Practiced mainly by a West African community called “Kabye” is form of martial art known as Evala wrestling. This “traditional” martial art form is said to have originated from northern mountains and plains located in northern Togo. It is essentially practiced by the community as a “initiation ritual”. Furthermore, before the wrestling begins the wrestler is supposed to go on a pilgrimage that includes climbing three mountains. In addition, losing a wrestling bout is considered to be “shameful” according to the social norms of the “Kabye” community.
a. History/origin of the Evala wrestling:
According to the cultural history of Togo, this form of wrestling was developed by the “Kabye” community who belong to mountains and plains located in northern Togo. It was created as a form of a “initiation ritual” to celebrate the transition of young men to “adulthood”.
b. Weapons used in Evala wrestling:
Since this form of martial art is essentially wrestling, the weapon mainly used is the hand of the wrestler involved.
c. Technique involved in Evala wrestling and training availability:
In terms of technique, the wrestler essentially has to lift his opponent over the shoulder and drop him to the ground. Additionally, a young man losing in a bout of “Evala wrestling” according to the traditions of the Kabye community is considered to be shame. Furthermore, before participating the young wrestler has to undergo a rigorous initiation process which includes climbing three mountains. As for training centers/schools, there are none available around the world since this “traditional” martial art form is mainly performed in Togo within a community called “Kabye”.
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