Sticking/Adhering in Machete Practice

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Re: Sticking/Adhering in Machete Practice

Postby Steve James on Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:57 am

I don't doubt that techniques for similar weapons will be similar. I also think that people who face others with similar weapons will eventually adopt the techniques that work. It's a necessity. So, if there were any French techniques that were usable or more effective on the island, the Haitians would have adopted ... er, appropriated... them.

I don't know French military fencing techniques at all. My main point was that calling a stick fighting art "African" requires clarification. If it's specific, it can be traced. But, for me, the interesting aspect of Tire Machete are the sticking and adhering techniques and close in work. I wouldn't be surprised if it came from a non-African source. It could even be Asian or Arabic. I.e., Africans who had been enslaved by the French often came from the region from Senegal to Mali down to northern Nigeria, who were Muslims and had a long tradition of swordsmanship (particularly cavalry, though that wouldn't be useful in the Haitian hills).

Nowadays, though, the most popular martial art in that region is Lutte Francais, a style of wrestling.
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Re: Sticking/Adhering in Machete Practice

Postby klonk on Sun Apr 21, 2019 12:58 pm

Steve James wrote:[...]But, for me, the interesting aspect of Tire Machete are the sticking and adhering techniques and close in work. I wouldn't be surprised if it came from a non-African source. It could even be Asian or Arabic. I.e., Africans who had been enslaved by the French often came from the region from Senegal to Mali down to northern Nigeria, who were Muslims and had a long tradition of swordsmanship (particularly cavalry, though that wouldn't be useful in the Haitian hills). [...]



As the plot thickens, the sabre was a weapon the Europeans culturally appropriated from the Muslims, then added a highly rational framework of parries that arose most likely in Hungary, perhaps in Poland, somewhere around there, then use of the sabre for parry and riposte spread throughout Europe. The French were very good at it, but their method was plainly a derivation of the Eastern European method: their parries are all found in earlier sources.

Sticking and adhering is called in French prise de fer, to take or seize the blade; in Chinese martial arts one may speak of sticky sword. A pint is a pound...
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Re: Sticking/Adhering in Machete Practice

Postby klonk on Sun Apr 21, 2019 1:26 pm

I suppose my big point is that we should be careful in saying just where something came from, for good ideas in sword work are self-evident (the bad ones get you cut). Haitian machete sourced in part from French sabre, as the article suggests? Fully plausible. A good martial artist will appropriate anything that works.
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Re: Sticking/Adhering in Machete Practice

Postby klonk on Mon Apr 22, 2019 2:12 pm

Not much to this clip, but it does show French saber with a supple approach to distance.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuYJU9OugZg





Not French; an English method, I couldn't find a similar clip that was specifically French school, but this clip shows parrying logic common to European saber in general.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiZFHqNAkRI



The Haitian use of a near-vertical blade to parry in many situations is likely due to the lack of any handguard on the machete. You don't want the opposing blade sliding down your blade to your hand. Interposing the blade on the line of attack with a cartesian three-dimensional sense of crossing the line of attack at a place in line with the target your opponent is after is either European in inspiration or an incidental resemblance, but it looks like the European military preference for a solid, no-frills parry without shilly-shally, without elaborate movements of the blade. If not all Haitian movements are like that, the article did not claim the source material was 100% from military saber...

I haven't found a clip of sticky sword in Western saber fencing. It is little used, though in some schools it is taught, most fencers favoring more of a clang-and-bang approach.

So here are the points that make French military saber influence on tire machet plausible:

  • Use of distance and timing is flexible, advance and retreat with the situation
  • Preference for parrying blade-above-hand, where either above or below will work
  • Parrying by interposing the line of your blade across the line of attack
  • Your parry is the first concern, your counterattack a secondary concern, almost an afterthought.

That last point is perhaps the most telling. Professor Avril's main teaching drill was to feed attacks to the student, which the student was to parry. The student would at the outset parry all day long without striking back. Counterattack evolved later as the student became at home with stopping attacks from all directions.

In Western military saber, the parries are those best at stopping attacks, not those that best set you up for your riposte. More about that here: https://shootery.blogspot.com/2013/07/i ... ethod.html
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Re: Sticking/Adhering in Machete Practice

Postby klonk on Mon Apr 22, 2019 3:02 pm

More tire machet:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bSYr3TVCuU


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpA-DgCxy4E


With a couple of exceptions, the sustained blade contact we see is actually incidental to the mechanics of attack and defense, in the sense that the blades are stationary or nearly so when it happens. The blades are in quiet contact, then break contact for the next maneuver. Perhaps this serves as a sensitivity drill? Or a pause to consider the previous exchange?

So there isn't really a lot of prise de fer/sticky sword going on here. Occassionally the professor executes a really nice bind manueuver, but in the main, the blades are paused when in contact.
Last edited by klonk on Mon Apr 22, 2019 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sticking/Adhering in Machete Practice

Postby Steve James on Mon Apr 22, 2019 3:51 pm

Interesting. With regard to technique, in the last video, I notice that the professor's opponent puts his hand behind his back --which seems very reminiscent of the European example. Otoh, the prof. puts his left arm over his heart-line. It's interesting because that style is often used in some systems to protect against thrusts. Yes, I've seen the professor put his arm behind his back, too. It's also interesting because techniques such as prise de fer and half-swording might be easier to accomplish when necessary. ?
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Re: Sticking/Adhering in Machete Practice

Postby Greg J on Mon Apr 22, 2019 9:08 pm

Those interested in learning more about the history of machete fighting/ esgrima in Columbia, Cuba, and Haiti might want to give this paper a read:

http://www.redalyc.org/pdf/855/85512905010.pdf

(edit: the abstract on the first page is in Spanish, but the rest of the paper is in English).

Best,
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Last edited by Greg J on Mon Apr 22, 2019 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sticking/Adhering in Machete Practice

Postby yeniseri on Mon Apr 22, 2019 11:13 pm

Interestingly, the Afro-Colombian descriptive of esgrima reminds me of the Filipino art of escrima on use of borrowed foreign descriptives to decribe simialr arts of "defensa suave" to name native arts since their original names would be unable to be pronounced or they were seen as dangerous to the oppressors ;D. Just as capoeira in its native Angola was a native tradition but in its new found land, it became a symbol of resistance thereby upping its survival element in preserving life to escape to the jungle island and live free. The paradise of Palmares was surely kept alive for a century through native skills in self protection and warfare!

Palmares (Brazil) was a large community of escaped slaves (mainly) but also inclided the dispossessed of the society fleeing injustices of all kinds :o
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Re: Sticking/Adhering in Machete Practice

Postby Steve James on Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:25 am

Greg J wrote:Those interested in learning more about the history of machete fighting/ esgrima in Columbia, Cuba, and Haiti might want to give this paper a read:

http://www.redalyc.org/pdf/855/85512905010.pdf

(edit: the abstract on the first page is in Spanish, but the rest of the paper is in English).

Best,
Greg


Good article. Btw, there is also a strong stick tradition in Jamaica and Trinidad. The British made it illegal, but it just became clandestine.And, capoeira was mentioned, so don't forget maculele.

The article brings up issues that would be great to discuss. Ogun, for ex., and the relationship of religion.

Also, see https://chinesemartialstudies.com/2019/ ... caribbean/

Calinda is another example https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calinda

Then, there is the Barbadian style https://martialarts.fandom.com/wiki/Bajan_Stick_Licking

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ek6hXa9nMb8

Note that in the US, this tradition (along with that of the drum) did not flourish. I have argued that it is because of the absence of a dominant sugar cane culture. Consequently, people here didn't carry cane knives, nor were they allowed to use drums. When they did have access, troubles could arise -- as with Cinque's revolt on Amistad.
Image
https://cdn.history.com/sites/2/2015/04 ... 01-AB.jpeg

Cinque was being taken to Haiti, btw. Fwiw, paintings of him often show him holding a stick, not a machete/cane knife (which aren't the same).
Image
Last edited by Steve James on Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:40 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Sticking/Adhering in Machete Practice

Postby Steve James on Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:32 am

Yes, the Quilombo (Mocambo) at Palmares was important. Zumbi is still revered as a legendary hero --though his symbol is a spear. Still Ogun, though. Ganga Zumba "was" Shango.:)
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Re: Sticking/Adhering in Machete Practice

Postby Steve James on Tue Apr 23, 2019 5:33 am

Maculele: like capoeira, is a kind of a dance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yb2m1kQqoLM

Here's a fancier version by dance Brasil. The grass/reed fringe skirt is the traditional costume.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6EdpR8Bl1Y

Here's one with machetes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ae1GzcU67fM

Now, the connection is that Brazilian forms are influenced by the Ngolan cultures (i.e., Kongo (Angola, Congo, DR Congo). Haiti also had an influx of these people. So, note the similarity between the maculele and Haitian muti (another machete art). For ex.,

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-F5hbEX8V6w&rel=0&color1=0xd6d6bc&color2=0x71605d&border=0">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ae1GzcU67fM

Now, the connection is that Brazilian forms are influenced by the Ngolan cultures (i.e., Kongo (Angola, Congo, DR Congo). Haiti also had an influx of these people. So, note the similarity between the maculele and Haitian muti (another machete art). For ex.,

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-F5hbEX8V6w&rel=0&color1=0xd6d6bc&color2=0x71605d&border=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350">

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-F5hbEX8V6w
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Re: Sticking/Adhering in Machete Practice

Postby Trick on Tue Apr 23, 2019 5:48 am

Been watching a couple of HK gun-fu/triad/gangster movies lately. In some of those movies machete like blades are at display, always a larger group wildly chop chop chop on a single or a small group of three or four guys...Yes it’s the movies, but still I think that’s pretty much how machete fights go
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Re: Sticking/Adhering in Machete Practice

Postby Steve James on Tue Apr 23, 2019 6:08 am

Fights go like fights. Mass fights are chaotic. Machete fights are no different, but the intent of the fight is what makes the difference. Here's an example from Botswana, iinm.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wq2FYJKQPN8

Those were pangas. That video shows no injuries, but if you wanted to see the results of pangas in battles, the history of several African countries during the 90s would provide more than you'd ever want to see.
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Re: Sticking/Adhering in Machete Practice

Postby Steve James on Tue Apr 23, 2019 12:02 pm

Re: Trinidad/Tobago, the stick tradition there may also have influenced by the influx of East Indians in the 1840s/50s. For ex., note the similarity of technique here. I'm not sure if it's Hindi or Urdu, but I don't speak either enyway.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNtZ3mvEQkU


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIu8DY-EH6w
Last edited by Steve James on Tue Apr 23, 2019 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sticking/Adhering in Machete Practice

Postby Greg J on Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:21 pm

Steve James wrote:
Greg J wrote:Those interested in learning more about the history of machete fighting/ esgrima in Columbia, Cuba, and Haiti might want to give this paper a read:

http://www.redalyc.org/pdf/855/85512905010.pdf

(edit: the abstract on the first page is in Spanish, but the rest of the paper is in English).

Best,
Greg


...

The article brings up issues that would be great to discuss. Ogun, for ex., and the relationship of religion...



We need to get Graham and the Heretics/ Woven Energy dream team on this ASAP!

Take care,
Greg
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