native american martial arts

Discussion in 'Western Martial Arts' started by Jordan, Nov 14, 2006.

  1. Pitfighter

    Pitfighter Valued Member

    Never did dismiss this fact. Merely pointing out that most wars/battles won by Native American by the encroaching foriegn Europeans or U.S. were won typically by chiefs/generals whom united various tribes, in some cases tribes that were traditionally enemies.
    Did we really get off topic? I mean armed combat/martial arts is usually focused just as much around strategy and battle tactics as it about weapons techniques.
  2. Mista-X

    Mista-X Valued Member

    I remember reading about this "Red Warrior":

    But it seems it is reconstruction and largely Karate based. So, I think most people here are right, it is really hard to tell if something of that sort is authentic.

    There is also "Kapu Kuialua", the Hawaiian MA:

    But I also remember the practitioner getting his ass handed to him by Tank Abbot in UFC.
  3. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    I class military training as martial arts. Not everyone does and your perfectly entitled to your opinion. We're all happy to hear them. At one time I possibly held a similar opinion though I always included archaic weaponry.

    The Bear.
  4. Raskulv

    Raskulv New Member

    Hi guys! just wanted to post the adress to randall browns homepage

    randall brown claims to teach Isuna Nika, a native american martial art he was thaught by Wind Painter a comanche native. Read about it on the homepage:
  5. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    Yeah it was all going so well until -

    "I Have Exactly ONE Secret "Instant
    Death" Package Set Aside For You
    Here... And I Am Risking My Life
    Just Letting You Know It Exists!"

    Yeah the American Indians were superhuman fighting machines apparently.

    If you believe this please send cash, small used bills to the Govan Polar Bear sanctuary contact me for details.

    The Bear.
  6. Stolenbjorn

    Stolenbjorn Valued Member

    In the french movie "Le Pacte des loups" (clan of the wolves), there is an indian that practices "native north american MA" (but he actually does something looking like Savate goes kick-boxing)...

    As of my oppinion on the last posts; I personally differentiate between Martial Sports and Martial Arts. Martial sports is a martial system adapted for scoring points and winning, whereas Martial Arts is a system meant for killing the most effectively. (That's my definition of Martial arts)

    I'm quite sure that there's no way of resurrecting authentic historical north-american-native MA, as the indians didn't write manuals, and as what might be taught by TMA'ers can be very tainted by WMA (as Louie is mentioning). So any native-american-ma-specialist will at best be a re-constructor/re-enactor.

    Langenschwert talks abit about how we resurrect/re-construct WMA's, and all I can say is that the moment we move away from the manuals and into vauge references in other manuscripts (like the Norse sagas, Beowulf, etc), we're on thin ice.

    Ressurection = taking a manual with 2d.drawings and explenation below, trying to copy it, and ALLWAYS trying to stick to the explenation and drawings

    Re-constructing = taking a weapon, making an exact copy, try to apply the manual that is closest + reading more or less accurate manuscripts that mentiones combat in the given society and timeframe; and see where 21th century-logics can make out of it. 100% of so called "Viking martial arts" is what I call Re-constructing, and that's why viking-fighting is called re-enactment-fighting in europe. I can take the I-33 manual from late 1200's, swap the 1h.sword with a vikingsword and swop the buckler with a viking roundshield, see which of the techniques that works and which that doesn't work, and then present this as "this is how the vikings fought with sword and shield", or I can say "we don't know how the vikings fought with sword and shield, we never will, but this is how I think they might have done it"

    I have absolutely no problems with re-enactors, re-enactment, re-construction. I do this myself on migration-period and the viking-age. WHAT I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH ARE PEOPLE THAT DOES THIS AND CLAIMS IT TO BE THE REAL THING (like the so called norse quarterstaff-system "stav" which is somthing I cannot write on this forum) :bang:
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2006
  7. Angelus

    Angelus Waiting for summer :D

    I know the Iroquios had their own form of wrestling.....
    But their war arts have not really been looked into....
  8. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Molon Labe

    I agree 100%. I don't do anything that isn't based on the manuals, but that's just me. If someone wants to try to figure out how Vikings fought with sword and shield, more power to 'em. Given my Scandinavian heritage, I'd be interested in seeing it. But that's about it. I know I can learn authenic techniques in longsword, rapier, and sword & buckler, and that's good enough for me. At least for now. :)

  9. disgruntled

    disgruntled Not so Valued Member

    you can use knowlege from oral histories and use those as a "manual". you would be only going back less than 10 generation to find out what their lives were like pre/post-contact and therefore the information has not had that much time to distort. i know here in Canada we consider oral histories legal histories.
  10. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    10 Generations of oral history!

    OK here's a wee test.
    What did your Great Great Grandfather do for a living?

    Now thats 4 Generations.

    What was his Great Great Gandfather's name?

    8 Generations.

    I bet you have no idea.

    So imagine the possibility of accurately recreating a martial art from 10 generations ago. It would be virtually impossible.

    The Bear.
  11. dormindo

    dormindo Active Member Supporter

    Yeah, that was the actor Mark Dacascos--of Phillipino descent--in that film. He actually does, iirc, several Asian martial arts and not any 'native american martial arts'--hence the 'kickboxing look of the fight scenes. He even trained in a little bit of Capoeira for the film Only the Strong.

    As to Native American fighting arts, I would imagine that, much like African and South Asian fighting arts, they would run the gamut from grappling to striking to weapons and would vary from region to region (obviously). As was mentioned/inferred earlier in the thread, Central and South America may be better places to look for these things--as there are still indigenous groups in significant numbers. There may be some traces still here in North American--after all, there has been some looking into traces of African fighting arts here--but I would be wary of any workshops, etc claiming to teach such, as this country has a long history of new agey and frontier fascinated 'indians'.


  12. Stolenbjorn

    Stolenbjorn Valued Member

    I'd wish that was true, but IMHO it isn't so; unfortunately. 100 years ago there were like 2-3 katana-traditions in Japan, now, there are over hundred sub-styles, etc. Many of the Traditional martial arts were actually stuff taught to weasterners some 50 years ago by more or less honest opportunists from korea, china, japan.... The fact that some indian claims to be what his father taught him, taught by his grandfater, that was taught it by his great-grand-father; we have no way of knowing wether what that great-grand-father was a pit-fighter doing wma...
    Does that count for historians as well? In Norway, we try to be rather critical towards "stories" about the Vikings. Now, the vikings lived over 1000 years ago, but all the written stuff about the vikings (Edda, the kings mirror, icelandic sagas, Heimskringla, etc.) were written in the 11th, - 14th century; 200 - 500 years after the viking-age, and we know that we cannot take those stories as legal stories. People have allways been biased, and allthough oral traditions like songs and poems have a little stronger survivability, they too change as dialects, culture and context changes.

    I would not believe someone that would claim that he was going to show me authentic native american Martial techniques from the 1700's. If he told me that he wanted to show me what his grandfather claims is authentic native american Martial techniques, that's more honest IMHO; that doesn't give me any illutions, and I can make up my own oppinion on whether what he shows is accurate or not.
  13. disgruntled

    disgruntled Not so Valued Member

    It would be unfair to use my understanding of my history to judge how valid oral histoies are because i am not from a culture that uses oral histories. and i would like to point out that MA has been around for longer than writing, so originally it would not have been written and it would have be taught generation by generation. so should we question the validity of any MA that was developed before writing?????

    as far as the question about histories and how you treat Viking "stories", i would like to remind you that history is merely the collection of stories to reconstruct the past. it would be like saying that any history before writing is just a story. Natives are not stupid, it is not just like they say this is the story and that is how it is. it is back up with artifacts and archaeological evidence just like any of our history. we have just made the acknowledgement here that because there is no written record we must use what ever means availible to reconstruct the past.

    In addition, it is the winners that write the history book, so if we want to get into the vaildity of history and historical accuracy, then our discussion is not limited to oral histories.
  14. Stolenbjorn

    Stolenbjorn Valued Member

    Me neither, and I'm just an amateur, just so we both are open with our competence
    we cannot question it, we can actually not say anything about it, as we will have no ways of knowing what it would look like. The oldest MA I know of are wrestelingpositions painted 2d on walls in egyptian gravetombs that are 5000 years old. We can comment on that, as there's somthing to comment on.

    I'm not sure if we understand eachother here: You say that (written) history can be as false as (oral)history. To this, I totally agree. My point is that I do not trust EITHER written nor ORAL history when it comes to reconstruct traditional MA's I only trust manuals with pictures (and hardly that).

    That said, I have no problems with people that tries to re-construct a martial system with no drawn descriptions of the techniques/positions supplemented by explanitorial texts, I just want them to be honest about the fact that there is no way of knowing for sure wether the re-constructed system is autuhentic or not -it can only be a subjective interpretation. As long as people are open about that, I love to discuss possebilities and theories :)
  15. KuKulzA

    KuKulzA Taiwanese independence!

    yeah I heard that they had a very 'spartan' lifestyle of many of the men, they had a lot of wrestling, bow shooting, and general war trainign since a young age... combine that with their later use of european weapons and the fact that for awhile they were a powerful nation, I am sure their martial training was very good..

    however... it is similar to Indian wrestlings and African stick-fighting and other native american martial arts... many are lost or very obscure... and it is very unfortunate... :(
  16. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    I don't want to sound down on you but I think you would benefit from going along to some lectures on history and reading a good load of historical texts. Then you'll understand that even the veracity of accounts of the recent Gulf War are disputed where many people are still alive who were there. You soon realise that history isn't about absolutes it's about interpretation and in alot of cases best gueses. Now look at oral history of a community under extreme cultural and physical pressure. Even under the best circumstances it is almost impossible to accurately transmit a full martial system, the situation of the American Indians complicated the problem a thousand times. I'm sorry but in all likelihood the original martial systems of the American Indian are effectively dead.

    The Bear.
  17. Lame Leopard

    Lame Leopard Valued Member

    Here's my 1/2 cents worth. I have Adrian Roman's Tushka Homa on tape. He is a good teacher and martial artist. I have his 1st Degree Black Belt Certificate. I do not claim black belt status in this system, and will never claim black belt status in this system, until I learn the art. So far, I have not done that to my satisfaction. I believe this is the honor system that Grand Master Roman is talking about. When he says he has drawn from several Native American arts, I will not be the one to question him. He is heavily influenced by American Kenpo because that is his main style.

    On the bigger question of "Native American Arts" I truly believe that there is as many approaches to warfare as there are tribes. Probably some tribes just had they warriors make clubs, tomahawks, and spears and they would sic their enemy in the best way they could. There may have been systematic approaches to hand to hand combat that were passed on from elder warriors to young ones, that have been lost to antiquity.

    I would venture to guess that certain Native American arts still exist, but no one who is not a member of the tribe will be able to get any information about them. The only way that this may be remotely possible is for someone to spend a long time building trust and respect among the tribe, seeking to learn their culture, and then perhaps some martial information might be taught. Any one seeking to do this has to get the commercialized approach to martial arts completely out of their mind.

    There is much disrespect on these forums towards others arts. This venture would call for a completely different mindset. As soon as it was conveyed in any way, shape or form that "this is Native American McDojo crap", a stone wall would be run into very quickly.

    I would like to hear from a Native American who is privy to the cultural ways of his tribe, to either confirm my notions or set me straight. Unless I am persuaded differently, I will stand by my comments.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2006
  18. KuKulzA

    KuKulzA Taiwanese independence!

    considering many martial arts have been discovered in obscure or remote places and peoples... it is not unlikely at all for all the aboriginal people of the Americas to have martial art systems... seeing as how as a whole, almost all their societies had warrior-cultures of note...
    I mean there are NewZealander (Maori) staff fighting arts as well as staff-fighting arts of some African tribes... Indian wrestling is said to have influenced Southeast Asian martial styles, such as Silat, which is said to have originated in Sumatra...
    I think a continent of people, with war as an important part of their culture generally would have developed martial arts as warring had been going on for long enough that osme sort of approach and style should've developed...

    however, if these indigenous martial arts still exist... well then, they would probably be held secrets of the tribes as LameLeopard said before me...
    and gaining the trust of tribal people is not easy... I mean outsiders had pushed their people to extinction and ruined their ancestor's lives and now come to learn martial arts and secrets?

    but if anyone has concrete evidence or is a practitioner please step up, we'd love to hear about the art
  19. Stolenbjorn

    Stolenbjorn Valued Member

    That would still be a martial art. The only way you can say there is no martial art is when you never fight, never have trained to fight, and then find yourself in a fight.

    And my (unqualified) guess is that you are wrong. Certain Native American arts do not exist the way it was exercised 200 years "IMHUQO". There might be some FRAGMENTS OF NANMA's than have survived via dances, and references in songs (dances and songs are better at preserving content; aboriginal paint-rituals have been little altered over the course of 20 000 years) -but only fragments, or mixed into modern ma's, mixed ma's etc -nothing that can claim to be a complete system.

    Me to, this we agree on. This is one of the topics I've been discussing where I would love to be wrong, but I think I'm right, unfortunately.

    I think that the viking wresteling-system "Glima" can be compared to a best-case-scenario for Native North American MA: Glima is still practiced on Iceland, Glima have several references in old manuals, and with theese two sources (modern living tradition + old written sources) it have been possible to make qualified GUESSES on how Glima worked in the Norse nations some 1000 years ago. BUT NOBODY CAN CLAIM TO SAY THAT THEY KNOW THE ART OF VIKING WRESTELING :cool:
  20. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    Interesting. Since I'm not one of his students or was even aware of his stuff until you posted it... I'd be the first to question him. I'd be curious to know where he learned the alledged native American arts he speaks of.

    Needless to say... I'm highly skeptical.
    I think you're right in the way you're looking at it. I think the key word is 'maybe'. To date all we have on any codified system of martial arts (as in hand to hand combat via a codified training regimen etc.) is best guessing.

    I would sincerely doubt that there are. My father was born and raised for the early part of his life on an Indian reservation. We've gone over this several times - he's said that nothing to his knowledge existed at least not in the way we've come to think of martial arts. I'm not even so sure about the whole going 'native' approach to learning them... if they do in fact exist.

    Yeah there is a predilection with Asian martial arts that's for sure. But again I think that to date the best we have is speculation doesn't really make it any more palatable by the rest of the MA community.

    For what it's worth... I'm Native American from the Jicarilla Apache tribe.

    My family on my fathers side is heavily involved in the Jicarilla community and all are married within that community. I'm not because I'm not married yet and because I live in China and not New Mexico. :p Though, of note is my sister who is married to another Jicarilla and has two children and an adopted daughter who is Navajo. There has always been much interaction between the Jicarilla Apaches the Navajo's and the Ute's.

    My father comes from a family of thirteen brothers and sisters - he himself was born on a Ute reservation (our family was forcibly relocated there). We were raised with a Spanish surname even though ethnically we are not Spanish. My fathers great grandmother was an indian slave owned by a Spanish family. Often times slaves ended up carrying the name of the family that owned them. As is common with many Native Americans - we were raised with Spanish as our first language and raised knowing almost nothing of the Jicarilla language. This is rather common throughout the southwest of the United States.

    The main form of connection and involvement in the Jicarilla means more than just having Native American blood enough to get a BIA card (Bureau of Indian Affairs). It means being present at powwows and actually living the culture. This includes but isn't limited to the songs and dances of the Jicarilla and the ability to speak the language. Since I live in China... you can pretty much guess that I don't attend many pow wows and that I speak Chinese means that Jicarilla isn't on the top of my list of useful everday languages. Perhaps that's unfortunate for me.

    In conversations over the years with my uncles and aunts (all twelve of them), grandfather, and father conversations much like the one we're having now have come up. They've always reflected that many things like Native American martial arts have pretty much been wiped out - a sad reminder of the cultural marginilization of our people. i've always figured that the genocide by the Spanish and European settlers was the main cause of this.

    But again... my father and relatives would be the first to point out... that is if there was ever something that existed much in the same way that we view Asian martial arts.

    Again - there are a vast number of tribes all with their own characteristics... but over the years I've yet to see anything that is even remotely convincing that there exists a codified set of rules and training regimens for something that would amount to a Native American martial art in the sense of hand to hand combat.

    Personally I find the whole concept of attempting to befriend a tribe/people in an attempt to learn their ways and be accepted and hopefully learn some supposed Native American martial art completely absurd.
    It sounds very much like some quaint Victorian notion of Red Indians... perhaps about the same as Orientalism (ref. Edward Said).
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2006

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