African and Caribbean Martial Arts List

Discussion in 'Western Martial Arts - General' started by Hu Ren Qianzai Long, Jan 23, 2004.

  1. About a year and a half ago, I made a list of western martial arts. Since then, I've found more and also wanted to give more information of each one as far as history, location, main ideas, etc. So, I've split up the regions into catergories, putting the Caribbean with Africa, consider most all of the Carribean arts are a result of the African diaspora. This will probably be the first of many versions, but here it is.

    P.S. Does anyone think this post should be moved to General Martial Arts, as Africa doesn't really fit with western?

    Neo-African Styles - Styles that aren’t native or traditional to Africa, but were developed recently from African martial art techniques and principles.

    -Afrikan Kimarekani Kutia Kivuli Ngumi
    African-American Shadow Boxing. Derived from Kwa Asilia Avita Sanaa. Used as somewhat a Revival for its predesescor and as tribute and as rembrence of the enslaved Africans

    is a program opened as a workshop to teach African. It is based on Afro-Brazilian Dance, martial arts, culture, discipline, and philosphy.

    -Kamau Njia
    Kamau Njia, which means “Way of the Silent Warrior” in Swahili, is based on instinctive movement, practical concepts, and sound principles. This is coupled with the ability to develop skills from an individual’s natural defensive and offensive movements. These skills are thoroughly enhanced through "real time" training scenarios against grabs, strikes, weapons, and ground attacks. Through these training scenarios, students are better prepared to function during the pressure and distress of violent attacks. Derived from a variety of martial arts methods. These include Ju Jitsu, Aiki Jitsu, Kempo, Boxing, Vee Jitsu, Law Enforcement Defensive Tactics, Filipino/Indonesian Martial Arts and African Dance.

    -Kiungo Cha Mkono
    (a.k.a. "Shackle Hands" and "The Shackle Hand Style") is an art developed by Master Nganga Mfundishi Tolo-Naa from traditional African arts. The hands are linked together based on the concept that two hands are better than one. It is also symbolic of Africans in slavery. It takes traditional blocks and strikes and combines into one action. This defense can be practical in application, but it is more flashy than anything. There are three levels, 1) hands joined at the wrist, 2) hands are separated, and 3) hands are crossed as the Egyptians are often depicted. The last being the highest level and symbolizes spiritual cultivation.

    Kupigana Ngumi- Known as the "Essence of African Martial Arts," Kupigana Ngumi is a comprehensive term that is inclusive of all Afrikan Martial Arts systems. Recognized for its rhythmic dance like movements, Kupigana Ngumi was founded in the 60's by Shaha Mfundishi Massi and Nganga Mfundishi Taloo-Naa. Kupigana Ngumi Is a complete system designed around four areas of training they are: Cultural, Emotional, Mental and Fitness.

    Mshindi Vita Saana- "Mshindi Vita Saana" is Kiswahili for "Champion War Art" or Victor('s) War Art. Mshindi Vita Saana is a system of self defense developed for and by people of African descent (African Americans.) Using an African frame of reference, Mshindi Vita Saana approaches self defense using rhythm, strategy, coordination and agility to highlight traditional and contemporary movements. At its core, Mshindi Vita Saana reflects the graceful elaborate polyrhythms found in African dance and music.
    African Martial Arts- These arts are native to Africa

    -El Matreg
    A North African martial art most commonly practiced as entertainment in Algeria. In this, two players fight using long sticks – the idea is to score points by outwitting and out-maneuvering your opponent.

    This Angolan art's sole purpose is to immobilize the opponent. However, because of the high risk of injury, the modern objective is to only knock them down. A predecessor of Capoeira.

    An Angolan art that supposedly involved punching that later contributed to the art of Capoeira.

    An Angolan martial art and predecessor of Capoeira, this art is much like modern Slap Boxing, it consists of bash your opponent open-handed.

    (or N’golo) An Angolan ritual martial art (used by the Bantu and Mucupis peoples) in which two males would fight in order to win a bride presented by the parents of the girl. The fight uses both hands and feet all to knock the opponent down. The winner would prove his bravery in order to recieve his wife. A predecessor of Capoeira.

    An Angolan art that later contributed to the art of Capoeira.

    a head bashing style of martial arts from Congo

    A martial art of Congo in which the fighting techniques are based on that of a rooster's. Believed to be an predecessor of Capoeira.

    a Martial art that later lead to the development of Kalenda.

    (a.k.a. Kemetic Aha, Ahah, Kemet Mariama) Aha is a tricky form of boxing and grappling practiced by the Kemites. According to some sorces, it was practiced exclusively by Kemetic priests.

    An ancient Egyptian boxing art still used today. The basis for Hikuta is the ancient art of Kuta. Today Hikuta is used for very modern reasons, mostly the defeat of criminals.

    Kuta was initially developed by the bodyguards of the ancient Pharoahs in Egypt as the most efficient and effective way to defend their king. Kuta remained top secret amongst the Asian rulers for over a thousand years until military soldiers found out the secrets. Today Kuta is the basis for the art of Hikuta

    Supposedly almost the same as Tahteeb, except that the fighters use longer staffs. *NOTE: Other sources say Naboot isn’t a martial art, but the name of the staff used in Tahteeb.

    -Nubian Wrestling
    Nuba wrestling, practiced for over 3,000 years, is one of the oldest forms of this ancient sport. The earliest known portrayal of Nubian wrestlers is found on a wall painting from the tomb of Tyanen, an Egyptian officer who died in 1410 B.C. While it is known that Egyptians recruited Nubian archers into their army, maybe this picture implies that Nubian wrestlers were also highly valued by the Egyptians. "Nubian" is a common term the Egyptians used to describe all brown- and black-skinned people living to the south. After studying the various wall paintings depicting Nubian wrestlers and comparing them to the myriad tribes in what is now modern-day Sudan, archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians have determined that the Nubas of southern Kordofan are most likely the descendants of the ancient Nubian wrestlers. Ancient Greek wrestling and Nuba wrestling are similar in style—the wrestlers are nude and score by takedowns (not pinning). These wrestlers can use their entire body, but modern Greco-Roman-style wrestling allows the competitors to use only their upper bodies for takedowns. Nuba wrestling, however, most likely predates Greek wrestling by several hundred years and has remained essentially unchanged for millennia.

    - Sebekkah
    A native grappling art of Egypt. According to one of our MartialTalk posters, Sebekkah requires much waist power in its movements.

    Tahteeb is played mostly in the Northern regions of Egypt by tuff men young and old who enjoy the challenge of a good fight, also it is a great way to show machismo and rack up potential brides. Like Surma stickfighting of southern Sudan, Tahteeb is played only by men and can get very bloody when two opponents do not particularly like one another. When Tahteeb is played nicely one man will attack and the other will only defend and then vice versa, but when men do not like each other and they play together suddenly the rules change and the real rules are announced, there are no rules. Due to the fullcontact aspect of Tahteeb, parrying and blocking are essentials to survival when playing the game, striking is the norm and joint locking is almost unheard off.

    An Egyptian martial art that is based on totem animal movements and spirit dances.

    Testa, or Riesy, is a brutal Eritrean headbutting art. It may also include kicks, hand strikes, parries, grabs, etc. Hand, foot, and grabbing techniques are very intricate and are solely used in order to strike the opponent with the “Big Knuckle”, or head. A Testaman may even bite the opponent’s windpipe or groin out of pure desperation.

    -Dula Meketa
    the stick fighting art of the Oromo people of Ethiopia

    An Ethiopian martial art that is used as a way to convey cultural identity through a fighting system.

    or Donga Stick Fighting, is a test of nerves and brute strength. The Donga of Ethiopia is fought to prove masculinity, settle personal vendettas, and most importantly, to win wives. The 50 or more men who participate in each tournament represent different villages. The contestants fight in heats, with the winners going on to the next round until the competition narrows to two finalists. The winner of the last bout wins the entire contest

    Borey is from the Gambia it is a grappling art of the Mandiga; it consists of knees, headbutts, kicks and holds to break the neck, leg, collar bone and arm. There is a similar art in Senegal called Laamb.

    -Gambian Wresting
    Gambian Wrestling is an African martial art that is a deep-seated tradition and national sport. The warriors wear loincloths called "Juju's" and strut, dance, spar, and brag in challenge of noisy support from the drums. The fight continues until a contestant is brought to the ground. Punching, kicking, spitting and flinging sand in the eyes is all legal. After sundown, the atmosphere builds with excitment as the champions come out to fight. Note: May be the same as Borey.

    - Peul
    A martial art of Guinea

    Arguably the first of all weapon-based martial arts, Kayti represents the origins of all weaponry. Though centered in Africa (primarily Kenya), the roots come from all over Africa. Kayti is the predecessor to modern swordplay (from China) and the better known Islamic Kali (from Philippines).

    The fighting techniques and disciplines of the Masai people of Kenya

    The traditional boxing martial art of Madagascar

    - Maratabeen
    An Arab martial art of Morocco

    Dambe, or Hausa Boxing, is a fist fighting system from Nigeria consisting of kicks, punches, knees and headbutts. Dambe is a savage method of empty hand combat and a testament to the creativity of African warriors.

    A kind of Wrestling practiced by the Yoruba of Western Nigeria

    -Igba Magba
    A martial art native to Nigeria

    A ritual martial art intertwined with the Korokoro dance of Nigeria.

    A stick fighting art of Réunion.

    A native style of wrestling from Senegal

    The art of Borey is also native to Senegal, and (in the Senegal style) consists of punching, kicking, headbutting, grappling, and joint locks

    a native martial art of Senegal

    Laamb (a.k.a. "Senegalese wrestling") is a wrestling art that takes place in Senegal. Before the event the beating of the drums along with the mellow voices of the singers will alert everyone that it's about to start. The crowd would gather around a sandy pit and watch several bouts before the final bout of 2 champions. The fighters would wear "wrappers" around their waist, which would be provided by their fiances or female relatives, and the rest of their body will be naked. The winner must knock his opponent's knees, shoulder, or back to the sand. Strikes and slaps are allowed nowadays.

    -Mkazo Ncha Shikana
    African pressure point grappling. Most commonly practiced in Senegal.

    - N’oboro
    A stick fighting art from Senegal

    A native style of wrestling from Senegal

    South Africa
    -Isinaphakade Samathongo
    an ancestral esoteric warrior system practiced by the Zulu and Xhosa tribes of South Africa. The system emphasizes strong combative techniques and ethical philosophy. It is used as an initiation into the “warrior-priest caste” of the two tribes.

    A martial art of South Africa. It consists of punching, headbutting, earslaps, and knees.

    -Nguni Stick Fighting
    Stick-fighting in Nguni-speaking areas of South Africa has an educational role, it teaches young members of society social values, gender roles, the worthy nature and respectability of physical endeavors. Zulu and Xhosa boys begin learning at an early age the utilitarian function of sport, sharpening physical skills and mental attitudes necessary for hunting game and combat. The rise of stick-fighting as a physical contest created a stage for young boys to assert themselves within a specific age-group, achieve a social identity in competition with others, and, possibly, achieve a degree of 'independence' unavailable to the common person.

    -Zulu Stick Fighting
    (or Zulu Impi) Long past its days of glory, stick fighting is no longer a common practice among the Zulu people, and practitioners struggle to validate its existence in these days of political turmoil, acculturation, and modernisation. Nonetheless, stick fighting appears to assist in upholding the traditional social system by perpetuating socially accepted modes of male behaviour and ideals. Stick fighting, as a cultural tradition, therefore continues to fulfil its traditional didactic function in some Zulu communities.

    -Nuba Stick Fighting
    Rarely practiced today, traditional Nuba Stick fights are most commonly practiced among the Moro tribe. The stick-fighting is a contest conducted by, as the name indicates, a stick and a shield between two contestants, This sport is always carried out at the end of autumn and the beginning of harvest, and it is completely forbidden during the cultivation season, in case it puts the youths off their work. Stick fighting is part of the ceremonies that follow the harvest, in which thanks is given to God for providing a good harvest. It is embedded in the spiritual traditions of the people.

    -Nuba Wrestling
    The ancestor of the ancient Nubian Wrestling; practiced by the Nuba tribe. “Wrestling is more than just a sport to the Nubas—it is a seminal part of their culture with both social and religious purposes. Boys prepare for manhood through wrestling competitions. Successful wrestlers achieve a higher status that follows them through life. Wrestling also has connections with fertility rites, ancestral worship, and animistic beliefs. It is so intertwined with all aspects of Nuba culture, it is feared that if the Nuba were to lose wrestling, it might cause them to lose other customs.”- National Geographic

    A native wrestling art of Sudan

    Evala is a wrestling sport practiced by the Kabye people of northern Togo. In wrestling competitions, boys try to prove there manhood by winning an Evala wrestling match and is used as an intiation ceremony

    A native wrestling martial art of Togo

    Unknown Country of Origin
    -Yuna Onse
    An art that is very similar to Capoeira, as it is one of its many predecessors

    Caribbean Arts- These arts were developed by the African slaves of the Caribbean

    Mani, a fighting-dance martial art, grew in 19th century among slaves of sugar plantations in Cuba. Only the men take part in it. The dancer in the circle does movements simulating fight, and chooses a protagonist among the others men of the circle. Then the elected "adversary" comes in the circle, and, in harmony with the other dancer, executes a choregraphy of movements, beetween fight and dance.

    -Koko Makaku
    The walking stick, Koko Makuku, was in fashion in Curaçao in the early 20th century. In addition to being used as a walking stick, the "koko makaku" was also used as a defensive weapon and for cultural and sports activities. Among these were stick-dancing, stick-fighting and the tambú game 'blood for the drum', thus reports René Rosalia in his contribution to the 'third seminar on Latin-American and Caribbean folklore', which took place in Curaçao in 1990. Stick-fighting, performed during tambú feasts, is also mentioned by father Paul Brenneker in his series "Sambubu".
    As in the old times practically every man went out with a stick, the development of the game of sticks was obvious, according to Brenneker. "The game of sticks was not bound to seasons or festivities and in former days it used to be played on Sundays, at approximately 4 o'clock in the afternoon. It was a game of skills. Each of two men held his stick at the ends, approached the other and danced and jumped around to the rhythm of the singing and clapping of hands of the spectators. A drummer would beat time. The men were supposed to defend their own head with their stick and simultaneously make efforts to strike the opponent with it on his head. They manipulated the sticks masterfully. If one of them saw an opportunity to deal a blow to the other on his head, he would be the winner. If the loser bled from his head wound, the bystanders would shout: "sanger pa tambú" (blood for the drum). The loser had to let some blood flow on the skin of the drum." This was made from a wine or rum barrel.

    (or Bénolin) a stick fighting art of Guadeloupe.

    (or Mayolé) Mayolet is a stick fighting martial art from Guadoloupe. It was developed from Danmyé.

    -Sové Vayan
    (or Sovayan) a stick fighting art that was created developed in Guadeloupe

    A Haitian martial art developed by the African slaves residing there. Developed for the same reasons as Machet’e and Capoeira

    A martial art developed by the maroons of Jamaica. Bangaran is taught from generation to generation.

    A Jamaican martial art developed by African Slaves out of a burning desire for freedom.

    -Danmyé (a.k.a. "Ladja") is the first martial art to ever be practiced in Martinique. Some slaves from Senegal and elsewhere, that were on there way to the island of Gorée created a fighting art inspired by the initiation ceremony of "N’golo", which symbolized the passing from adolescence to adulthood and included a confrontation which took the form of a fight. Fights were practiced in festivals, village fairs, and appointed fights until 1947, when the authorities banned Danmyé. There are many places to practice: in pitts, in front of a bank during a carnival, and bèlè events (what ever that is). The wrestler has to get the upperhand of his opponent while respecting the drummer's pace. A fighter can win by referee's ruling afte a decision blow, one of fighter being hit more than the other (amount of points in a 2-minute fight), lifting your opponent off the ground, or being immobilized on the ground (Kakan). It combines strikes with wrestling and grappling skills. The wrestlers determine the fightin space by dancing around in a ring to the rhythm of the drum, known as the introductory stage of the fight. The wrestler then draws an invisible circle which represents a magic space and any person entering the circle is an opponent. However, all strikes must be restrained and given without intending to hit. They can only be given to drive the opponent to refuse a hand-to-hand fight. The wrestler has to hit and move in harmony with the rhythm or the guilty party would be disqualified. The main goal is to score more points than the opponent does and hit without being hit.

    (or Kalinda) It is believed that kalinda began around 1860 when the freed slaves organized themselves into competing bands and held performances. Men, women and children gathered to sing, dance and be entertained by stick fights. The aim of each stick fighter was to deliver a blow that would hit the opponent on the body - any part above the waist - hard enough to fell him to the ground. Blows were usually aimed at the head and damage to the skull was a very common occurrence in stick fighting. The rules of the game were few. Hitting “under the belt” or striking a player when he fell or was forced to kneel was an infringement. Again, as long as a player's skull was cut he had to retire and drain the blood into the "blood hole", a hollow made for this purpose in the ground in the center of the fighting ring. The stick used was between three and four feet long and was about seven-eighths of an inch in diameter. It was made of cog-wood, the wood of the yellow poui tree or even the sour guava.

    -Trinidad Stick Fighting
    (a.k.a. 'Bois' or 'Sticklick') is an art from Carriacou. It was confined to two communiteis, Mt. Desire and La Resource. A conch shell is blown to call the drummers and the batonniers to the ring. There are many stances the main is to hold it with 2 hands in front of your face for defense and let swing down to which ever way you need. The object is to strike your opponet while moving away artistically to make them look foolish. It is a serious full contact art that can open gashes on the head and chest. Music is very important in most African arts and this is no exception. When the contestants get in the ring, different songs are played on the drums to help the contestants along.

    African Diasporic Arts of South America -These arts were developed by the African slaves of South America

    -Bate Coxa
    Used by Africans of bigger stature, the object of Bate Coxe was to knock the opponent down using collisions of the thigh. Bets were made of money or even women. A predecessor of Capoeira

    (a.k.a. Capoeira Batuque) Batuque is supposedly much like Capoeira (and one it's many predecessors), but much more dance-influenced. Much emphasis on kicking.

    Capoeira was created by African slaves, in Brazil, approximately 400 yrs. ago as a martial art. Capoeira possesses a very unique style that brings together beauty and power, developing mental balance, physical conditioning, self-defense, music and a profound sense of art, all at once. Capoeira can be done by anyone of any age or size. More than a martial art, Capoeira is also a social event filled with tradition and history.
    The one thing that stands out for someone witnessing a Capoeira game for the first time is the music. The music and lyrics play a big part in the way the game or jogo will be conducted. Different rythms call for a different speed and type of game. The lyrics which are traditionally in Brazilian Portuguese, also dictate game characteristics.
    The next thing that strikes observers about Capoeira is that the movements of the players are very different from any other type of martial art. A circle or roda is formed with the muscicians at the foot of it known as the pe da roda. This is where the players usually enter the roda with a cartwheel or some other type of move. Once in the roda the players (Capoeiristas) move and interact/react in various combinations of acrobatic and poetic moves. Capoeira has two forms, Capoeira Angola and Capoeira Regional. Angola is the original form. Angola is slower paced with subtle yet cunning moves and much longer games. The moves are slower, apparently relaxed and close to the ground. Regional is faster paced with more dynamic, acrobatic yet much shorter games. Regional is a newer form of Capoeira spawned from Angola. The players stay mainly erect and throw faster attacks, with more Jumps

    -Luta do Bode
    A headbutting martial art used by the Africans in Brazil. The goal is to knock the opponents head till the death. For this reason, the art is little used today. A predecessor of Capoeira

    Susa is an art very similar (and may be a style of) Capoeira that is practiced by the Saramaccan and Ndyuka diasporic people of Suriname

    An Afro-Venezuelan martial art

    African Diasporic Arts of North America -These arts were developed by the African slaves of North America

    United States of America
    -Jailhouse Rock
    In order to understand how an African martial art came to be in the Prison system in the evolved gloriously mutated manifestation known as “Jail House Rock” one needs to understand the political, economic and racially charged environment of the United States before and principally after the great “Civil War”.
    During the African Holocaust of slavery many African warriors were captured and with them came their traditional fighting arts. For obvious reasons most of the arts went underground or died out but not all of them. For example "Boxing" matches pitting African slaves between different plantations were popular as well as cockfighting and dog fights. The Europeans have been practicing the African art of “Boxing” for millenniums every since the Greeks adopted it from ancient Kemet (Egypt). Stick fighting to a very limited degree and the art of kicking and knocking were sometimes permitted. Exploiting the slave loophole in the Thirteenth Amendment the former slave states began utilizing the penal system to re-institute Slavery visa via the Black Codes. It is during this time period that African martial arts left over from slavery began to creep into the penal system. Here are some examples of the Black Codes. African caught without “visible means of support” could be made “indentured servants” to a white employer by the courts of law with penal imprisonment being his punishment if he left his new “slave master”. Excessive fines were levied against Africans for minor offenses and then the courts would turn around sentence these Africans to work for planters who would pay their fines. African orphans were turned over to white slave masters to work for free until they reached adulthood. To make matters worse those Africans who tried to migrate to other states to escape the new slavery functioning under the guise of penal conviction were forced to “post bonds or be declared vagrants, subject to arrest”. It is in this hostile racist environment that African martial systems that had survived the original slavery entered the penal system of the United States via ex-slaves and mutated into various styles at different prisons. Since the African language had long been forbidden and forgotten new regional names were developed to reference the art. Some of them are Jail-House-Rock, Closing Gates, 52, 42, Strato, PK, Mount Meg, Comstock, Gorilla, BarnYard etc. Due to the contemporary politics of the United States and the profitable running of prisons by private corporations this lethal art continues to thrive as a functional necessity of modern African Americans.

    -Kicking and Knocking
    A fearsome kicking and head-butting art developed by the African slaves.

    -Kwa Asilia Avita Sanaa
    Kwa Asilia Avita Sanaa is a deadly fighting art that can be used as an educational system, a competitive sport, and a form of self-enlightenment. Although Kwa Asilia Avita Sanaa attempts to remain consistant with the fighting systems of ancient African warriors, it does not emphasize the traditional methods of guerrilla warfare (Ambush, Assassination, and stealth). Instead emphasis is placed on internal development, meditation, breath control, and healing which includes medical gymnastic (self-defense techniques).

    I could find no information on the following arts:
    Batonique (May be the Same as Batuque)
    MgBwa (may be the same as Igba Magba)

    If you have any suggestions, corrections, or additions, please post them.
  2. Zepp

    Zepp Master of Arts

    Jan 16, 2003
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    The woods of Marin County, California, USA
    That's a nice list. I'd love to know what some of your sources are, as I'd be interested in finding out more about some of these styles.
  3. Black Bear

    Black Bear Guest

    I dunno why this is under Western.

    stickgrappler has info on JHR.

    When I was in Shaolin kung fu, my instructor, who was a black guy, taught us some African martial art called "La Regla" on the side. Never heard of it before or since.
  4. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    Aug 28, 2001
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    Terre Haute, IN
    What was it like?
  5. Black Bear

    Black Bear Guest

    To me, I thought it was just like capoeira. But then, I don't know that much about capoeira. There was a base movement, I think it was called jenga, which is a step, like a stance switch, and the lead arm would come in front. This would set the rhythm for the whole process. Circular, whole-body motions, momentum. Striking and kicking mostly. Hard to block when the whole guy is kind of spinning toward you, so we'd dodge and cover/shield.

    We didn't go in depth in it.
  6. Phil Elmore

    Phil Elmore Master of Arts

    Mar 30, 2002
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    The ancient "Pharoahs" didn't call themselves Pharoahs. There is no such thing as "Hikuta." This is a contemporary fabrication attributable to a single book published in the early 1990s.
  7. Bigodinho

    Bigodinho Guest

    I have been a student of Capoeira for 5 years now. I have heard of other very similar art forms, such as Mani in Cuba, and N'gola (also known as the Zebra Dance). But those other martial arts that may have been predecessors to capoeira, I was not aware of. Very, very interesting reading and I will pass this info on to the other students in our group, and to our Master, who is a bit of a historian on African art forms, and has made many trips to Africa in search of these forms.
  8. Enson

    Enson 3rd Black Belt

    Jun 17, 2004
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    Little Tokyo
    i don't know but i don't think i have seen a capoeira practicioner here before. nice to get some spice into the mix. hope you keep on posting your views on different topics and welcome to martial talk!
  9. Bigodinho

    Bigodinho Guest

    Thanks for the welcome. I came across Martial Talk when I did a general search on Halle Berry and capoeira (Catwoman), and I also did a search on Wesley Snipes and capoeira. I read in one of the threads that Wesley holds a black belt in Capoeira, and in reality, that's not true. I know because he's a member of my group and trained with my master. Either way, I've always wanted to know more about the other martial art forms of the world. This is a great forum. :ultracool
  10. Bigodinho

    Bigodinho Guest

    What you described is exactly what capoeira is. The basic movement, or stance as others may call it, is called the Ginga (zsheen-gah). Most of the kicks in capoeira are circular in nature, and there are no blocks in capoeira, due to the speed and momentum of the kicks. It could be very hazardous to your arm. To my knowledge, there are no African dialects that use Spanish words... "La Regla" meaning The Rule. It looks like your instructor was teaching capoeira and trying to pass it off as something else. BUT, then again, what do I know.:)
  11. Enson

    Enson 3rd Black Belt

    Jun 17, 2004
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    Little Tokyo
    i really don't know much about capoeira apart from the movie "only the strong". i thought that was an awesome low budget ma film. anyway you can see a demo video of your art on
    click on free videos and you can pull it up. i think they are actually in brazil which is cool. then again like i said i don't know much about the art. i didn't even think it existed in the usa.
  12. Bigodinho

    Bigodinho Guest

    Actually, there are schools all over the U.S. Our group, Grupo Capoeira Brasil, is one of the largests and most recognized groups in the world. We have branches in New York (four to be exact), Boston, Southern Virginia, North Carolina, Florida (Gainesville, Sarasota, and Miami), Two in Texas (San Antonio and Houston), Denver, Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, Fresno and even in Alaska. Don't even get me started on Europe! It's actually more popular in Europe than in most parts of Brazil. And that's just our group. Capoeira is pretty much in ever major city in the U.S., and in at least 90% of the states. If you got to our site here in San Antonio, you can see video clips of our group. You can also see clips of our master, Mestre Jelon Vieira, the pioneer of capoeira in the United States.
    By the way, "Only the Strong" is not a very good representation of capoeira. The one good thing it did was bring capoeira onto the silver screen and give it a bit of popularity. But it's actually not very good capoeira.
    P.S. The guys in the video clip you offered are excellent gymnasts, but that's about all they are. There is, however, one guy in that clip, in black pants with a white stripe down the side, who is performing capoeira movements, complete with kicks. But the other guys would never be able to pull of those movements in a capoeira game... and none of them, except for the guy I mentioned before, ever kicked once. But, the are outstanding gymnasts. I think the missed their calling.
  13. Michael Billings

    Michael Billings Senior Master

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    Apr 5, 2002
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    Austin, Texas USA-Terra
    Nice resource for a part of the world I know only peripherally. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Enson

    Enson 3rd Black Belt

    Jun 17, 2004
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    Little Tokyo
    i saw your videos. they are great! where in fresno do they have a school? i live in the mountains above fresno and i would like to go and sit in on a class. is that allowed. i know in some dojos they frown on it. i have been to some kenpo dojos and others where you walk in they stop class to ask why you are there. then you tell them that you just want to observe they look at you the rest of the time during their class.

    i also have a question for you. how effective in real combat is capoeira? it is very awesome to watch but i never see them actually training for combat or for self defense. it looks like they are dancing. don't get me wrong i would love to be able to do it but doesn't seem effective to me. is there anywhere i could see a video where they are using it to defend themselves? also is there any punching? looks like all kicks.
  15. Ghost Step

    Ghost Step Guest

    This post mentioned several African, Caribbean, African American and African South American Martial Arts. It was quite informative. The author mentioned a Martial Art System named Yara without definition. I studied Yara for 9 years with the founder of the system Onisegun Milford Graves. Firstly, the word Yara is from one of sthe languages from Nigeria called Yoruba. The word means to be nimble and quick. Onisegun Milford Graves is a Modern Renaissance Man and one of the worlds deepest thinkers. He is a famous Avant Garde Free Jazz Percussionist Extraordinaire. He is an Herbalist, Acupuncturist, Vegan Culinary Scientist, Horticulturalist, Botanist, Professor of Tenure at Bennington College of Vermont, Medical Music Tonaligist, Master Builder, Powerful Martial Artist and Husband and Father of 5 children. Yara Mind Body Arts was conceived from his mind when some athletic friends in the community requested him to start to hold classes in his basement of his home. This was a laboratory for some sweat and guts, knock down drag out experiences that have been documented by him on video. He is an avid procurer of valuable historic data.

    The 9 years that I trained with Onisegun Milford Graves I saw many practitioners bow in submission from all styles of Martial Arts. When he first went to Japan in 1977 some Japanese Martial Arts Masters took him to the beach to give him a ki test. They blindfolded him and from behind his back they punched at him on 10 different occasions to test his sensitivity to ki. He got a perfect score. The Japanese Masters acclaimed his abilities to be equal if not greater than O-Sensie Ueshiba. In 1993 I was priviliged to accompany him with a classmate while he was on tour. In the country town of Gugo Hachiman we put on a musical and martial demonstration in front of several Japanese towns people including the Mayor as well as many martial artist. They were curious and quite attentive to our performance. Onisegun Milford
    Graves gave the audience his realistic approach to combat using African and African American dance movements that have combative applications. Though wiry he is very strong with full body power. By him being a Trap Drummer he has phenomenal coordination with his 4 appendages. He has mysterious power, which has been cultivated like the ancients in Kemet (Egypt). He practices the sciences like Imhotep or Zoser of old. He often says through study of Microbiology and watching viruses, bacteria and the like, he found Martial Techniques. He really thinks out the box.

    Growing up in South Jamaica Queens and going to Boys High School in Brooklyn Onisegun Milford Graves had his share of fights in the Jitterbug era, before children started toting guns. The main difference in the Yara Closed Door Temple, which was a garage Onisegun Milford Graves converted into a Temple with International ambiance was that the majority of the teaching occured while you where battling on the floor and often it was with Onisegun Milford Graves. I fought enough seemingly for a life time and had sustained a few injuries myself and afflicted a few on others at certain times. There was one Energetic Form that was similar to Tai Chi and Chi Gong that everyone started with. We would also do anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes of calisthenics prior to Onisegun Milford Graves entrance into the class. Which shortly after his admittance we start banging. You would get the impression you were in an New York Stylized Shaolin Temple with contraptions and apparatus set up all over the small Temple space. He also had a heater that made the Temple quite arid in the Winter, you thought you was in an high altitude because you could hardly breathe cause the air in the Temple was so thin. Sometimes you were fighting for 1 hour with no breaks without mats. It was rough and tumble. It really helped build your endurance. It was like UFC way before UFC came out. This school was Male only because of the type on contact it was, very close and personal. It was not very welcoming for women. The 9 years that I was there only 2 women participated and one of them was my daughter. The other was a female musical protege of Onisegun Milford Graves and those classes lasted for a short period of time. My daughter was in a youth scholarship program which involved introductory classes in Math, Science, Acupuncture and Martial Arts. This course lasted a couple of months.

    Yara had elusive kicking, punching, grappling and moving push hands, which was a combination of Sumo, Wrestling and Tai Chi Push Hands with a hip polyrhythm. The first time I attempted it I found it to be the most exhausting thing I ever had done in life. But after a few months it felt rather great. I pray that this post may help others to understand what Yara is. I know my expression in actuality is far from complete. If anyone has questions I will do my best to answer them. Thank you.
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  16. Ghost Step

    Ghost Step Guest

    Yangumi- Intelligent fist a Martial Art form demonstrated by Professor Milford Graves the Creator of Yara Mind Body Arts. Imamu Amiri Baraka gave this name to this Martial Art form by Professor Milford Graves during the Black Power Movement of the Mid-Sixties.
  17. Samir

    Samir Guest

    Is anyone aware of any comprehensive books written about African and Caribbean Martial Arts? Also, the author of the African and Caribbean Martial Arts List has closed his account. Does anyone know how I can contact him? I really want to know what his sources were for the schools and styles he listed.

    Thanks in advance for your help with this guys. I'm planning on doing research and possibly a book on the African arts.

  18. Livio Girotto

    Livio Girotto White Belt

    Dec 10, 2004
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    That list is very impressive, I would like to contribute with one more item to the list, the venezuelan stick fighting system of Venezuela, known as "El Juego del Garrote", also as "Garrote Larense".

    If you are interested in it, try this web page:, or contact me trough


  19. K Williams

    K Williams Blue Belt

    Mar 11, 2002
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    NY, USA
    That's a nice listing of African & Caribbean martial arts. Do you know if there are any books/documents on the Caribbean martial arts? Specifically from the islands of Barbados and Trinidad? Thanks.
  20. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Aug 28, 2001
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    Terre Haute, IN
    There are a number of books on Capoeira, including academic works, but I don't know of any specifically on martial arts form Barbados and Trinidad.123

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