Afrikan Martial Arts Institute
The mission of The Afrikan Martial Arts Institute is to promote and preserve the traditional, indigenous martial arts of Afrika, as conveyed through the system of Egbe Ogun; to focus on adults, as well as children, in our educational activities; and to share the history and cultures of Afrika with our community, through demonstrations, lectures, workshops, classes, films, plays and music.
Our objectives include forming a strong community of martial artists who are skilled in indigenous Afrikan martial arts and / or martial arts of the Diaspora, including the ability to sing, play the instruments, execute the movements and techniques, and have knowledge of the roots, rituals and traditions of Afrikan and Diasporan martial arts.
We encourage our members to promote the ideals of human equality, cultural exchange, and global peace and justice through involvement in projects worldwide.
We will continue to learn and develop our martial arts through interaction with other practitioners and we will serve as a cultural force which inspires the appreciation of the Afrikan martial arts.
THE FIVE PRINCIPLES
The martial arts of Afrika follow Five Basic Principles, which are the principles that govern traditional Afrikan life:
THE FOUR ELEMENTS
In Afrikan societies, there are four elements, which are considered the vital materials found in every living creature on Earth. These four elements are:
Earth – The element of Earth represents the stances in the Afrikan martial arts. Within the Earth Element are Three Foundations:
· Wood – High, narrow stances. Wood stances are extremely mobile and are used for fast, upright fighting and self-defense.
· Stone – Low, wide stances. Stone stances are extremely stable and are used for grappling and for fighting with a weapon.
· Metal – Low, narrow stances. Metal stances are extremely malleable and are used for grappling and ground-fighting.
Air – The element of Air represents the footwork and movements in the Afrikan martial arts. A practitioner of the Afrikan martial arts can move like a gentle breeze, a gale wind, or a whirlwind.
Fire – The element of Fire represents the masculine energy and techniques in the Afrikan martial arts. Fire techniques are forceful, penetrating and explosive.
Water – The element of Water represents the feminine energy and techniques in the Afrikan martial arts. Water techniques are yielding, encircling and deceptively powerful.
Like the Afrikan drum, the techniques in the Afrikan martial arts are polyrhythmic; meaning a practitioner of the Afrikan martial arts seeks to touch his opponent in two or more places at once. An offense and a defense are usually applied simultaneously, or the offense is the defense.
THE UNBROKEN CIRCLE
The principle of The Unbroken Circle is also referred to as “Call and Response”. A practitioner of the Afrikan martial arts seeks to blend with, and adapt to, the actions and rhythms of his partner or opponent, creating a never ending circle. A practitioner of the Afrikan martial arts does not meet force with force, but rather takes his opponent’s force and uses it against him.
THE WIND HAS ONE NAME
The Afrikan martial arts simplify self-defense by dealing not with a specific attack, but with the angle of the attack. The Afrikan martial arts recognize that there are only fifteen angles an opponent can attack from, so instead of being concerned with the infinite variations of attacks, the Afrikan martial arts deal with finite angles. The Afrikan martial arts further simplify combat by teaching that every block is a strike and every strike is a block. Thus, when an Afrikan martial artist learns an offensive technique, he has, in effect learned a defensive technique.
WASTE NO PART OF THE ANIMAL
The Afrikan martial arts stress economy of motion. The idea is: “If it’s there, use it.” Thus, if you strike an assailant in the chin with an uppercut, you should continue that upward motion and hit him in the throat with an upward elbow, because after the punch, your elbow is in perfect position to strike your opponent.