7 African Martial Arts You Probably Didn’t Know Existed

Lutte Traditionnelle

This is a wrestling style from West Africa, which is frequently used in Senegal, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Niger, Gambia and Togo.

Dambe

This style of boxing from West Africa is commonly practiced in southern Niger, Chad and Nigeria, where combatants box one handed.

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Istunka

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At the Afgooye festival each year in Somalia, this fighting style is demonstrated. Previously, participants wore armor and used real weapons, but they use sticks nowadays.

Ngolo or Engolo

Ngolo is used in South Angola, near to the Cunene river. This martial art is thought to be an initiation for youngsters from tribes in the surrounding region.

Nuba Wrestling

This wrestling style originates from southern Sudan. The people of Nuba have wrestled for hundreds of years. Similar to conventional wrestling, the aim is to put your opponent on his back.

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Musangwe

This is a bare knuckle boxing style from South Africa. The people of Venda, who have different cultural backgrounds, have practiced this fighting style for hundreds of years.

Tahtib

This North African stick fighting style dates back to ancient Egyptian times. This martial art was used to train Egyptian soldiers, alongside wrestling and archery.

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