martial art styles in Africa
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 boxers 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.
Engolo is practiced around the Cunene river area in Southern Angola. Some historians have said that the fighting style is part of a rite of passage for young people in the tribes located in the area. This style relies on the movement of the legs. Kicking and leg sweeps are a vital part in taking down your opponent. It is believed that this style has been transported through the African diaspora in the form of Brazilian martial arts.
There is a festival in Afgooye, Somalia on the Somali new year where this mock fighting takes place. In years past, males used real weapons and put on armor to fight, however, now sticks are used. The current fighting style has been around since the 17th century during the Somalian Sultanate of Geledi.
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.
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.
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.