Five of the least known (and possibly most interesting) martial arts
It’s not common to associate Canada with violence and martial arts, but the martial art of Okichitaw is derived from the ancient techniques employed by the Plains Cree First Nations.
The name comes from the Cree word Okichitaw which was a title bestowed upon a warrior by the elders of the tribe after having proved himself in battle. Although this isn’t a traditional martial art, having been founded in the 20th century and being influenced by martial arts from as far away as Korea it does base the majority of the techniques on the tradition war tactics of the Cree people.
Many people have heard of krav maga, a martial art developed by the Israeli army and secret service that is tailored to the environment of Israel. Systema, the Russian word for ‘system’ as one may have guessed, is the Russian equivalent and was developed by the Russian army’s elite Spetsnaz forces.This deadly art puts emphasis on the dominating the opponent by controlling crucial points of the opponent’s body such as the knees, shoulders, elbows and necks to effectively render the victim immobile.
Having been around since the time of the ancient Egyptians it’s somewhat surprising how obscure this martial art is. In essence, it is stick warfare and it approximately 4500 years old. It’s unsurprising that the weapons are so primitive given how long ago the sport was developed. Although it’s not often practised these days it splintered off into a form of Egyptian folk dancing that, quite predictably, uses a stick.
Unlike Tahtib, one of the most ancient forms of martial arts, Bakom was developed rapidly and very deliberately in the 1980s in Peru. And unlike its more ancient cousins that tended to develop philosophies about control and power and self-discipline over the centuries, Bakom has one simple goal: incapacitate the opponent, including through very brutal means such as choking them or breaking their bones. It also has little time for such concepts as fair play or honour and encourages the use of concealed arms.
When most people think of sport originating from India it’s yoga that comes to mind and not violent martial arts, but in the South India state of Kerala Kalari Payat took its life. Although disputed by some it is generally held to be the oldest martial art on the planet, predating Tahtib and even writing. Like yoga itself, to which it is related, it’s so ancient that its founder is held to be Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction.