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  1. #1
    Senior Member Patrick Hayes's Avatar
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    question American Indian Martial Arts?

    Does anyone know anything about American Indian martial arts? Even though my American Indian ancestry is pretty minimal, I've alwsys wanted to have a better understanding of that part of my heritage. Many of the peoples of pre-Columbian America were warriors, and even if they didn't have a codified system of martial arts transmitted from generation to generation, they must have had something. The only information I've been able to find is people selling expensive video sets of their eclectic versions of traditional martial arts. Can anyone help me out?
    Patrick Hayes

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  2. #2

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    Unfortunately, anthropology grad students often are not real detailed on sports and games, but for detailed work, you'd still need to read ethnographic studies. The hard part there is that there are literally thousands of different cultures involved. Meanwhile, online, try:

    * http://margo.student.utwente.nl/sagi/artikel/native (Oglala Sioux archery)

    * http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/morgan/dis...fm?catno=36703 (Seneca weapons)

    * http://www.gamesmuseum.uwaterloo.ca/...h/wrestle.html (Inuit [Canadian Eskimo] wrestling)

    * http://www.mindspring.com/~semartial...nwarriors.html (Mississippian warfare)

    * http://www.mpm.edu/wirp/ICW-49.html (Woodland Indian knocking and kicking)

    Also see http://way.net/creole/drumsandpower.html , which mentions the perhaps cognate African American knocking and kicking -- lots of black Indian mixes out there, especially back east and down South, so keep that in mind when doing research.

    Speaking of cognate activities, don't overlook lacrosse. A good starting point is Thomas Vennum, Jr., "American Indian Lacrosse: Little Brother of War" (Smithsonian Press, 1994).

    A First Nations professional wrestler of note was British Columbia's Jean-Baptiste Paul, who wrestled as Chief Thunderbird.
    Joe
    http://ejmas.com

  3. #3
    Senior Member kodanjaclay's Avatar
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    The native warrior culture is different from what we normally think of as martial culture when discussing the martial arts. There were games and "sports" (term used loosly) designed to show a warriors bravery and allow him to practice his skills. That being said, a warrior was not so much interested in the development of some kind of moral ethos as he was in dispatching his enemy. This would be, in my mind, similar to being in the military... which is one of the reasons why even today alot of Natives join the military.

    I am not an anthropology student but I am Native American.
    Frank Clay

  4. #4
    Moderator Emeritus TonyU's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kodanjaclay
    I am not an anthropology student but I am Native American.
    You are? From what tribe? Sorry to be so forward, but the Native American culture always intrigued me and always hold a special place in my heart. They are the true Americans.
    "Once a kata has been learned, it must be practiced repeatedly until it can be applied in an emergency, for knowledge of just the sequence of a form in Karate is useless.” –Gichin Funakoshi

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    Senior Member kodanjaclay's Avatar
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    I am Lumbee. We were for a while classed by the authorities as Cherokee but we are not. This URL may provide some information for you. An interesting side note, Heather Locklear is also Lumbee and is somehow a part of my lineage. My mother's maiden name was Locklear. I am thinking that Heather is something like a third cousin a 100 times removed or something (lol - not really but she really is a part of my line somehow. I just don't know the link).

    http://www.lumbeetribe.com/index.htm
    Frank Clay

  6. #6
    Moderator Emeritus TonyU's Avatar
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    Cool. Thanks.
    "Once a kata has been learned, it must be practiced repeatedly until it can be applied in an emergency, for knowledge of just the sequence of a form in Karate is useless.” –Gichin Funakoshi

    "The teacher is more important than the style."
    - Higa Yuchoku

  7. #7
    Senior Member Patrick Hayes's Avatar
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    Does anyone know anything about this guy or his system?

    http://www.blayshalla.com/Blaise/MainFrame/MainFrame.htm
    Patrick Hayes

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  8. #8
    Junior Member nicojo's Avatar
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    This guy was recommended by some at another forum, but I have no experience with him: Apache Knife Fighting

    I will look at the link on swordforum again and see who else they recommended there.
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  9. #9
    Junior Member nicojo's Avatar
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    Tell you what, here is the swordforum link so you can read it for yourself. Some of the posters have direct experience: Native American MA?. Your man Blaise is not generally recommended there, FWIW.
    J. Nicolaysen

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  10. #10
    Senior Member Patrick Hayes's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link to that forum. I'm going to take some of their advice and try to find the next "mountain man" historical re-enactment or blackpowder shoot. I had wondered about the advisability of trying to ask around on reservations, but had a feeling I would not be terribly welcome. Now I see that that would almost certainly be the case.
    I was kind of leery of Blaise Loong, which is why I asked if anyone knew something firsthand. Mastery of several established martial arts, as well as the re-discoverer of obscure Nordic and Native American fighting arts? Not impossible, surely, but he does seem to be claiming a lot. . .
    Thanks again, nicojo!
    Patrick Hayes

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  11. #11
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    check out this book: "Native American Hunting and Fighting Skills" by Colin F. Taylor also any book written my Thomas E. Mails is a great resource for native culture...

    speaking about North American tribes here:

    One reason pointed out by the book "Native American Hunting and Fighting Skills" that might explain the lack of information on such skills is the reality of the fact that precolumbian native warfare revolved more around beating an opponent into submission or chasing them off rather than killing them... however captured enemies were often burned alive... Most precolumbian tribes didn't out right kill their enemies because they wanted the same consideration from their enemies... they lived in small bands that could easily be desimated of men in one kill oriented battle... not to say this never happened but that it was uncommon among many tribes... most pre columbian warefare consisted of chasing off trespassers... The achealogical evidence also supports this point in that most pre columbian weapons were clubs... Even though the Native Americans had bows and arrows, lances, and Atlatls used for hunting they rarely used them for warfare... it was more important to strike a blow and move on than to engage in out right battle... a blow with the hand carried more prestige than a blow with a stick...
    anyway, precolumbian peoples were in a survival oriented balance with their territory... therefore protection of resources was of greater importance than spreading out the resource chain to invade or wage war... not to say that war was never waged... territory needed expanding from time to time and neighbors needed to be put in their place... but for the most part there were no great wars... more like fueds over resources... of course many of these were settled by one tribe integrating another, or one tribe moving away, or even by the intervention of a devine truth speaker...

    the idea of killing off your enemy didn't come back into fashion until the European invaders arrived and began influencing the natives... with the import of steel knives, hatchets, rifles, horses, and perhaps most importantly narcissism... also the relentless greed for land forced even the most passive tribes to learn to fight back... guns made it easy... don't forget the leaps and bounds made in manufacturing and firearms during this period...

    most of what I gather is that the post European invasion native methods were either adopted from the europeans or direct attack methods that just came naturally... really I don't think you have to have any real training to kill someone... just a reason, the ability, and the intent... I figure they shared ideas like anyone would but for the most part evaded direct conflict like they always had...

    as mentioned earlier in this thread... you can look to the ball games played by many tribes for clues...

    heading south

    the aztecs are a different story... their gods liked blood... if you didn't die on the battlefield from sling propelled clay ball or obsidian edged club then you got to wear your legs out one last time before the big roll down the pyramid, missing your heart of course...

    take care, steve
    Steve Henderson

  12. #12
    Senior Member wildwills's Avatar
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    Steve,

    Good info. Don't forget about the practice of warrior to "count coupe", whereby warriors would hit the enemy with a knife, stick or staff. At the end of each battle the soldiers count up all of their coup. If a warrior had coup counted on them, it was considered shameful and worse than death.

    You could probably also consider lacrosse as a descendent of a some sort of stick-fighting art that became a game. I believe the University of Pittsburgh is doing some archeological and anthropoligical research on games and combat of the Northeast Woodland nations like the Seneca/Cayuga (Haudenesaunee/Iroquois) in alround western NY state (near Albany) and around western PA/WV amongst the Allegheny Mountains.
    Mike Wills
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  13. #13
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    thumbs up

    You've received some very good replies but I wanted to add a couple of things to the mix too.

    There is a very detailed history of some Native fighting arts here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_...ighting_styles

    Also, Chief Adrian Roman, who is a full blooded Choctaw indian and 8th degree black belt in Kenpo under Ed Parker, teaches a style of Native Choctaw fighting art called Tushkahoma (Red Warrior system). His webpage wasn't working when I tried but here's an article about him and the style from Black Belt magazine: http://www.blackbeltmag.com/document...ocument_id=328

    I remember seeing some of his videos on Ebay not long ago too. Being part Native American myself (my grandfather was full blooded Navajo), I didn't really consider our fighting/martial heritage until I read this thread and searched for the articles I post above. I'm glad that I took time to read this thread, as I have learned some very interesting information.

    Marcy Thomas
    Last edited by BowingToBuddha; 04-26-2005 at 21:40. Reason: Forgot link

  14. #14
    Moderator Emeritus David Craik's Avatar
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    Shame E-Budo isn't up anymore. There were some "interesting" threads on Adrian Roman over there.

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    Moderator Emeritus TonyU's Avatar
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    I read the article and looked at the pictures.
    I have to say, I'm not impressed.
    The knife defense shown is supect at best as far as historical connection and dangerous and impractical IMO.
    "Once a kata has been learned, it must be practiced repeatedly until it can be applied in an emergency, for knowledge of just the sequence of a form in Karate is useless.” –Gichin Funakoshi

    "The teacher is more important than the style."
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  16. #16
    Moderator DragonMind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyU
    The knife defense shown is supect at best as far as historical connection and dangerous and impractical IMO.
    Yeah, catch a rapidly moving knife...tell me another funny one. Where's Jim Carrey?
    Barry McConnell

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  17. #17
    Member ninjandrew's Avatar
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    Sorry, but what the screw is coupe? Can you touch it? I dont understand...
    - 暗土龍

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  18. #18
    Senior Member wildwills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ninjandrew
    Sorry, but what the screw is coupe? Can you touch it? I dont understand...
    Counting Coupe is a mix of French/Huron-Algonquin. In Webster's, "French coupé, from past participle of couper to cut, strike". So rather than kill or mortally wound an enemy, warriors/braves you simply touch or "slap" their oppenents.
    Mike Wills
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  19. #19
    Member ninjandrew's Avatar
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    That helps... but than what?? Do the two sides meet up and are like:

    `I got you didnt I?`
    `....yeah...`
    `Sweet, thats one more for me... Oh! Hey you! No no, that was meyou hit! Hahaha, yeaaaah you got me good!`

    Sorry for the wit, Im just trying to show you where Im confused.

    Also, what if a warrior had alot of coupe, but he got bonked with a stick once?? Is he still shamed beyond comprehension?? Can he than bonk the other warrior back, or anyone for that matter? Or did he have to timeout?

    Hehe, sorry. Now Im just finding it hard to believe that warriors would `slap` eachother...
    - 暗土龍

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ninjandrew
    Hehe, sorry. Now Im just finding it hard to believe that warriors would `slap` eachother...
    That's what I thought until recently...

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