7 African Martial Arts You Probably Didn’t Know Existed

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Musangwe

Musangwe is a South African form of bare fist fighting and boxing. The Venda people, which includes various cultural groups, have been practicing this martial art for centuries. The fights have taken place in the Chifude Valley since its inception.

 

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Nuba Wrestling

The popular style of wrestling comes from south Sudan. The Nuba people have been wrestling for centuries and like other forms of wrestling, the objective is to get your opponent on their back. Historically, wrestlers would fight naked but now it is more common to fight in shorts and t-shirts. The younger wrestlers are trained by former champions, creating a system of community and sharing of talents. Most of the tournaments occur during planting and harvesting festivals.

 

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Tahtib

This stick-fighting martial art originates in north Africa and dates back to the Old Kingdom of ancient Egypt or Kemet. The reliefs from the archaeological site of Abusir shows the stick dance in detail. The fighters used a four-foot stick called an Asa, Asaya, Assaya, or Nabboot while they performed to music. This fighting style was instrumental in the training of the Egyptian soldiers, along with archery and wrestling. “Far south of the Nile is Ethiopia, home to the aggressive stick fighting art of the Suri people,” reports Vice. This style of fighting can be seen in a variety of geographic areas.

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