Nguni Stick fight­ing

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - CLASSIFIEDS -

NGUNI stick fight­ing or play­ing sticks is a mar­tial art tra­di­tion­ally prac­tised by teenage Nguni herd­boys in South Africa. Each com­bat­ant is armed with two long sticks, one of which is used for de­fence and the other for of­fence. Lit­tle ar­mour is used. Al­though Nguni/Xhosa styles of fight­ing may use only two sticks, vari­a­tions of Bantu/ Nguni stick fight­ing through­out south­ern Africa in­cor­po­rate shields as part of the stick fight­ing weaponry. Zulu stick fight­ing uses an ‘‘Isiquili’’ or at­tack­ing stick, an ‘‘Uboko’’ or de­fend­ing stick and an ‘‘izoliHauw’’ or de­fend­ing shield. The ob­ject is for two op­pos­ing war­riors to fight each other to es­tab­lish which of them is the strong­est or the ‘‘bull’’. In mod­ern times this usu­ally oc­curs as part of the wed­ding cer­e­mony where war­riors from the bride­groom’s house­hold and area wel­come war­riors from the bride’s house­hold and area to meet to ‘‘get to know each other’’, other groups of war­riors may also be wel­come to join in. War­riors do this by en­gag­ing in com­bat with one another. An ‘‘in­duna’’ or war cap­tain/ ref­eree from each group of war­riors keeps his crew in check and keeps or­der be­tween fight­ers. None­the­less, stick fight­ing is a game, and the dy­nam­ics of stick fight­ing are gen­er­ally play­ful. The ex­cep­tions are when sticks are used for self-de­fence or in a fac­tion fight, or when amashinga (pro­fes­sional stick fight­ers) com­pete. This tra­di­tion is one which ar­guably de­vel­oped in so­ci­eties, cul­tures and civil­i­sa­tions that used herd­ing as part of their sys­tems of sur­vival – where there are cows there are stick fight­ers. Stick fight­ing also pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity for men to build courage and skill, to dis­tin­guish them­selves as pro­fi­cient war­riors, and to earn re­spect in the com­mu­nity. Nel­son Man­dela prac­ticed Nguni stick fight­ing as a child. You start in Fresh Meat, where you are taught the fun­da­men­tals of derby which is how to stop at speed – the best way is the tran­si­tion stop. It’s also about learn­ing the cor­rect derby stance which helps if you do hap­pen to fall as you don’t have that far to fall. You learn how to do cross overs, sticky skat­ing which is where you skate with­out lift­ing your feet, and weav­ing in and out of witches hats. We also do drills that work your core not to men­tion other parts if your body that have been dor­mant. Jessie – she rocks, she has worked re­ally hard to get the DDD where we are now. She has done a lot of ground work and re­search for the team. We now have a com­mit­tee and a venue. We are in the process of get­ting a logo, most im­por­tantly we need more ‘‘freshies’’ mem­bers. Keep an eye out for our open night in De­cem­ber. There will be mem­bers from Table­lands, Cairns Derby Dolls and Reef City Roller Girls do­ing a demon­stra­tion. It’s such a great sport. There’s a stigma that it’s rough and lots of in­juries. Ok it’s rough, but if you know how to stop and you’re not afraid to go with grav­ity and fall you will be ok. You don’t have to be awe­some on skates to be a derby diva, you don’t even need to know how to skate as that will come with train­ing. On an all girls league there are male ze­bras (refs) and pan­das (non skat­ing of­fi­cials – NSOs). Kids are more than wel­come to show their in­ter­est in form­ing a ju­nior league as there is a league in Cairns.

What is the best thing about derby? The Derby Love. The at­mos­phere at a bout is elec­tri­fy­ing! Be­ing part of a team and be­ing able to push your­self to the limit for your team. What is the worst? The smell of sweaty bod­ies What po­si­tion will you play? Most likely Jam­mer. At the mo­ment I can do 25 laps in un­der 5 min­utes. You need to be fast on your feet and ag­ile for this po­si­tion. What does train­ing con­sist of?

Do you ‘‘Whip It’’? Yes! That is an awe­some move, you can get some real speed up. If you are jam­mer you need to whip it good. Favourite move? Dou­ble knee stops – I feel like a rock star when I do them. Any in­juries? No in­juries, touch wood. Sore back from derby stance, this ap­par­ently means I’m do­ing it right. This is why it’s im­por­tant to build core strength. Em­bar­rass­ing mo­ments? Try­ing to talk with my mouth guard in. Favourite team mate and why?

Why should other women con­sider join­ing DDD?

Are there pos-

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