MANSA MYRIE ON THE HISTORICAL AFRICAN MARTIAL ARTS ASSOCIATION (MF GALAXY 156)

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Continuing our programming for Black Panther Month ahead of the local and international review panels for the Marvel blockbuster, we’re delving deeper into historical African martial arts, or HAMA. If you loved the exciting, aspirational vision of a fictional African technostate with its own fighting arts, MF Galaxy is your show to learn about actual combat systems from the continent.

Yes, you know about East Asian martial arts such as Chinese kung fu, Korean tae kwon do, and Japanese judo, but what about Sudanese Nuba wrestling? Or stickfighting from Ancient Egypt called Tahtib or from Zululand called Nguni? Or Madagascari boxing called moraingy?

To discuss those forms and more, I spoke with Mansa Myrie. Originally from Red Deer, Alberta, Myrie is the Chief Operations Officer of the Historical African Martial Arts Association, a new and international organisation whose aim is to promote verifiable information about and practice of historical African fighting arts and warfare.

Myrie spoke with me from his home in Hamilton, Ontario by Skype on January 17, 2018. We discussed:

  • The defining features of HAMA systems such as Ghana’s dambe, Madagascar’s moraingy, and Egyptian tahtib
  • The similarities between the Senegalese wrestling system of Laamb and Nuba wrestling from Sudan and South Sudan
  • The three core arts of Ancient Egyptian warfare and which of them you can start to learn today, and
  • How and why Myrie began researching historical African martial arts, and why he’s so focused on separating myth from reality

Along the way, he mentions “the Hamitic hypothesis” and the Hyksos. The Hamitic hypothesis was a 19th century European myth that survives to this day—a European racial esteem fantasy to claim that a range of African civilisations including Ancient Egypt were actually European. The Hyksos, or more properly known by their Ancient Egyptian name Heka Khasut, were non-African invaders from the west and east who at times dominated the country.

Historical African Martial Arts Association

HAMAA YouTube Channel

HAMAA Facebook

Moraingy (Madascar)

Moraingy - Research

Da’Mon Stith

Da’Mon Stith’s reading list for HAMA

Dr. Adel Boulad, founder of Modern Tahtib

Dr. Adel Boulad video

Bor Wrestling Association of Canada

Nguni stick fighting

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