Let those who dare, come battle with me.
November 6, 2007 7:10 PM   Subscribe

Dambe is a form of boxing associated with the Hausa people of the Saharan regions of West Africa. It is essentially a striking art. The primary weapon is the strong-side fist. Known as the spear, it is wrapped in a piece of cloth covered by tightly knotted cord. The lead hand, called the shield, is held with the open palm facing toward the opponent. The lead hand can be used to grab or hold as required. Officials generally discourage the use of magical protection on the grounds of fairness.
posted by hob (7 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Nice to hear the music that accompanies your striking art link. Nice nice shot of the talking drum players playing in tight unison at around 45 seconds into that one. Here's some Hausa music.

I spent a brief bit of time in Hausa territory back in 1980: entered Nigeria from the northern border, overland, via Niger, and left Nigeria 6 months later via the Kano airport (the Hausa capitol), where I had to pay a nice little bribe to get my luggage, you know, put on the plane. Ah, sweet memories.

Just out of curiosity, why have you tagged this post with lagos? I've always been under the impression that there are very few Hausa in Lagos, which is essentially a Yoruba town, no? A Kano tag might be more helpful and appropriate. Or is Dambe all the rage way down south in Lagos now?

Thanks for the post!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:47 PM on November 6, 2007

Hausa praise singing
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:17 PM on November 6, 2007

Whew! Just spent an hour lost in African music videos on Youtube. Very cool stuff!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:43 PM on November 6, 2007

My girl is from Nigeria (Kaduna - she's half Hausa, half Idoma), and brought back pictures of this kind of boxing last time she went home. She got some kick-ass shots, but it's nice to hear the music that accompanies it.

Thanks for the post!
posted by Pecinpah at 5:23 AM on November 7, 2007

This is cool. Thanks!
posted by jason's_planet at 6:59 AM on November 7, 2007

Nifty. Interesting low stances. Odd for a striking art with kicks.
posted by tkchrist at 10:21 AM on November 7, 2007

Kano? What happened to Goro, or Johnny Cage?

Huh. I was speculating on the hellenistic roots there and there it is in the wiki article.
I suspect this has been adapted from short blade fencing techniques. The palm out style is especially noteworthy (used to protect your eyes and throat as well as grab/elbow to counter, parry or maintain balance).

“Dambe fights were staged at harvest time, when the farmers took a break and were flush with money, paid to the successful boxers.”

Reminds me of the Juggers from Blood of Heroes.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:36 PM on November 7, 2007

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