| Share on Facebook | Our Newsletter | Search
Martial Arts

African Arts

Dambe (Hausa Boxing)
Synopsis:

Dambe FighterDambe is a boxing form, practiced by the Hausa people, indigenous to the Saharan regions in Western Africa. Originally dambe included a wrestling style as well, known as kokawa, but these days only the striking art remains.

The matches have no formal weight classes, but instead are match-ups are determined by the size of the opponents. The matches last for three rounds with a round ending if one of the following criteria is met:

1. There is no further activity
2. One of the fighters or the referee puts a stop to it
3. If a fighter’s hand, knee or body touches the ground. This is known as ‘killing the opponent’.

The matches are fought without weapons, as is to be expected from a boxing style, with the lead-hand being called the ‘shield’ and being held with the open palm to face the opponent, it may be used to grab or hold as required. The other hand, referred to as the strong-side fist or ‘spear’ is wrapped in a piece of cloth and covered by tightly knotted cord.

Both legs are also used, but there’s been a significant increase lately, due to the wrestling part being omitted from the style. The lead leg is often wrapped in chain and then used for offence and defence alike. The other leg can also be used to kick.

Traditionally contests took place at the end of the harvest season, between members of the butchers’ guild and members of farm communities. Both teams were called armies, with the matches taking place in a cleared area referred to as the ‘battlefield’, with spectators forming the boundary of the ring.

In these traditional bouts amulets were often used, but in modern times officials generally discourage the use of such magical amulets, based on fairness.

These days, fights are no longer held in a cleared area, but in rings in stadiums or temporary rings outside factories. Nor are the fighters members of a guild or certain community, they are more often youngsters who train at gyms and compete year-round.

But, no matter whether modern or traditional, all bouts are still preceded by percussive music and chants. Both music and chants are associated with a certain group or individual and serves to call the boxers to the ring, taunt opponents and encourage audience participation.

The stances and single wrapped fist of dambe-fighters bear resemblance to pictures of ancient Egyptian and Hellenistic boxers. Therefore it is assumed that the style is related to ancient Egyptian boxing, this is supported by the assumption that the Hausa people lived further toward Sudan than they do today.

(Synopsis courtesy of Rathryn Ramos)

----
Accuracy is important to us.  If you have a comment or correction, contact us or add a comment on our Forum.  All related facts must be verified, please cite your sources.
Back to Top
Donga (Nguni Stick Fighting)
Synopsis:

Donga (Nguni Stick Fighting)Donga is a martial art focusing on weapon’s use, which was commonly practiced by Nguni herd boys in South Africa.

Traditionally the art is practiced with 2 long sticks, one in each hand, one serving for offence, the other for defence. The object being: to inflict pain upon the opponent by striking him.

Currently people are trying to nationalize the sport and make it more popular by adding set rules and regulations, as well as competitions.

(Synopsis courtesy of Rathryn Ramos)

----
Accuracy is important to us.  If you have a comment or correction, contact us or add a comment on our Forum.  All related facts must be verified, please cite your sources.
Back to Top
RAT (Rough And Tumble)
Synopsis:

The South African Defence Force conceived a martial art in the 1980’s this art recently became RAT, or Rough And Tumble. The main reason for development of the style was a need to train reconnaissance soldiers in armed, as well as unarmed, combat.

Nowadays people from all walks of life practice RAT, but most people still practice in small groups training themselves in the following areas: technical knowledge, strategy and creativity, open-mindedness, persistence and determination, martial arts skill and superior fitness.

The style is actually more of an approach to martial arts, as Jeet Kune Do is. Practitioners believe that they are contributing to a martial arts approach, rather than creating another style, by incorporating elements from many different styles of martial arts and indeed in higher levels members are required to enter competitions in other styles or gain levels of experience in those styles, because of this it was originally called “Rough And Tumble: the Sport of Integration”. And it actually applied to become a ‘Defence Force Sport’, but was rejected, because the reviewers believed that the range of techniques in RAT was better justified as a martial art instead.

Even though RAT is practiced in small groups, the learning and studying is mainly up to the individual, partially because of the requirement to learn other styles mentioned above. This makes it rather hard to test and grade RATs, as they are referred to. While this may seem confusing, all practitioners start with the same sort of syllabus and work in the same sort of areas throughout their RAT-career. These areas are divided into psychological and physical ones, the latter of which are: striking, standing grappling, groundwork, target areas, weapon-use, weapon-defense and self-defense. Whilst the former includes: application and demonstration of strategy, persistence and determination, ethics, laws, and display attitudes of open-mindedness and humbleness.

(Synopsis courtesy of Rathryn Ramos)

----
Accuracy is important to us.  If you have a comment or correction, contact us or add a comment on our Forum.  All related facts must be verified, please cite your sources.
Back to Top


Back to Top