ABSTRACT: The French anthropologist Marcel MAUS had defined the concept of “Body Techniques” as the ways in which from society-to-society people know how to use their bodies.  It involves cultures and traditions developed by Man in relation with its social environment. Martial arts as an indispensable part of human culture, embody the way people understand and use their bodies. They are a set of cultural practices developed by humans for adaptations’ needs. African people throughout history, have developed their own patterns of “Body Techniques” slanted towards the “physical”, the “spiritual” and the “artistic”. Then, through cultural refinement, this has lay down the core philosophy of African Martial Arts with “Combat”, “Spirituality” and “Dance” as intrinsic values.  Borrowing MAUSS’ definition of “Body Techniques”, the concept “African Martial Arts” will refer to “a cultural complex of body techniques associated with fighting (Attack/Defense) created by African people in response to their adaptation and development needs over the course of history.” This article uses Marcel MAUSS’ anthropological conception of “Body Techniques” as theoretical foundation, and explores the African conception of “Body Techniques” in the context of African Martial Arts.


KEY WORDSCultural Anthropology, African Martial Arts, Body Techniques, Combat, Dance, Spirituality

Date of Publication: 5th January 2022

Ijamact Unique ID: IJM11036053

Author: TALING TENE RODRIGUE, Zhejiang Normal University, China