Thursday, July 23, 2015

Peinillas and Popular Participation: Machete fighting in Haiti, Cuba, and Colombia


Peinillas and Popular Participation: Machete fighting in Haiti, Cuba, and Colombia

 

This article explores the history of fencing with machetes among people of African descent in Haiti, Cuba, and Colombia. The machete, a sacred icon of individual success and warfare in Africa, became for enslaved Africans a tool used in exploiting their labor. Yet they retained a mastery over this weapon through the widespread art of stick fighting. This mastery of arma blanca helped transform the machete into an important weapon in the national struggles of all three countries. Even in the early twentieth century the Colombian art of fencing with sticks and machetes was a widespread social practice among Afro-Caucanos that allowed them to demonstrate their individual honor as well as make important contributions to national struggles from independence to the conflict with Peru in Leticia. Although published accounts highlight the role of political and military elite, these counter-memories emphasize the common soldiers whose mastery of arma blanca made possible numerous national victories.


 
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Visit my website to learn about my research and teaching: www.kamaurashid.com

Harakati za Waasi Martia Arts--Chinese and African Martial Arts: www.hzwmartialarts.com

"You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom"
-Malcolm X
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Posted by: Kamau <kamaurashid1@yahoo.com>
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