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7 African Martial Arts You Probably Didn’t Know Existed

Oung Dambe boxers during a match. Photo by Jane Hahn

Oung Dambe boxers during a match. Photo by Jane Hahn

Dambe

According to Slate, “Dambe was historically practiced by the Hausa butchers’ guild around harvest or festival time and was considered to be a test of bravery, a rite of passage for marriage, or preparation for war.” The west African boxing style is extremely popular in Nigeria, southern Niger and Chad, where boxers fight with one hand. The boxer’s strong hand is covered in a wrap and called the spear. The other hand is free and called the shield. Kicking allowed as well. Each match has three rounds and the boxers must knock their opponent out within that time frame.

 

lutte(2)

Lutte Traditionnelle

Lutte Traditionnelle or traditional wrestling is a west African type of fighting that is commonly practiced in Nigeria, Senegal, Niger, Burkina Faso, Togo and Gambia. The goal of this form of wrestling is to get your opponent outside of a ring. They can also be knocked down.  The sport has different variations that include punching in some countries. As the sport has grown, there have become more international competitions.

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18 thoughts on “7 African Martial Arts You Probably Didn’t Know Existed

  1. The Nuba people are a part of SUDAN not South Sudan

  2. interesting; only heard of nuba wrestling.. doesnt brazilian MA, capoeira, originate from africa tho?

  3. Capoeira is from Brazil. There was no capoeira in Angola until Brazilians brought it. It does have African roots.

  4. Andrew where did you got it from Capoira originated from Brazil. It's the other way around. The African slaves were the one that brought the Capoira to Brazil. Do you know what's the name of the oldest Style capoeira' s name is? Angola… Stop switching the pages….

  5. Not true. Enslaved Angolans brought capoeira to Brazil. Learn the history correctly.

  6. Malaika,
    I'm a capoeira teacher. I know there are conflicting histories but I think the simple fact that Angola had no Capoeira around until Brazilians brought it back in the 20th century is probably good evidence. Chances are it has African roots but was developed and became what it is today in Brazil. There are no records so there's no point in discussing it because we are just hypothesizing. Do you know anything about capoeira?

  7. Shayden Frazier Exactly correct, man. In Brazil.

  8. Samuel Boyd says:

    How can we the word out other than Facebook?

  9. There is plenty of evidence that capoeira was started by African enslaved people. They were not allowed to fight or practice fighting without white people killing them because of fear of revolt. So they began to hide their fighting in dance.

  10. i dont like people who teach and take on African cultural activites , but fail to pay respect to the african origins.

  11. Kenimal G Asnarfsagad everything came from somewhere and will belong to someone else eventually. I understand how you feel.

  12. Adama Cheto says:

    There's one in Kenya called Sehlat. It looks sort of like Wing Chun, and was also invented by a woman.

  13. The second picture, is called "Kokawa" or "Kokuwa" in Hausa Language. meaning "Wrestling" in English.

  14. African countries will serve their citizens by standardizing these practices and making them part of their Physical Education Curricula in their schools.

  15. Mark Lovejoy says:

    A handful of blurbs regarding traditional wrestling in Senegal, Sudan, South Sudan, and Ethiopia.

    http://wrestlingroots.org/

  16. CHARLES KASHIKA says:

    I THINK CAPOEIRA ORIGINATED FROM AFRICA AND FROM ANGOLA IN PARTICULAR, JUST TAKE A LOOK AT THE ANGOLAN MARTIAL ARTS ENGOLO, IT HAS BEEN PRACTICED BY ANGOLANS FOR GENERATIONS AND SOME THE STYLES PRACTICED IN CAPOEIRA STEM FROM ENGOLO.

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