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Thread: Haitian Martial Arts

  1. #1
    Tvebak Guest

    Haitian Martial Arts

    Have anyone of you heard of the Haitian MA Ladja? I have heard that it should be like capoeira without acrobatics and with more hand striking and wrestling.
    Supposely it shares some roots to the african art NĀ“golo with capoeira, hence the resemblence.
    Anyone of you know it?

  2. #2
    Felipe Bido Guest

    Never heard of it

    And that's TOO strange, since I live in the same island. However, is a totally different country and language. I'll have to check it out, anyway.

    "To be great is to be misunderstood"- Emerson

  3. #3
    Tvebak Guest
    I just spoke to a guy who said that its basically the same art as danmye in matinique.
    He also said that the art i heavely influenced by the senegalese fighting styles, hance the wrestling elements.
    I once saw some danmye tapes from senegal and even though it was difficult to see the details it looked a lot like capoeira.
    It a very interresting fact to add to the discussion of wheter capoeira originated in brasil or africa.
    Funny thing was that there was a traditional Taekwondo master present watching the tape and he said that the art looked a lot like taekyon.

  4. #4
    Stranger Guest

    Have you ever seen or heard about Jailhouse Rock? It is linked to the African martial arts, but developed along its own lines in the American penal system.

    I don't get mad.
    I get stabby.

  5. #5
    Tvebak Guest


    I have heard about it, i think there is one master in a danish soon as i find out where im going to make a failed attempt at robbing a 7-11 to get in and train with him.

  6. #6
    Stranger Guest
    lol :D

    Lethal Weapon I has some of it in the fight choreography.

    There is a lot of info on stickgrappler's page about Jailhouse Rock, its origins, and its similarities to African MA.

    I don't get mad.
    I get stabby.

  7. #7


    Danmye, like Capoeira, derives from African combatives. See T.J. Desch Obi's work on these and the African-American variant known knockin' 'n Kickin'. There was was an African derived art done here as well called "Jack," based on animal movements as are the other African arts. I suspect the the African-American phrase "I'm gonna "jack" you up derives from this artform.

    African-Americans also developed a mixture of African arts and Western Boxing called "Cutting." It mixed African offensive and defensive skills with Western punches. It is also apparent that African Sanguar (weapons, blows from limbs evasion) skills are the cornerstone of what we know of today as Western Boxing, which, to me, is more African than Western. Early Western boxing does not use the dipping and swaying movements which part of the core of defensive skills used by the African Imbare, Kimbare, for example, in evading spear and "throwing knives" weaponry and bladed/stick cuts and strikes. This is an African technique which augmented blocking skills, etc.

    Also, Breakdancing does not derive from Capoeira but from a warrior physical culture in Africa of which the Ongolo (the ancestor of current Capoeira) is but a part.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Wuhan, Hubei, China
    everything in africa os done top rythm, but that doesnt mean that break dancing comes from africa. I dont see the relation really, and I see africans everyday, all day. itss part of my culture
    得 心 應 手

    蔡 李 佛 中 國 武 術 學 院 - ( 南 非 )

  9. #9

    Breakdancing's African Origins

    It is most amazing that the origins of the Polka, Savate, or any other non-African cultural practice is rarely challenged. However, anything African is automatically questioned because the unspoken idea, subconsciously or not, is that Africans are not "intelligent enough" to have invented it, thus, it must have been developed by non-Africans or via cultural diffusion from non-African sources.

    What is called "breakdancing" here is part of ritual warriors celebratory dances as seen among the Peuhl of Guinea, with their men's acrobatic dances (see Kariamu Welsh-Asante's African dance for a brief description of Peuhl "Bridges," back and shoulder spins-they also do the arm into elbow/hand-base spin) and non-chalant freezes which makes up the play aspects of African combative rituals; among the Akamba of Kenya, et al. Elements of the Ongolo tradition, for example, are even found among the Kung! of S.A. as demonstrated in their "Ostrich" Ongolo type combat game (for which see the Smithsonian African series archival video footage).

    Breakdancing, as WE HAVE PRESENTLY COME TO KNOW IT, has all the characteristics of an African artform, including the fact that it comes out of the African-American community in the States. Likewise, there is footage of early African-American dance which shows the same type of uprocking, spinning repetoire now associated with this genre of African derived dance.
    Last edited by danmyete; 02-16-2006 at 05:59 PM. Reason: grammatical errors

  10. #10

    danmyete, thank you for the history lessons. Keep it coming!

    I have heard of Haitian martial arts at two points in my life:

    1- In 1978 a classmate describes the fighting art of Haiti without mentioning the name. It focused on punching, kicking, elbowing, stomping, biting and gouging. Very in close and thorough.

    2- In 2004, one of my clients from the Dominican Republic shared that the moves of capoeria (namely, the acrobatics, the kicks, and the musical component) are also practiced by the Haitians and those who live near the Dominican Republic/Haiti area. .

    This has strengthened my belief that Savate may have originally been a West African martial art to begin with since it was often associated with the French "underclass." Haitians pretty much constituted that underclass.

    I forgot to add one more thing:

    Catherine Dunham, dance choreographer and High Priestess, has preserved aspects of the Haitian fighting methods in a dance choreography. Interestingly, Capoeria is taught at her school; some may call that a spiritual linkage.

    Last edited by mickey; 02-17-2006 at 10:10 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Behind you!
    The origins of the polka are easily traceable: it has a documented history.

    The origins of Savate are frequently challenged as are the origins of most CMA and the origins of many many white western traditions, not only fighting/dancing, usually those with a beginning steeped in oral history.

    The origins of breakdancing follow a rich cultural oral tradition, therefore there is no written history, making it harder to trace. Don't get me wrong mate, I think you're right in the inherent racism of a lot of people who deny African history, but it is made easier for them to do so by the fact that most African traditions are oral.

    Having said that, I've never seen Eddie make a racist comment on the baord, so shouldn't we give him the benefit of the doubt.

    As for myself, I don't see any reason to attribute Western boxing's origins to African fighting arts:

    1) There is some limited evidence that the ducking and weaving came from the changes to the rules after Queensbury came in, for various reasons I won't go into now.

    2) There haven't been any major African boxing champions as far as I can remember (if you can think of any please let me know). Of course a lot of boxing champs have been black and their origins were in Africa, but there's no evidence that for example Ali got any exposure to African arts before his boxing style was already well developed.

    3) Western pugilism has a well-documented history through newspaper articles and commentator's social commentaries etc going back some 300 years. The developments in ducking and weaving have come much more recently, but can be traced as a progression in rules as in (1) above.

    I'm not saying there's definitelt no influence but so far, I think it's a bit of a stretch to say that it's definitely the case that African arts gave us boxing.

    And no, I'm not dissing African nations or history and I don't think intelligence comes into it one way or the other (but BTW, do you think intelligence would be a major factor in the foundation of a) a dance style or b) a fighting style?), I just don't agree.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Behind you!
    BTW, welcome to the board.

    Seems you have some good opinions and knowledge of history, hope you stick around and don't find too much racism where there is none: god knows there's enough around in other places for you to find!

  13. #13

    Regarding Paragraph 5: Korea and Africa.

    I have been looking at Korea for some time now. There is definitely a West African connection. They possess a two sided drum that is called "Chango," that is the name of a powerful West African God. They also perform a dance with a ribbon whirling from the top of their head, Something that is done in West Africa as well. The drum I refer to is here:

    Strong correlations have been found between West African Gods and the Gods of Shinto. I say this because the Koreans and the Japanese are essentially the same people (it has been proven) despite the bile that they spew at each other.

    Additonally, there was a time when it was fashionable to have African manserveants and Korean maidservants in China. During this time Africans in China were called "Kun Lun"

    Last edited by mickey; 02-20-2006 at 04:10 PM.

  14. #14


    The Haitian art you mention could be one of the following: Pinge, the unarmed form of Muti, Ga-Ga or Bu-Bu.

  15. #15


    The Haitian art you mention could be one of the following: Pinge, the unarmed form of Muti, Ga-Ga or Bu-Bu.

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