Thanks, very nice contribution. The similarities are indeed astonishing. In the second video they even show the exact same way to hold the empty hand behind the back.
Originally Posted by vashanka
Do you know anything about the origins of that dance/art?
The name does not sound very spanish or portugese, so I would guess its roots might be African? It does look like some of the "wardances" I have seen in different African cultures...
@Gbemi: The question about if there was/is a codified system of a Haitian martial art or not is very important because the advertising done suggests that this is about a codified system.
If there was no "haitian machete system" to begin with, then those guys paying to travel to Haiti are victims of fraud. Because they went there thinking they would be taught a system with a history of proven successfull application. Not the personal ideas of master whatshisname.
If this turns out to be a variant of the dance mentioned above, then thats all fine. Such arts deserve to be kept up and preserved for future generations. But the advertising needs to be accordingly.
I do not know much about the Haitian revolution. But afaik Tuissant was explicitly praised for his tactical ingenuity, taking Caesar and other historical warlords as role models. Would that not implicate some kind of organized warfare, with "modern day" weapons of that time? Like firearms?
If I had been him, I would not have wasted my time teaching my soldiers how to use a tool they grew up with (and thus probably knew a lot more about than him, who was one of the "better-off" household slaves). Instead I would have tried to drill cooperative tactics into them. And I would have tried to teach them how to fire a gun or cannon without blowing themselves to kingdom come.
Don't you think its strange how often people come up with some ancient "martial art" that uses weapons no sane person from the time of the arts origin would have used for general warfare?
How do Rwanda genocide?
How do escrima? (where sticks are substitutes for machete)
How do haitian revolution?
How do Mambi army of Cuba?
It may not be the most practical civilian art, but to dismiss the history of the machete in actual, organized combat would be a mistake.
Dude, rushing in on sleeping people and group-hacking IS the organized combat history and use of the machete.
Originally Posted by kwan_dao
Agreed. If there is no direct lineage to revolutionary fighters, then its bullshido.
You give the impression that you don't acknowledge (or maybe you aren't aware), for example, pre-colonial West African warfare, which often included machete vs. machete, machete vs. club, club vs. club.
Originally Posted by Kuma
Mambi army used machete as their main weapon against the Spanish.
Hey, I'm not saying, 'zomg, machete rules'... but as cheaply produced as they are, they have gone to the battle field with success at different times in history. there has been purposeful and deliberate training in machete weilding for battle.
I acknowledge its use and prevalence in many cultures. I acknowledge its success rate versus unaware/unarmed/vastly outnumbered opponents. However, its design has always been primarily as a tool for cutting brush, cane, and palm (the starchy plant, not the inside of the hand). The fact that it happens to work when you need to kill a dude makes it a weapon in the same sense that a 2x4 is, albeit the machete is significantly more effective.
In every one of the historical cases you mentioned, Rwanda, Haiti, Cuba, the Philippines, and I could add Nicaragua and Bhutan to those, the organized use has been the utilization of the readily-available and impossible-to-outlaw tool to kill the people you need killed (relatively) quietly with synchronized hacking. There's really not much art to it, and never any need for defence (excepting a quick retraction of the arm so that your hack-buddies don't accidentally lop your arm off with over-enthusiasm).
In those cases where machetes have been used on battlefields, again, they have always been weapons only because the people using them already had them and used them as tools. Conscripts and peasants will use makeshift spears, pitchforks, clubs, and scramasax (a European machete) because they can't afford and have no access to actual weapons. Hell, they'd use their machete to hack-carve a club or put a point on a stick for their buddy before battle, then use the same cheap, oversized knife to fight. But they never had "training" other than to use the machete on a person the same way they used it on vegetation; Hack, repeat. After work is done, rinse.
If there has ever been purposeful and deliberate training in the use of machete for battle, I'd dearly love to see evidence or an example of it. I don't buy that any of the vids shown above qualify. Machetes are purely aggressive. They do not posess the mass or structural integrity to deflect anything, including other machetes. The only defence with machetes is a good offense. Hack, repeat.
The name is indeed African, and that particular dance is performed during the feast of St Anthony, a black saint. When the Spaniards brought in African slaves, they forcefully converted them to Christianity; the slaves essentially put a thin veneer of Christianity on their culture, and thus their deities became saints.
Originally Posted by kwan_dao
There were some classes in el Juego de Garrote (Venezuelan stick fighting) at the recent ISMAC Western MA conference in Detroit. There's an excellent Spanish-language documentary on that style (or group of styles), including some very interesting early film footage, here:
YouTube - EL JUEGO DE GARROTE VENEZOLANO ó Juego de Palos(1/2)
... and another one here:
YouTube - El Juego de Garrote Venezolano
The various South American and Caribbean stick/knife/machete arts obviously draw from African, Spanish and native South American sources, but as with similar "folk martial arts" in other countries, there's not much in the way of documented history. These styles just evolve over time to the point where they become traditions.
See also Kalinda stickfighting (Trinidad):
YouTube - Point Fortin Stickfight II
I've found some stuff that supports my arguement, as well as yours. I'll put the relevant (and hopefully balanced) things in quotes with citations. Forgive the font, I'm pasting directly from JSTOR.
The Ogoni of Nigeria
Leadership Training in Precolonial Nigeria: The Yaa Tradition of Ogoni <LI class=author>Sonpie Kpone-Tonwe <LI class=sourceInfo>The International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol. 34, No. 2 (2001), pp. 385-403
The title pya gbara was the first social title in Ogoni applied to every young man who had performed or undergone the traditional training and discipline called yaage. The term means the rite of bearing arms; the suffix ge means sword or machete. Accordingly, a man or a youth who had performed the yaage tradition was by custom allowed to wear an insignia publicly at any time. This was a short deco- rated two-edged sword called kobege, packed in a sheath and worn around the waist on a leather belt. The kobege served a dual purpose, both as a weapon and as the insignia of social status. All young men from adolescence to full adult were expected to undergo the yaage training before they could be recognized in society. In later times, younger boys have been initiated because parents were anxious to have their sons perform the tradition while they were still alive. This assured them that their sons would not lapse into the lower social class called kune nee, men who had not performed the yaage tradition.
Published by: Boston University African Studies Center <LI class=stableURL>Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3097487
Title: The Machete and the Liberation of Cuba
The Cubans managed the machete with great skill, a measure of their familiarity with the tool. Most Cuban troops were peasants or cane cutters who had used machetes since childhood. In battle the machete was an old companion, almost another appendage. This facility with the machete gave Cuban troops an important advantage over Spanish caval- rymen armed with sabers. The saber was an old and specialized appara- tus. Most Spanish troops had never seen a saber much less used one before joining the army. One might think that joining the cavalry would change this situation, that cavalrymen would receive instruction in the use of their swords. Incredibly, however, military regulations forbade troops to unsheathe their weapons or engage in sword play in the inter- ests of safety and subordination, making training with the blade difficult. Thus, experienced horsemen with machetes must have sometimes found themselves facing men unable to wield their sabers effectively.49
Author(s): John Lawrence Tone
Source: The Journal of Military History, Vol. 62, No. 1 (Jan., 1998), pp. 7-28
Publisher(s): Society for Military History
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/120393
Not exactly a smoking gun, but...
People often make the mistake of applying one culture's standards of codification to another culture. They hear "martial art" or "fencing" and jump to the conclusion that what is shown should resemble what they've already seen. Fact is, many "folk martial arts" are simultaneously recreational fighting games, manhood/community rituals, self defense/combat training, exercise systems, dances, etc., with the application depending on context.
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