True Origin of Martial Arts

There was a cultural and religious invasion from the north (circa 1,500 B.C.) by Indo-Europeans who called themselves Aryans. After centuries of conflict as recorded in the epic Mahabarta, the Aryans prevailed. They absorbed much of the arts, sciences, and religious deities of the indigenous Indian population and in its place, established the caste based faith of Hinduism. Buddhism was created by Bodhidharma to counter Hinduism but was created based on the Four Noble Truths to enlightenment taught by Siddharta Gautama aka Buddha. Buddha’s background and principles of thought can be traced to the Black people in India known as “Dravidians,” as inherited from India’s older Black civilization known as Harappan, which existed around 4,000 BCE. In turn the monk Bodhidharma, who left southern India for China in 520 A.D. founded and spread the teachings of Buddhism. At the Shaolin temple in China, Bodhidharma prescribed a set of exercises and movements to keep the monks healthy and awake during meditation. These movements, and breathing exercises became known as the 18 Hands of Lo Han, and formed the basis of Chinese Shaolin Kung-Fu (there are presently 18 styles of Shoalin Kung Fu) and later, Japanese karate (the Ainu on the island of Hokkaido, Japan contributed significantly in the transmission of the martial arts).

The most compelling evidence for the direct interaction between Egypt and Japan are found in paintings on the walls of the tomb of Prince Khemenhotep II from the 12th Dynasty. It shows a group known as the Aamu, 37 people in all. They are described as Asiatics, a light complected people, wearing clothes of bright patterns of colors. The Aamu are depicted as visitors not as bound captives, but instead carried weapons such as the bow and arrow, throwing sticks, and clubs. The Aamu are the ancient ancestors of the indigenous people of modern Japan known as the Ainu.

These are some of the African Martial Arts I have found and their relative style elsewhere in the world. Kupigana is much like what likely can be seen from the Shoalin. Saki of North East Africa is very similar to a variety of Kung Fu styles, especially Wing Chung (similar elements are found in Japanese Jiu Jitsu also). Jirilbu is very similar to Japanese Jiu Jitsu. Senegalese Wrestling (Mkazo Ncha Shikana) and Gidigbo of Nigeria West Africa are very much like Systema (Russia), Shuai jiao (Chinese Wrestling), Judo (offspring of Japanese Jiu Jitsu). Nuba Moro Wrestling is similar to Greco- Roman Wrestling and Sambo (Russia). Capoeira is the offspring of N’golo from Angola. Zulu Stick Fighting of Southern Africa and Ethiopian Suri Stick Fighting are similar to modern day fencing especially in the use of what can be identified as a Buckler and a Targa in fencing. The weapons practices of Mkazo Ncha Shikana is very similar to the Filipino Martial Arts also. In traditional Dambe boxing of Nigeria fighters would wrap there hands with ropes then dip their hands in glue and broken glass. The same tradition is found in Thai boxing – May Thai.

The entire scope of the African origins of the martial arts, and their related disciplines are too vast to cover. Documentation of the earliest records of the martial arts can be found in Wesley Snipes’ documentary, “Masters of the Martial Arts,” as well as in Kalindi Iyi’s “African Roots in Asian Martial Arts” (Journal of African Civilizations, 7, 1:138-143). Photographic documentation of the African origins of martial arts can be found within Shaolin temples in the forms of statues and paintings, as hieroglyphics within paintings, stone tablets and on walls in Egyptian tombs. Whether it is credited or not African martial arts paved the way for every martial art we come to embrace today. The illustrations found on the walls in Karnak which date back 3,400 years B.C. has been seen physically all over the world throughout history. In conclusion I have come to find that the African martial arts influenced the rest of the world.

Onyx Contributor:  R.L. Knight

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