OKI CHI TAW! Canada's Indigenous Martial Arts System
It looks fairly typical of those modern/native MA that combine roughly equal parts good intentions, commercial TKD/HKD/etc., folklore and whatever scattering of historically authentic tribal fighting skills may have survived the 20th century. Since that seems to be exactly what Mr. Lepine set out to do, and since he readily admits to that fact, I don't see any BS at that level.
My only issue would be that, frankly, it looks as if the TKD/HKD model has been over-used; bowing in and out of class, belt system, the uniforms and particularly the way they're moving. Admittedly I don't know how First Nations warriors of, say, the 1700s moved when they trained and fought, but my guess would be closer to this:
YouTube - Apocalypto
I know a Dene elder that talks allot about this traditional Warrior society. He was non-status so he didn't get send to one of those sick genocidal schools and got to keep his traditions (And social structure for that matter).
Some of the old training techniques were the ball dance, wrestling and the "dog soldier" game.
Also pow wow dances are hunting and fighting techniques. Traditional dances that is, keep in mind allot of things have been lost.
YouTube - Men's Trad.
The ball dance is essentially tossing a medicine ball around. You gather in a big circle and toss a the ball to another in the circle. When the ball comes you have keep the ball in motion and cannot stop the momentum while passing it to someone else. If you do then you are out.
The "Dog soldier" game, involved the circle once again. (Pretty much everything is about the circle in native cultures around here) This time you have a padded bat and one person in the circle with everyone else surrounding him. The "Dog Soldier" in the middle will have a bandanna hanging from his waste, he may or may not be blindfolded. The object of the training is to grab the bandanna with out getting hit. If you grab the bandanna then you become the dog soldier.
He also mentioned something things about Tomahawk but never went into detail. Mostly we spoke about the philosophy, which I consider the most beautiful part. A kick is a kick, and a punch is a punch technique is science. Learning the right spirit is an art.
Okiijida teachings are wonderful and teach you allot of strength. I owe them allot.
Personally I am not a fan of the fighting style, however he is legitimately trying to help maintain Cree traditions in modern times. That art has value to our community, whether it is the paragon of practical combat or not.
They do maintain certain traditions like sweat lodge and fasting. The elder that works with them is legitimate.
"Using the Traditions of Our Past, to make our Nation Strong for the Future" I can respect that.
Last edited by Wakingheart; 3/03/2009 8:12am at .
Lepine is different inasmuch as he actually appears to be legitimate, honest and supported by a recognized community.
They love talking about the warrior society. In fact they still have one that's supposedly pretty big. But I'd stick with calling them Navajo, I doubt everyone is going to know Dene.
Originally Posted by Wakingheart
After training with them for a while I basically learned they like to bullshit outsiders. Yea, they are good fighters, but that has mostly to do with their size, heritage, and upbringing. Go to a reservation for at least a week and you will probably see a brawl or two.
So from my experience dealing with lots of tribes of north america, that's bullshit. Saying it's a native american martial art is just a ploy to get new-age curious westerners to drop cash. If it was really traditional, there wouldn't be a website for it. And if the guy is teaching good martial arts, he wouldn't need a gimmick for it.
"Admittedly I don't know how First Nations warriors of, say, the 1700s moved when they trained and fought, but my guess would be closer to this"
Just as much as wing-chun in a real situation looks like wing-chun in reality. FOOM FOOM FOOM
Last edited by killwill; 3/06/2009 12:29am at .
Reason: made it prettier
Don't call a Dene a Navajo. They aren't the same at all. Dene come from somewhere cold http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dene
Originally Posted by killwill
Navajo come from the desert http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navajo
Actually I read his website and he seems pretty open about is previous martial arts background and trying to create something rather than pretending its traditional.
Originally Posted by killwill
So unlike others who have tried this for other cultures he's pretty honest and straight forward about what he's doing.
I doubt he's making a ton of money of it either.
Doesn't mean it's good martial arts or not.
dene is navajo for... navajo. i didnt think to connect the whole canada thing.
and i was just saying, from my own experience, when that tag is thrown on it's usually not legitimate. be extra cautious when dealing with that stuff.
Navajo Nation (Diné Bikéyah in the Navajo language). Trust me Dene is something different.
Originally Posted by killwill
A Norther Dene Reserve
I study Native studies at the University of Manitoba and have been raised with traditional values and teachings. The Elder I am talking about was the former Elder in residence at The Aboriginal Student Center.
I do not mean to be arrogant by offer an information over load, but purely to establish credibility on this issue.
Mr. Lepine is well respected and affiliated with the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto. This is not a new age money grab. There are "showman" (Impostor Elders) who have not learned traditions and are not representative of the Midewiwin society however this is definitely not the case.
Honestly I would like to one day teach do something similar, however I would just teach MMA and invite BJJ/Wrestlers/Kick Boxers/Cage Fighters to teach. I personally don't feel that the spiritual values taught are much more important then the techniques, however the Tomahawk and gunstock techniques would be interesting.
I intend to stop by his school next time I am in Toronto.
What Mr. Lepine is definitely not doing this for the money and if you want to learn legitimate Warrior traditions. He is more then qualified.
Also just to understand how things with Aboriginal people are a little different up here. Replace the importance of African American to contemporary American political discourse with Aboriginals and it should clear things up.
When the "tag" of Native Culture is attached up here, there are many affiliations to verify its legitimacy.
Interesting things about Canadian/Aboriginal Culture if anyone is interested.
Last edited by Wakingheart; 3/06/2009 5:42am at .