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The Greatest African American and Afro-American Martial Artists in History

Great article by Ben Miller.

Out of This Century

By Ben Miller

When asked to recall a great martial artist of African descent born in the Americas, the average person is likely to mention a twentieth-century boxer such as Joe Louis, or a more recent exponent of the Asian martial arts, such as Jim Kelly. Or, those of the younger generation might name the modern mixed martial arts competitor Anderson Silva, regarded by some as the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all time.

What many do not know is that in centuries past, some of the greatest practitioners of European martial arts were of African descent.

Although Africans brought a number of their own indigenous techniques with them to Europe and the Americas (as can be read about here), they also sometimes trained in, adopted, and excelled at European swordsmanship—also known as classical and historical fencing.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, it was even possible (albeit difficult)…

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Dambe Martial Arts

Based on the ancient boxing traditions of Egypt, Dambe is a deadly striking art developed by the Hausa people of West Africa, many of whom traveled the land as butchers, moving from village to village performing combat ceremonies and taking on any challengers.

The primary weapon in Dambe is the strong-side fist, also known as the spear, which is wrapped in a piece of cloth covered by tightly knotted cord, while the fighter’s favored leg is wrapped in a thick chain. It’s as if kicking people in the face just wasn’t quite hardcore enough for the butchers of West Africa. They had to start wrapping their legs in jagged metal to really get their blood going.

Interesting side-note: Many of the modern-day Dambe fighting companies who travel the land performing for villages engage in the ritualistic smoking of marijuana before bouts.

http://listverse.com/2013/07/02/10-badass-martial-arts-youve-never-heard-of/

http://ejmas.com/jcs/2010jcs/jcsart_murray_1007.html

http://www.scifighting.com/2014/08/25/32379/dambe-art-african-butchers-boxing/

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