Traditionally among the common class of Hausa communities, Dambe fight clubs are a national sport centuries old and very popular. Dambe is a mixed martial arts boxing tradition that has been a part of Nigerian culture for centuries.
Within the African Hausa social structure, individuals are classified as either being commoners or chiefs, depending on which profession they hold and the amount of wealth they possess. Among the common class of Hausa communities, Dambe fight clubs are a national sport centuries old and very popular.
African Dambe Fight Club Rules
|Ready to fight|
Fights last for three rounds, the competitors’ goal to knock down their opponent using kicks and punches. Quickness is important in Dambe, and like with many striking arts, a good reach is a big advantage. The fighters’ stronger hands are wrapped in rope (today some fighter wear boxing gloves) that in ancient times could even be dipped in resin and shards of broken glass. The use of glass and resin are no longer allowed however, Dambe used to include an element of wrestling, known as Kokawa, but modern fighting utilizes punching and kicking.
|Giving his opponent the evil eye|
Dambe emphasizes the use of the rear hand, or strong hand for striking. The lead hand is known as a shield and is not used much for actually punching. Instead, the lead hand is used to blog, grab, or hold, and generally is held open, palm facing the opponent. Therefore, punches in Dambe that are used often include the right straight or left straight, for southpaws. Dambe fighters can also kick with both legs.
There are no official weight classes, though fighters are normally matched up with someone of a similar size. Fights last three rounds though these rounds are not timed the end of the fight is happens when one of the fighters or an official calls a stop to it, or when someone is knocked down. Knocking someone down in Dambe is known as killing.
[Many Dambe Fight Clubs use charms for luck and protection to win fights]
|Dambe Fight Club|
Spectators are a key part of the Dambe fighting event by creating an electric atmosphere by chanting and singing support or taunts to the fighters. Other traditions include the use of amulets for supernatural protection, with some fighters wrapping them to their spear hand, while some of the fighting groups also ceremonially shower fighter with money after matches.
Did you Know?
Nigeria has a total population of over 175 million people and nearly 27 million are the Hausa, 1/3 of all Hausa live in the north and northwest regions of Nigeria, an area known as Hausaland. The Hausa culture is strongly linked to Islam.