courses on martial arts studies which often include Sikaran as part of the syllabus. Private classes and online tutorials have also increased accessibility to sikran for individuals who cannot attend in-person training for various reasons.

Organizations promoting Sikaran globally

There are many organizations dedicated to preserving, promoting, and advancing Sikaran around the world. One such organization is the World Sikaran Brotherhood (WSB) which was founded in 1989 by Grandmaster Meliton Geronimo Jr. The WSB aims to unify different styles of Sikaran and provide a platform for practitioners to share their knowledge and experiences. Another organization is the Philippine Sikaran Arnis Academy (PSAA) which focuses on promoting the art both nationally and internationally.

The PSAA conducts seminars, workshops, and other events to educate people about Sikaran’s rich history, culture, techniques, and values. In addition to these organizations, there are many local clubs and associations that promote Sikaran through regular training sessions, tournaments or inter-club matches.

These clubs often provide opportunities for beginners to learn from experienced practitioners or undergo certifications under various recognised standards for grading. Contemporary practice of Sikharaan has evolved over time as it faces increasing challenges arising from globalisation affecting traditional martial arts.

Despite this challenge sikrana has grown in popularity due in large part to its effectiveness as a self-defense system , its value system which appeals globally across different cultures. The rise of organisation promoting sikran indicates that people are interested in learning more about this ancient art form leading ultimately towards its preservation into future generations.


Recapitulation on what is Sikran

Sikaran is a Filipino martial art that emphasizes the use of kicks and footwork to disarm an opponent. It has its roots in ancient Filipino traditions and has evolved over time through influences from other cultures. Its techniques and training methods have been passed down through generations of Filipino martial artists, contributing to its development as a unique and effective martial art.

The importance that this martial art has for Filipino culture

Sikaran is more than just a fighting style; it is an important part of Filipino culture. The practice of Sikaran promotes discipline, respect, humility, and honor – values that are highly valued in the Philippines.

As such, Sikaran serves as a tool for personal growth and character development in addition to being a means of self-defense. Moreover, Sikaran also has historical significance in the Philippines.

As one of the country’s traditional martial arts, it represents a tangible link to its cultural heritage. Through the preservation and continued practice of Sikaran, Filipinos can maintain their connection with their history while also promoting its cultural richness to others around the world.

Final thoughts on the relevance that Sikran has for today’s society

In today’s rapidly-changing world where conflict can arise at any moment, learning self-defense skills such as those taught in Sikaran can be invaluable. Furthermore, practicing martial arts like Sikaran can help individuals cultivate essential life skills like focus, discipline, confidence – traits that are useful both inside and outside of combat situations.

In addition to these individual benefits, promoting traditional martial arts like Sikaran can also contribute to cultural understanding and appreciation across borders. By sharing knowledge about their unique heritage with others around the globe through international events or demonstrations, Filipinos who practice sikran provide an opportunity for people from different backgrounds to learn about and appreciate their culture.

Ultimately, Sikaran is a martial art that has stood the test of time, remaining relevant in today’s world as it has for generations in the past. As Filipinos continue to practice and promote this art form, they are not only preserving an important piece of their culture but also contributing to a broader conversation about the value and importance of traditional martial arts globally.

Author Picture William

Author Bio

Hi, I am William. I started out in martial arts with Goshin Ju Jitsu when I was 7 years old. I am passionate about martial arts and love sharing everything I learn. I created Master Fighting to become a resource for learning about martial arts and alternative fighting styles. Learn more about me.