Black Martial Arts from the African Indian Ocean Photo Gallery

Traditional Black Martial Arts of the African - Indian Ocean are still alive and well. Among the best-known of these arts one finds:

Moringue (Reunion) [Photo #7] / Morengy (Madagascar) [Photos # 2 & 5] / Mrengé (Comoros) [Photo #1] - a form of traditional boxing accompanied by music and song which is practiced by Creoles, Malagasy, and Comorians alike. This sport (of prseumed mainland African origin) is essentially a spectacular form of bare-knuckle boxing, though in some areas, both kicking and head-butting is permitted.

Ringa [Photo #6] - a form of traditional wrestling practiced by Malagasy farmers and herders. It is perhaps the safest of the combat games, though in some cases serious injury results. This is particularly true when a wrestler is lifted high in the air and slammed head first to the ground. Unlike American wrestling, one does not need to pin an opponent to win. If an adversary's shoulder or heads touches the ground, he is considered defeated. In Toamasina (eastern Madagascar), toho-body - a form of wrestling which one competitor begins the fight standing with his back facing his opponent - is practiced .

Savika [Photo #4] - a form of ceremonial Zebu bull wrestling practiced by the Betsileo youths of Madagascar. This sport requires a youth to grab the hump of an enraged bull and cling to the bucking creature for a specified length of time. Savika is typically practiced during the famadihana ritual where the bones of deceased relatives are dug from the ground and wrapped in new linen before being buried again.

Malaso -The ceremonial thieving of cattle, a "sport" which incorporates many of the elements associated with combat sports including ritual, use of the magic, songs, combat, dance, and daring.

Hele [Photo #3] - a spectacular water sport in which naked or scantily clad youths leap off rocky crags into a turbulent ocean where they are carried by powerful waves either back to the very crag from which they jumped or into another crag.

Mixed Genres [See Photo #8 of HARTEMA from Madagascar] - are Asian Martial Arts grafted on Traditional Games from Madagascar (such as daka, diamanga, ringa, and morengy) to produce new and powerful hybrid forms. This is somewhat similar to what Mestre Bimba and Mestre Sena did to Capoeira de Angola to produce Capoeira Regional and Capoeira Estilizado, respectively.