© Oteikwu Joshua, 2019
||Dambe is a fighting art that originated among the Hausa people in West Africa, mainly Nigeria. It is a striking art, using, hands, feet and the head. One of the hands is wrapped with cloth (kara) and rope (zare), giving it protection and the ability to deliver strong punches. This hand is referred to as the spear. The other hand is used as a shield.A fight consists of maximum three rounds. The goal is to knock the opponent on the floor within those three rounds (Green 2010 : 6; Mafua 2020).The growing popularity of dambe has brought up some concerns regarding safety. Serious injuries among the fighters are common.|
||Dambe found its origin among butchers and fishermen who held festivals where they would find when they exchanged meat and fish. Later it turned into a way to teach and practice military skills (Mafua 2020; Green 2010: 6). Nowadays dambe is often seen at festivals, events to celebrate harvests and at naming ceremonies and funerals (Rivett-Carnac 2018).In 2017 a league was started to aim for a more conventional dambe and hopefully make the sport suitable for export. More clubs are joining the league and uniforms are being standardized to provide more safety for the contestants. Systems for scoring and consistent rules are created, rounds for example can last maximum 3 minutes now and weight classes will be introduced. The league also hired a doctor to monitor the fights. The league also tries to ban some of the traditional customs which might cause problems when the sport grows. Examples are traditional medicine and amulets worn during the fights (Rivett-Carnac 2018). Dambe is also getting commercial interest (Crudelli 2010: 289; Rivett-Carnac 2018). In order to be preserved and expand the art will adapt and probably let go of some of its traditional aspects.|
|The YouTube channel Dambe Warriors keeps gaining popularity. With 60% of subscribers coming from outside of Nigeria, Hausa boxing has found an international audience (Mafua 2020).|
||- Nigeria Traditional Boxing League Association|
||- Youtube Channel “Dambe Warriors”: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnmoV7ei3fpExFB1WUgOKkQ|
- BBC Gallery: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/picture_gallery/08/africa_traditional_boxing_in_nigeria/html/7.stm
||- Green, T. (2010). “Dambe”. In Green, T. A. and Svinth J.R. (eds). Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation, Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.|
- Mafua, J. (2020). “Dambe: The Nigerian combat sport with worldwide aspirations”, BBC https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/52185587
- Rivett-Carnac, M. (2018). “These Boxers Fight With Cords Wrapped Around Their Fists. Crowds Love It.” The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/12/sports/dambe-boxing.html
- Crudelli, C. (2010). The Way of the Warrior: Martial Arts and Fighting Skills from Around the World, London: Dorling Kindersley, p. 289.
- Desch-Obi, T.J. (2008). Fighting for Honor: The History of African Martial Art Traditions in the Atlantic World, South Carolina: The University of South Carolina Press.