Photo Credits:  A matrag training session at the sports complex near Ghriss by Djino

El Matrag

El Matrag is a stick fighting martial arts from Algeria. Using single one handed stick, double sticks and two handed stick. Although it is mostly taught as a stick fighting art in modern times that was not it’s true goal. This is a medieval African military boot camp art used to teach and prepare warriors/soldiers for single sword, double swords, double weapons, weapon & shield and two handed polearms/weapons. Many North African swordsmanship use Matrag as their training template. Examples of this advance African swordsmanship training was responsible for the Moorish Knights occupying and maintaining control over Spain for approximately 780 + years. Also, the Egyptian Mamluks (enslave soldiers) were on the other side of the fence and gave the European Crusaders a run for their money with their fighting prowess and swordsmanship skills.

Photo Credits:  Source: by Sandiso Phaliso
Nguni Stick Fighting

Nguni Stick Fighting is a martial arts traditionally practiced by Nguni herd boys in South Africa. Each practitioner with minimal to no armor are armed with 2 long sticks, one used for defense and the other stick for offense. Generally there is hand protection on the hand holding the defense stick. The Zulu tribe include a shield as part of their stick fighting arsenal. Sometimes the art is used as a rights of passage to manhood, sport or to settle disputes. However the common objective is for 2 warriors to fight each other to determine who’s the strongest or the “Bull”. This is as old school as it gets African gladiator style fighter. In the current modern martial arts stick fighting arena, very few practitioners are willing to go toe to toe with an opponent with sticks and zero body protection as standard practice. A sure fire way of controlling your fears & not letting your fears control you. This art was also used as a training tool for the Zulu Shield and Spear made infamous by Shaka Zulu. As for the millennial, it was featured in the waterfall weapons duel in the 2018 Black Panther movie.

Photo Credits: Moraingy, a traditional sport in Madagascar | Source cropped from Flickr by Hery Zo Rakotondramanana
African Kickboxing
This is a African bare knuckle kickboxing art that originated in the 17th Century. Originally the art was limited to young men to gain prestige & test their abilities. Three key elements of the art is not to fear your opponent incoming attacks, don’t hold revenge against your opponent & show respect to your opponent even after the match has ended. In modern times young people of both genders now practice the art. For us westerners the art is similar to Muay Thai from Thailand ,simple & direct but with some added unique African flavor.
Photo Credits:  Altered coloration of Da Vinci Human clip art found on by unknown author.
Martial Science Street Self Defense

No matter what martial arts you practice they all have one thing in common, the Human element. We are all human beings & have at least two arms and legs. Therefore just by simple body mechanics we will all move with certain commonality. There is just so many ways we can attack & defend. A kick is still a kick & a punch is still a punch. This class will teach you basic fundamentals that works in most combat/defense scenarios & teaches one combat awareness that is needed for survival. This art is integrated as a fundamentals class with the other martial arts taught at this school.

Wellness always played a major role traditionally in the martial arts globally. Anyone who practice any physical activity especially martial arts are bound to get injuries (major/minor) at some point. When one gets injured it is taking away from their training time. So the quicker one can heal or reduce the pain, the quicker they can start training again. Whenever there is anything wrong with the human body there is something out of balance, at that point it is just a matter of trying to figure out what is the root cause and attempt to put the body back in balance to get back to perfect health. With that being said, many martial artist trained in traditional medicine and many times became the village doctor or medicine man. However as we got closer to modern times the martial arts started separating itself from traditional medicine practice since it was too time consuming to learn. Wellness and proper diet was prime focus to a traditional martial artist like any modern professional athlete who need to maintain a proper healthy diet and healthy lifestyle to maintain their peak. Now many martial arts school just add cardio for their wellness and give the illusion that’s all you need. We will be incorporating wellness coaching and pain relief as a part of your training regiment. Bringing back old ways to your modern 21st century training.
Mental Empowerment
An instructor once stated,
“Anyone can name off 10 physical exercises on both hands to strengthen the body. Yet, many cannot even think of at least one mental exercise on one hand to strengthen the mind.”
The brain is just like any muscle in your body. You need to exercise it to build it, but if you don’t use it you loose it. One can have all the dreams or goals in the world, but if you don’t have a strong mind, nothing will ever be achieved. It will just remain a dream. Through mental empowerment via martial route the practitioner will train and use his/her mental prowess on and off the mat in their everyday lives. This mental empowerment training will use old & modern mental training to aid ones path to self enlightenment.
Africa & Diaspora Culture & History
Culture is the binding glue that connects everyone as human beings. To learn an art from another country or even your own, you have to learn about the culture of the traditional practitioner of that art. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and seeing how they live their everyday lives can give you an aid on how to practice that art to it’s fullest. Plus this will reduce one being xenophobic and just seeing people as people, no matter how they may look on the outside. To borrow a quote from a old Guru:
“I am not trying to create a better warrior, I am trying to create a better human being”.