© Yasser Elrasoul, 2017
||Tahteeb is a traditional martial art from upper Egypt. Performed in front of an audience, it involves a brief, non-violent interchange between two opponents, each wielding a long stick while folk music plays in the background. Complete control must be exercised as no striking is allowed. Practitioners are male both young and old, mostly from Saeedy populations in upper Egypt, particularly rural areas where the tahteeb stick has been used by inhabitants as part of their daily lives and considered a sign of manhood. Recently however tahteeb opened up to women (Noureldin 2017) The rules of the game are based on values such as mutual respect, friendship, courage, strength, chivalry and pride. The game gives participant’s confidence through the acquired skills and a sense of pride performing before their community. It also helps to strengthen family ties and foster good communal relations (UNESCO, s.d.).|
||In ancient Egypt, tahteeb was used as a form of martial arts. Its role has since changed to that of a festive game but some of the symbolism and values associated with the practice remain (UNESCO, s.d.). It can be traced back to the time of the Pharaoh, as drawings on the walls of the ancient tombs of kings from that era show figures practicing the art using kendo-style postures (Green 2001, p. 562). In recent years, tahteeb has also been practiced as a dance, usually shown during cultural events.|
|Tahteeb is practised in public and private social settings. Sometimes competitions are held to encourage new players and special tahteeb evenings involving different governorates that can last almost a week. Transmission occurs within families, neighbourhoods and to anyone who wishes to learn (Daily News Egypt, s.d.). The Association of Upper Egypt for Education and Development (AUEED) organizes a program teaching young girls modern tahteeb.|
||- Association of Upper Egypt for Education and Development (AUEED)|
||- UNESCO. (s.d.). Tahteeb, Stick Game. [online] ich.unesco.org. Available at: https://ich.unesco.org/en/RL/tahteeb-stick-game-01189 [Accessed 1 April 2020]. |
- Noureldin, O. (2017). Egypt's First Female Tahteeb Instructor Smashes Gender Barriers In Ancient Game - Egypt Independent. [online] Egypt Independent. Available at: https://www.egyptindependent.com/egypt-s-first-female-tahteeb-instructor-smashes-gender-barriers-ancient-game [Accessed 1 April 2020].
- Green, Thomas A. (ed.), 2001. Martial arts of the world: an encyclopedia, Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.
- Daily News Egypt. (s.d.). ‘Tahtib’: The once martial art that turned into a dance. [online] dailynewssegypt.com. Available at: https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/05/08/tahtib-martial-art-turned-dance [Accessed 1 April 2020].