Nuba/Nubian wrestlingThe




The Nuba people and culture are found in present day Sudan. The Nuba are the people closest in tradition and appearance, to the Ancient Nubians of antiquity. As can be seen from the pictures below, Nuba wrestling is almost identical to those of ancient Nubians. See the images on the tombs and monuments dating from the 12th dynasty of ancient Kimit. inantiquity, the Nubians were known as the greatest fighters in the world and this reputation lasted until the time of the Ancient Greeks.See the images on the tombs and monuments dating from the 12th dynasty of ancient Kimit. inantiquity, the Nubians were known as the greatest fighters in the world and this reputation lasted until the time of the Ancient Greeks.

Nuba wrestler

“The Nuba of Sudan, Africa practiced a form of martial arts wrestling over 2,800 years before Christ. There are no other records in any corner of the world that can claim such a long, and unbroken martial arts tradition. This form of martial arts, which included weapons as well as fortification, and certainly empty hand self-defense blossomed in 12th Dynasty Egypt. Nuba Wrestling is the original martial art that all of Africa, Asia, and Europe later came to benefit from”.

NUBA WRESTLING™ – The African Origins of the Martial Arts Revealed!  by Nijel BPG


This means that Nuba wrestling is the oldest unbroken system of martial arts.  In the Nuba Mountains and throughout the present day Sudan, Nuba practise with weapons and also use an empty hand technique similar to Aikido.   Nuba Wrestling is the original martial art that all of Africa, Asia, and Europe later came to benefit from”. Nuba wrestling is still practiced today in the South of Sudan as parts of Rites of Passage.

a siege scence from ancient beni hassan






Modern Nuba wrestling festival


Ancient depiction of two wrestlers

Since the beginning of time until now, men and women have attempted to define their reality and prepare themselves for the rigours and dangers of the outside world. This system of training has been called Rites of passage.  The principle elements of this training were the early martial arts.  So martial arts is a training for life. Man began to study the animal kingdom observing the way they fought with talons and beaks, claws and teeth and despite his physical weakness, he attempted to copy their styles. Since he didn’t have the strength of the predetor animal, he sought to utilise his eternal energy or chi, to make up for what he lacked in brute force.

These earliest forms of fighting also incorporated animal methods of attack and defence, but also relied heavily on internal strength. The purpose was to prepare men and women to exist in the harshness of life. 

Yoruba Wrestling  The Yoruba people are to be found in what is post colonial Nigeria. As part of their rites of passage into manhood, Yoruba men are required to perform: wrestling, horse riding, swimming and hunting. Throughout the year, men practice wrestling in villages up and down the country. (The rules and style resemble Nuba wrestling). Then at special festivals known as Ijakadi, the men come together to show their prowess. Men who are successful in competitions or duels, receive a great deal of kudos and prestige. In ancient times, these competitions would confirm a man’s future status, as a chief or a warrior, but now the prestige is more ceremonial. In other parts of West Africa, there are arts like Laamb in Senegal  

In 776 B.C. when the Egypt empire was ancient, that the Greeks began the practice of wrestling in honor of the African God Amon, whom they renamed Zeus.  The ancient Greeks provided one of the first instances of a martial art and religious tradition being combined in the west. However, it was a tradition based on older African practices that the Greeks adopted, but never fully applied. Modern Greco-Roman wrestling experts attribute the origins of their sport to illustrations discovered on the walls of tombs at a region of ancient Egypt called Mahez, which as been renamed “Beni Hasan”, or “hill of the son of the Hasan family”.

Although considered just a sport today, these illustrations point to a well developed science that actually developed in Nubia, but reached the zenith of expression in Egypt. At Beni Hasan, in four separate tombs, there are hundreds of paintings on limestone walls that for the most part, have since decayed. The paintings are of African martial artists using a variety of wrestling

holds and locks. The illustrations total well over 500 individual pairs of wrestlers who are executing hundreds of sophisticated techniques. These images are mainly recorded in the tombs of governors, or princes by the names of Baqet III, his son Khety, and his son Amenemhat.

 They all reigned in Mahez during the 11th and 12th Dynasties. Illustrations were also found in the well known tomb of Prince Khemenhotep!!. The paintings feature pairs of fighters who are wrestling, as well as illustrations of warriors using other forms of unarmed combat that employ kicking and punching techniques. There are scenes of martial artists using weapons such as a lance, short sticks, daggers, staffs, and bow and arrows. There are even scenes of warriors utilizing military technology such as a testudo, which is a shielding device used during the siege of a castle. The earliest representation of a castle in the world can be found illustrated on an incense holder that originates from Nubia, the “mother civilization” of Egypt. Several paintings of castles in the Mahez tombs predates what we believe about the birth of castles, fortifications and medieval technology from Europe’s Middle Ages. All total, these paintings in Africa represent the most ancient, and prolific depiction of martial arts on Earth. Besides the accounts of ancient Greek historians themselves, information confirming the Greek’s access to Egyptian arts and sciences were recorded by 17th and 18th century Europeans in Egypt such as Edme F. Jomard, James Burton, Jean Champollion, Robert Hay, and others. The most complete and often referred to archeological study of the Mahez tombs were compiled by the Englishman Percy Newberry. Working for the Archaeological Survey of Egypt between 1890 and 1892, Newberry carried out “excavations” at Beni Hasan. The results were published in a two volume work as the First and Second Memoirs of the ASE (Percy E. Newberry, Beni Hasan, Part I [London, 1893] and Beni Hasan, Part II [London, 1893].

He states that graffiti on the walls that were written in Greek further proves that the Greeks were frequent visitors to the tombs in ancient times. During European colonial expansion, and the advent of the enslavement of African prisoners of the imperialist wars, Africans could never be credited with the development of the martial arts because while Europe was so called “excavating” icons, treasures, as well as people from the African continent, they were also hard at work covering up Africa’s contributions to the world, and instead promoted the notion of African inferiority.

 In many cases, the western world took from, never credited, but in fact often discredited their ancient Kemetic roots. In the case of the martial arts, they were probably never provided with the keys to unlock the knowledge of the more important spiritual applications. It is like bootlegging a software program without the instructions to run it. Although you may eventually figure it out on your own, no one would know that program as well as the programmer. To the early Greeks, wrestling, and the related arts such as Pankration, were simple sport to them. It was sport then, as it still is today.

The more salient aspects of Kimitic thought such as the science of Maat, encouraged justice, truth, righteousness, and correct actions to direct the spiritual forces that would be encountered with the intense study of the physical martial sciences. There are also the teachings of the Seven Principles of the great Kimitec deity Jhuti, or Hermes as he was called by the Greeks. These teachings and sciences, along with meditation, breath control, concentration and the correct application of the martial arts, would lead to the release of powerful inner forces, represented by the ureaus (Kaeduceus) serpent in Kimit, and the kundalini as it was known to the sister civilization in India.

 In the west, spiritual aspects were neglected, not understood, and in some cases, withheld altogether. Much of the written records of Egypt that were later deposited in the libraries such as the one in Alexandria were destroyed. Because of this lack of true understanding the Greeks developed a love (philo) of wisdom (sophy), which encourages ideas and speculation more than action. The African genius Imhotep (known to the Greeks as Asclepius), was the multi-talented student of Jhuti.

He said, “For the Greeks have empty speeches…that are energetic only in what they demonstrate, and this is the philosophy of the Greeks, an inane foolosophy of speeches. We (the Egyptians), by contrast, use not speeches but sounds that are full of action”.

There is a second part to this story to be posted later.

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