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Dambe, also known as Kokawa and Hausa boxing.Dambe explanation is 'To have integrity in the light of the creator' in Hausa.  It is a form of boxing associated with the Hausa people of Nigeria,West Africa. Historically, Dambe included a wrestling component, known as Kokawa, but today it is essentially a striking art.

The tradition is dominated by Hausa butcher caste groups, and over the last century evolved from clans of butchers traveling to farm villages at harvest time, integrating a fighting challenge by the outsiders into local harvest festival entertainment. It was also traditionally practised as a way for men to get ready for war, and many of the techniques and terminology allude to warfare. Today, companies of boxers travel, performing outdoor matches accompanied by ceremony and drumming, throughout the traditional Hausa homelands of northern Nigeria, southern Niger and southwestern Chad.The name "Dambe" derives from the Hausa word for "boxing", and appears in languages like Bole as Dembe.

Matches last three rounds. There is no time-limit to these rounds. Instead, they end when:
1) there is no activity,
2) one of the participants or an official calls a halt, or
3) a participant's hand, knee, or body touches the ground. Knocking the opponent down is called killing the opponent.

The primary weapon is the strong-side fist. The strong-side fist, known as the spear, is wrapped in a piece of cloth covered by tightly knotted cord. The lead hand, called the shield, is held with the open palm facing toward the opponent. The lead hand can be used to grab or hold as required.

The lead leg is often wrapped in a chain, and the chain-wrapped leg is then used for both offense and defense. The unwrapped back leg can also be used to kick. However, because wrestling used to be allowed, and the goal of the game is to cause the opponent to fall down, kicks are more common than they used to be.

Traditionally contests took place at the end of the harvest season, between members of the butchers’ guild and members of farm communities. Both teams were called armies, with the matches taking place in a cleared area referred to as the ‘battlefield’, with spectators forming the boundary of the ring.

In these traditional bouts amulets were often used, but in modern times officials generally discourage the use of such magical amulets, based on fairness.

These days, fights are no longer held in a cleared area, but in rings in stadiums or temporary rings outside factories. Nor are the fighters members of a guild or certain community, they are more often youngsters who train at gyms and compete year-round.

But, no matter whether modern or traditional, all bouts are still preceded by percussive music and chants. Both music and chants are associated with a certain group or individual and serves to call the boxers to the ring, taunt opponents and encourage audience participation.

The stances and single wrapped fist of dambe-fighters bear resemblance to pictures of ancient Egyptian and Hellenistic boxers. Therefore it is assumed that the style is related to ancient Egyptian boxing, this is supported by the assumption that the Hausa people lived further toward Sudan than they do today.



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'LET THOSE WHO DARE COME BATTLE WITH ME' -Excerpt from Kirari Praise Chant,Sung to Honour The Great Dambe Fighter,Shago
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