The fundamentals skills in arnis are striking and blocking.
It takes intelligence first to understand the primary principles that makes a system effective. When we are talking about Arnis, what really matters is fluid body mechanics, eye and hand coordination, footwork, and lots of practice of the techniques of the particular style of Arnis that you will study.
What many term 'attributes' meaning those physical, mental and emotional qualities that are present or absent in every practitioner is what really makes a Martial Artist stand out and makes the difference regarding functional ability. Functional ability is what skill is all about; what others call skill may simply be an understanding of technique, but that does not mean that they are capable to use it in a real situation. Real situations whereby one must use counter offense/defense requires adapting to real time, real pressure and true aggression. There is no other type of true skill and therefore that means that fundamental skill in Arnis or any other system goes beyond a prescribed curriculum or any rote memorization of movement.
Martial Arts is beyond a physical activity. It is the ability to meet violence and overcome such violence with ingrained skills and any so called Martial Art that does not require for one to study under pressure and against near full-on attacks is nothing more than a means of selling false confidence. Arnis is hand-to-hand combat with or without weapons and if it sold as any other thing, in my opinion, is not true Arnis. Note: often times the terms Kali, Escrima, and Arnis are interchangeable the difference is generally based on the language of the region from which the art was developed.