The 200-year-old traditional martial arts in Nigeria

Dambe is a fighting martial art that has a history of 200 years in Nigeria, and has turned from a brutal martial art to a recreational sports like today.

In this martial art, boxers often use one hand to fight, the other shield, and sometimes use their feet to strike. They often try to lower the game, forcing the opponent to surrender as quickly as possible.

In the past, fighters fought for their wives, land, and other valuables. But today, boxers can make between $ 400 and $ 900 in major tournaments, which are taped and posted to payers.

Before competing, boxers will wrap “kara” to protect their hands. In the past, they even crumpled kara with glass splinters to inflict greater injuries, but today, that has been banned.

Yahaya (pictured), 28, is a Dambe boxer of the Arewa school, one of the three traditional schools, including Jamus and Guruwada. Yahaya told Reuters from Lagos, Nigeria, that he had been practicing martial arts since he was a child, and survived by fighting.

Boxers like Yahaya now make money with this profession thanks to the growing number of online followers.

A boxer is pouring water on his head during a half-time break in Abuja, Nigeria. In 2017, Anthony Okeleke and Chidi Anyina founded “Dambe Warriors” – the company that produces martial arts video programs, to promote the martial art.

Initially they had to pay for boxers, but now they have grown, organized tournaments, and collected tickets.

An audience excitedly watched the Battle of Dambe in Abuja. In the two years, the company had 100,000 registered users and received 24 million views (views) from Indonesia, Brazil, Thailand, Philippines and the United States.

After filming, the company will go back to the studio to edit and match the sound, before posting it online. In the photo, a boxer in Lagos.

They also plan to set up a separate space for martial arts matches to attract tourists, and discuss with local satellite TV channels to increase views. In the photo, a boxer smiles after the match in Lagos.


Boxing using glass gloves in Africa

If you’ve never heard of Dambe, ancient African sport, this article will blow your soul.

Dambe was invented in West Africa by the Hausa and is traditionally a sport for the lower classes of society. Battles will take place at festivals at the end of the harvest season when tribes will slaughter cattle to celebrate.

Money and betting from the ancient times have been closely associated with this sport. To this day, audience bets and pockets of prize money for boxers remain an important aspect of the festival.

Today, the participants are usually young people from the city and they play year round. Although the boxers no longer come from the Hausa, but with the national spirit, they still participate in the community and compete at festivals.

Traditionally, Dambe included wrestling, called Kokawa, but today it is mostly a boxing competition. Weapons are strong fists with one hand. The glove is a cloth and is wrapped with laces. Some boxers even put glass fragments inside, although this is illegal.

The other hand and two legs will be left free and used to hold the opponent, attack and defend. Because wrestling was used as a goal to knock the opponent down, kicks today are much more popular than traditional matches.

A match will have 3 innings but there is no time limit for each inning. Instead, a round ends when any of the following occurs

1) Two fighters no longer play

2) One of the 2 boxers asks to stop the match

3) When the hands, knees or body of the boxers touch the ground. The matches also do not have official weight, boxers will compete with people of the same size as themselves.

In traditional matches, amulets are often used as forms of magic. Amulets are sometimes used in modern competitions, but officials discourage the use of magical protection because it is said to be unfair.

There is small pillow that boxers will put in gloves. However, the amulets themselves often leave scars on their arms. Some modern Dambe organizers even banned smoking before fighting. Looks like this is a suitable sport for Nick and Nate Diaz!