West African Traditional and International Martial Arts
Dambe is a form of boxing associated with the Hausa people of West Africa. Historically, Dambe included a wrestling component, known as Kokawa, but today it is essentially a striking art. The tradition is dominated by Hausa butcher caste groups, and over the last century evolved from clans of butchers traveling to farm villages at harvest time, integrating a fighting challenge by the outsiders into local harvest festival entertainment. It was also traditionally practiced as a way for men to get ready for war, and many of the techniques and terminology allude to warfare. Today, companies of boxers travel, performing outdoor matches accompanied by ceremony and drumming, throughout the traditional Hausa homelands of northern Nigeria, southern Niger and southwestern Chad. The name "Dambe" derives from the Hausa word for "boxe", and appears in languages like Bole as Dembe. Boxers are called by the Hausa word "daæmaænga".
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Moraingy (Malagasy) or Moringue (French) is a weaponless, bare-fisted striking style of traditional martial art that originated during the Maroseranana dynasty (1675–1896) of the Sakalava Kingdom of western coastal Madagascar. It has since become popularized throughout Madagascar, but particularly in coastal regions, and has spread to neighboring Indian Ocean islands including Réunion, Mayotte, Comoros, Seychelles and Mauritius. Participation in this form of combat was originally limited to young men, allowing elders to judge their physical fitness and strength while providing an opportunity for the youth to gain prestige and test their abilities. Today, while the average age of participants is still between 10 and 35, young people of both genders may practice the sport. Participants are called kidabolahy (young men) or kidabo mpanao moraingy (young people who practice moraingy) and are widely respected and even feared by fellow villagers. In the North, they are called Fagnorolahy, and the assistants, magnafo. Moraingy matches must by tradition be accompanied by music (often salegy) to induce a trance-like state in the fighters and participants, contributing to the spiritual and communal experience of the fight. As part of this experience, participants typically engage in dances during and between the matches that are meant to provoke the supporters of the opposing party, while the crowd cheers and jeers loudly.
Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire (for which Mali is named), and the Songhai Empire. During its golden age, there was a flourishing of mathematics, astronomy, literature, and art. At its peak in 1300, the Mali Empire covered an area about twice the size of modern-day France and stretched to the west coast of Africa. In the late 19th century, during the Scramble for Africa, France seized control of Mali, making it a part of French Sudan. French Sudan (then known as the Sudanese Republic) joined with Senegal in 1959, achieving independence in 1960 as the Mali Federation. Shortly thereafter, following Senegal's withdrawal from the federation, the Sudanese Republic declared itself the independent Republic of Mali. After a long period of one-party rule, a coup in 1991 led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic, multi-party state.
The Mali Empire (Manding: Nyeni or Niani; also historically referred to as the Manden Kurufaba, sometimes shortened to Manden) was an empire in West Africa from c. 1230 to 1670. The empire was founded by Sundiata Keita and became renowned for the wealth of its rulers, especially Musa Keita. The Manding languages were spoken in the empire. It was the largest empire in West Africa and profoundly influenced the culture of West Africa through the spread of its language, laws and customs. Much of the recorded information about the Mali Empire comes from 14th-century North African Arab historian Ibn Khaldun, 14th-century Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta and 16th-century Moroccan traveller Leo Africanus.”
This however was far from the end of Mali’s illustrious history.
Shaolin Temple Monks visit Mali to promote the philosophy of peace
A delegation of five Shaolin Temple Monks arrived in Bamako, Mali, on 25 October 2014 for an exchange visit of three weeks. The monks’ stay in Bamako, then Segou from November 10 to 12, is designed to mentor and instill the values of peace, tolerance, kindness, self-discipline and self-control in young Malians and local populations, through the practice of martial arts.
his initiative in favor of the culture of peace follows the signing of a partnership agreement in May 2014, between UNESCO and China World Peace Foundation, with the aim to promote cultural dialogue and cooperation between nations. African countries in post-conflict situations, and especially Mali due to the recent crisis, therefore represent a priority for all those involved in this program.
“We called upon the monks from the Shaolin Temple to help amplify, through their experience, the culture of peace in each and every Malian. Who better than the Shaolin Monks to accomplish this task? Shaolin that has fascinated by its prowess in movies, Shaolin which everyone dreams of being a disciple”, said Mr. Housseïni Amion Guindo, the Minister of Sports during his opening speech of a large martial arts exhibition held at Bamako’s Palais des Sports by the Malian Ministry of Youth, UNESCO and the Chinese Embassy in Mali. The inaugural event was attended by over 3000 people from Bamako and surroundings.
On a relatively unrelated note, there is also the Budapest Bamako race: At the end of each January, Bamako hosts the finish line to the gruelling trans-Sahara rally, the Budapest-Bamako . Hundreds of rally cars and motorcycles arrive in the city on the last Sunday of January.
Bamako, Mali (PANA) - The Malian President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, at the weekend inaugurated a 5,000-seat Sports Palace in the new administrative and business district of Hamdallaye ACI 2000 (West of Bamako), PANA learnt from sports source Monday.
Designed to host competitions in basketball, handball, volleyball, karate, taekwondo and judo, the palace covers an area of 3.8 hectares.
Fully air conditioned, the sports Palace has facilities for playground, a boxing gym, three martial arts halls, two changing rooms for teams, two reheating rooms per team, one changing room for referees, ticket offices, premises for the administration, shops, stores and refreshment rooms.
Upstairs, the sports Palace has a presidential lounge, lounge for officials, bleachers and a report room.
The Malian government spent 9 billion FCFA on the palace which was built by China's overseas general Company (COVEC).
PANA reports that the palace was inaugurated only a few days before the start of the peace, friendship and solidarity tournament, scheduled for 20-28 February in Bamako.
The solidarity games will be attended by 800 athletes from 16 African, European and Asian countries.