Okichitaw? Native American Martial Art

Discussion in 'Western Martial Arts - General' started by mrhnau, Apr 20, 2008.

  1. mrhnau

    mrhnau Senior Master

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    I spent a bit of time looking around on Wikipedia today, and ran across this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okichitaw

    I was wondering if anyone knows of this art or if it is legit? I get kind of wary about Native American arts, but this looked fairly interesting. I know there has been periodic discussion of native arts, and I thought this might provoke some interesting discussion :)
     
  2. Steel Tiger

    Steel Tiger Senior Master

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    Well it does look a lot like a synthetic art, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Its definitely a legitimate martial art but I would like to know more about the Assiniboine and Cree elements. I have seen some Native American wrestling techniques, and there are numerous references to fighting skills throughout the ethnographies of North America.

    The problem with Native American fighting skills is that they have not been codified and written down so no one really knows what was going on with them. It looks as though Lepine has decided to do just that. His codification has made it look a lot like Asian schools though.

    It may not have been his prime motivating force, however. I think that the need for a sales gimic was the priimary force here.
     
  3. tapetemowin

    tapetemowin White Belt

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    Hello!

    As a student of Okichitaw, studying under Okimakhan Lépine, I can assure you that neither this art, nor it's presentation is a gimick. Nor is it a money-making enterprise, because that has never been Lépine's motivation. I trained for many years in Aikido and in Taekwondo, (which is how I met Lépine initially) and, like most of you who have been around for a while, one picks up very quickly whether one is talking to a yahoo and when the genuine article is in front of you. I knew in the first five minutes of speaking with Lépine that he was the real deal. Since then, I have had the great priviledge of working closely with Lépine and it has been one of the most gratifying martial arts experiences I've had: imagine working with a great technician who has imagination, unique skills and a strong cultural/philosophical base and genuine humility.

    When I first heard Lépine was codifying Okichitaw, I made it clear to him that I was interested in training under him because I saw that it was the chance of a lifetime to be part of a rare process - not just of working through technique, (which is interesting in itself) but also watching how the underlying philosophy of the Grandfather Teachings are applied and illustrated. I have never left the training lodge disappointed or disgruntled: every class is gift.

    I would be very happy to field any questions you might have on Okichitaw and I will answer to the best of my abilities.

    With respect,

    Tapetemowin
     
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  4. Flipsyde

    Flipsyde White Belt

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    I've been meaning to check this place out and hopefully get to meet Okimakhan Lépine, but I was only in Toronto for a short time, I am currently moving to Toronto and so, I will be attending Okichitaw classes once I arrive.

    Like what tapetemowin said, this is the real deal, the Canadian Aboriginal martial arts. I believe that Okichitaw is the first martial art form to be created in Canada, no?

    I also found a video on youtube. be sure to check it out.

    on another note, I do have a question for tapetemowin, can you please let me know what rank you currently are in Okichitaw? and have you done the purification ceremony already? (sweat lodge).
     
  5. mrhnau

    mrhnau Senior Master

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    I highly doubt it. Perhaps a better question would be, is it the first martial art form to be created in Canada and still currently taught? I'm sure other martial art traditions existed in the past.
     
  6. Jai

    Jai Black Belt

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    I have a strong Native American bloodline tie on my mothers side of the fmaily. Looking at the information as someone not within the art I can tell you this looks very much like the real deal. Very nicely done as well I might add.
     
  7. Flipsyde

    Flipsyde White Belt

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    Yes I agree that there may have been other form of arts in the past,

    but the point I was trying to make was Oki Chi Taw is formally recognized as a unique indigenous martial art of Canada by the World Martial Arts Union.

    but I agree there may have been past arts. my grandfather was taught how to use the nontoni towin mistik, Tomahawk and other various traditional weapons as his father taught him and so on. now my father is passing this down to me and I will do the same with my children. I guess you could say that Okichitaw was created for the modern world so that non-aboriginal and aboriginal people can take up this art.
     
  8. tapetemowin

    tapetemowin White Belt

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    Tansi!

    I'd like to thank all of you for your interest in discussing Okichitaw; there have been several important points made and I will try to respond to the direct questions and to try to elucidate as many of the discussion points as I can.

    First, the question from Flipsyde regarding my rank and whether the sweat lodge has yet been introduced. The ranking system of Okichitaw is divideded into four segements, each of which represent one of the four directions with the symbolism inherent to each. Each of the segements have four levels, three of which are indicated by stripes on our belt; when one passes from one door, or direction, to another, the transition is indicated by a rosette on the end of the belt opposite the stripes. When one has completed the journey through the - for lack of a better term - 'basic' techniques, one would have twelve stripes on one side and four rosettes on the other. Within the next week, I will be testing and, if I am to pass, I will receive my first rosette and pass through to the southern direction. Unusually, in my experience, each ranking level requires a full essay on an assigned philosophical teaching in addition to the ability to execute perscribed tehniques to a high standard.

    It is important to note that all of the senior students, of which I am one, hold senior rank in other disciplines, (first black belt and above). None among us is motivated by blasting ahead in the ranks; we are more interested in getting things right for the future of the art, which makes it a great atmosphere in which to train. Okimakhan Lépine is interested in building a strong foundation for the art and this is not done by diluting the value of the ranking system. Also, there is an awareness of the temptations to sell senior ranks that has caused difficulty in other emerging arts that are based on traditional teachings; the need to be above suspicion is yet another reason to proceed slowly, with care and with a transparent process, through our ranks.

    We have not yet done a sweat in the program, but we will do so: I am looking forward to my first sweat lodge ceremony, (purification rite) in the fall, if I am lucky.

    As to the debate on whether Okichitaw is the first or the only martial art to be created in Canada: it is indeed, the first to be recognised by an international governing body, in this case WOMAU. There have been others we have heard of who have developed systems based on tradtional techniques passed on within families, as Okimakhan Lépine has done with Okichitaw, but none that I am aware of has survived the rigours of time and local interest. We are hoping that other Aboriginal peoples will learn from the example of Okichitaw and do something similar with their own traditional skills. That would be really interesting!

    I hope I have answered responded to everything. If you have other questions or observations, I will happily respond to the best of my abilities.

    With respect,

    Tapetemowin
     
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  9. Taker87

    Taker87 Yellow Belt

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    True but just like the U.S. canada is made up of many different native nations, Like there's this martial art called Isuna Nika that's the martial art of the Lakota Nation, Oki Chi Taw is I'm sure the original art of the asiniboine nation.
     
  10. Taker87

    Taker87 Yellow Belt

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    My mistake, Isuna Nika is the martial art of the Comanche Nation. Other native martial arts are Lua, Mau Rakau, Pahi, Lima Lama (Kahuna Nation), Rumi Maki (Peru), Kalapalo Wrestling (Brazil)
     
  11. Taker87

    Taker87 Yellow Belt

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    It looks authentic, there's three other native martial arts I know about, Lua (Martial art of polynesia), Isuna Nika (Comanche), Rumi Maki (Peru).
     
  12. tapetemowin

    tapetemowin White Belt

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    Tansi!

    There are many 'authentic' indigenous martial arts from all over the world. The World Martial Arts Union, (WoMAU, headquartered in Korea) was set up to support - and to showcase - those martial arts, the well known and the more obscure. There are 'authentic' martial arts in pretty much every country.

    If we want to have an interesting discussion, lets talk about what it means to be an 'authentic' martial art. What does 'purity' mean in martial arts terms? Does it - can it - exist? How long does a martial art have to be around - in an organised, codified state, let's say - before it can be called real? Who decides?

    There are very few martial arts that I know of that can claim any kind of sustained lineage and even then, I'm not too sure how far to take claims that those arts are absolutely 'pure'. (Taekyeung and Kerali are the only ones that come to mind, the latter with documentation, including forms, going back five thousand years.) All of the well-known 'authentic' martial arts that we all can name are derivative to some degree. Most have their roots in the twentieth century. There are forms of warclub fighting systems or even cane fighting in virtually every part of the world - which of them is authentic? All of these? None of these?

    I wonder if 'authenticity' in the way it is used here, really is asking about whether Okichitaw - or any other of the hundreds of indigenous martial arts - is really a cult of personality built around one person who may but need not be still standing at the end of the day. The same test can be applied to any emergent martial art. Just look to the arguments surrounding Jeet Kune Do. Is that an 'authentic' martial art? Why? Is it because the guy who founded it is famous? Or is it because there is critical mass in the numbers of students and schools offering the art?

    I look forward to your thoughts on these questions.

    With respect,

    Tapetemowin
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2008
  13. Taker87

    Taker87 Yellow Belt

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    When I said authentic I meant it in the sense that it's an authentic martial art of Cree Nation not just system built together with other martial arts systems of non cree origin.
     
  14. Taker87

    Taker87 Yellow Belt

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    Jeet Kune Do is also a hybrid martial art, it's a mixture of martial arts styles unlike Oki Chi Taw (Cree), Wushu (Chinese), Lua (Polynesian), etc. get my point?
     
  15. frank raud

    frank raud 2nd Black Belt

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    From Wikipedia:
    Okichitaw is a martial art based on the fighting techniques of the Assiniboine and Plains Cree Indians,[citation needed] intermingled with techniques derived from Judo, Taekwondo, Hapkido, and Taekeukdo. It was founded and first developed by Canadian martial artist, George J. Lépine.

    Are you saying there is no external influence on Okichitaw in reference to uniforms, belt ranks, forms or kata and techniques?
     
  16. frank raud

    frank raud 2nd Black Belt

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    Bill Underwood developed Combato prior to WWII, and taught it to soldiers and police. In the late 40's he modified his system to Defendo, and based out of his school in Toronto, taught it to police and civillians in Canada and the US. It is still taught in Canada, the USA and Great Britain. George Sylvain developed the Can-ryu system of jiu jitsu in the mid 60's in Ottawa, it is taught across Canada, in Germany and Spain(in established schools) and in seminars around the world. Tony Blauer developed Chu Fen do in Montreal in the '80's. There have been other, internationally recognised styles, such as Richard Dimitri's Senshido that have come out since. I have no doubt I'm glossing over others whose work I may not be familiar with, but there are 4 examples of established martial arts being developed and taught internationally prior to the origin of Okichitaw.
     
  17. Taker87

    Taker87 Yellow Belt

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    Wow wikipedia, Master can assure you that it's a martial art of cree origin not a system composed of many non cree martial arts as wikipedia claims.
     
  18. Taker87

    Taker87 Yellow Belt

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    By: http://www.ncct.on.ca/martial-arts
    Master George Jason Lepine, an Aboriginal (Cree-Michif) who holds a 6th Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo (WTF) and a 6th Degree Black Belt in Taekeukdo (Hapkido). Master George Jason Lepine is also the founder of Oki Chi Taw, an Indigenous Combat and Martial Art System. Oki Chi Taw focuses on specific Plains-Cree Aboriginal weaponry and movements.
     
  19. Archangel M

    Archangel M Senior Master

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    Sorry. ALL of these Native American "systems" are usually TKD or other martial artists making up a "Native Art"..wearing some goofy Gi/Outfit and claiming some sort of lineage in a system that never existed.

    I call BS.
     
  20. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    I'd need to see some of it before I'd call BS. Put some clips up on youtube and open up the comments. Get a website and document some lineage. If this was real, it would be very interesting to know more about...
     

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