Armed combative traditions of Latin America and the Caribbean: a hoplological overview
Keywords:Martial arts, South America, Caribbean, Hoplology, armed combat, honor
Over the last few decades, there has been a resurgent interest in New World martial art traditions. The bulk of the attention has focused on African and African diasporic traditions. Many well-researched books and articles have resulted from this focus. Yet, there is much less interest regarding other combative modalities brought to the shores of the New World. For centuries immigrant communities have brought with them sophisticated combative systems that persist to this day. As part of a broader hoplological project, this article seeks to identify and document the diverse armed combative systems still extant and practiced in South America and the Caribbean that have not transformed into solely institutionalized sports or recreational pastimes. With few exceptions these arts continue to be taught, practiced, and used in a variety of informal situations to ensure one’s property or public reputation or as part of an economic strategy in the informal economy. At times paralleling and overlapping these more pragmatic goals, these arts also persist as a way of preserving older cultural moralities, ethics, and forms of masculinity.
Almeida, U. (1981). Capoeira: A Brazilian Art Form. Palo Alto: Sun Wave.
Assunção, M.R. (2005). Capoeira: The History of an Afro-Brazilian Art. New York: Routledge.
Assunção, M.R. (2014). Sticks and Stanzas: Poetic and Physical Challenges in the Afro-Brazilian Culture of the Paraiba Valley, Rio de Janeiro. History Workshop Journal, 77(3), 103-146. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/hwj/dbt007
Boretz, A. (2011). Gods, Ghosts, and Gangsters: Ritual Violence, Martial Arts and Masculinity on the Margins of Chinese Society. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.
Burton, R.F. (1987) . The Book of the Sword. New York: Dover Publications.
Capoeira, N. (2002). Capoeira: Roots of the Dance-Fight-Game. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.
Carton, B., & Morrell, R. (2012). Zulu Masculinities, Warrior Culture and Stick Fighting: Reassessing Male Violence and Virtue in South Africa. Journal of Southern African Studies, 38(1), 31-53. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/03057070.2011.640073
Chacón, R.J., & Mendoza, R.G. (Eds.) (2007). Latin American Indigenous Warfare and Ritual Violence. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press.
Couthino, D. (1993). O ABC de Angola: Os Manuscritos do Mestre Noronha. Brasilia: Centro de Documentação e Informação Sobre Capoeira-CIDOC/AF.
Cowley, J. (1996). Carnival, Canboulay and Calypso: Traditions in the Making. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Desch-Obi, T. J. (2008). Fighting for Honor: The History of African Martial Art Traditions in the Atlantic World. Colombia: The University of South Carolina Press.
Desch-Obi, T. J. (2009). Peinillas and Popular Participation: Machete fighting in Haiti, Cuba, and Colombia. Memorias. Revista Digital de Historia y Arqueología desde el Caribe, 11. Retrieved from http://rcientificas.uninorte.edu.co/index.php/memorias/article/viewArticle/517
DiMarzio, D. (2012). From Machete Fights to Paradise: The Machete Fights of the Dominican Republic. Morrisville (NC): Lulu.com.
Dineen, M. (2001). People and Cultures of Venezuela. Greenwood Press. CT.
Draeger, D. F. (1973). Classical Bujutsu: The Martial Arts and Ways of Japan. New York: Weatherhill.
Eastwick, E. (2013) . Venezuela or Sketches of Life in a South American Republic; With the History of the Loan of 1864. London: Forgotten Books.
Esgrima Criolla. (2020). Esgrima criolla. Retrieved from www.esgrimacriolla.blogspot.com.ar
Farrer, D., & Whalen-Bridge, J. (Eds.). (2011). Martial Arts as Embodied Knowledge: Asian Traditions in A Transnational World. Albany: SUNY Press.
Forde, P. (2018). Blocking Both Head and Foot: An examination of Bajan Sticklicking. (Doctoral Dissertation). The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados.
Green T. A., & Svinth. J. (Eds.) (2003). Martial Arts in The Modern World. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.
Green T. A., & Svinth. J. (Eds.). (2010). Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
Grover, J. (1942). Great Granddaddy Biddle-A tough guy, and that something you don’t have to tell to the Marines. Retrieved June 30, 2014, from https://bowieknifefightsfighters.blogspot.com/2010/11/bowie-knife-fighter-anthony-j-drexel.html
Grubb, W. B. (1913). An Unknown People in an Unknown Land: an account of life and customs of the Lengua Indians of the Paraguayan Chaco with adventures and experiences during twenty years pioneering and exploration amongst them. London: Charles Murray & Co.
Herrera, S. C. (2016). A History of Violence and Exclusion: Afro-Colombians from slavery to displacement. (Master’s thesis). Georgetown University. Washington D.C., U.S.A.
Hill, E. (1972). The Trinidad Carnival: Mandate of a National Identity. Austin: The University of Texas Press.
Jones. D. (Ed.). (2002). Combat, Ritual and Performance: Anthropology of the Martial Arts. Santa Barabra, CA: Praeger.
Landis, R. (1994). . City of Women. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
Lende, D.H., & Downey, G. (2012). The Encultured Brain: An Introduction to Neuroanthropology. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Lewis, J.L. (1992). Ring of Liberation: Deceptive Discourse in Brazilian Capoeira. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Mauss, M. (1979). . Sociology and Psychology: Essays. B. Brewster, transl. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Michalon, J. (1987). Le Ladja: Orgine et Pratiqués. Paris: Editions Caribéennes.
Osornio, M. (1995). Esgrima Criolla: (cuchillo, rebenque, poncho y chuza). Ediciones Nuevo Siglo: Buenos Aires.
Pasthina, V. F. (1964). Capoeira Angola. Salvador, Brazil: Fundação Cultural do Estado Bahia.
Pitt-Rivers, A.H.L. (1867). Primitive Warfare. Parts I. Journal of the Royal United Services Institution, 11, 612-643.
Rego, W. (1968). Capoeira Angola. Salvador BA: Editora Itapuã
Ryan, M. J. (2016). Venezuelan Stick Fighting; The Civilizing Process in Martial Arts. Latham, MD: Lexington Books.
Ryan, M. J. (2019, Spring). Hoplology: The Quest to Discover and Understand Martial Arts. Masters Magazine, 30-39.
Sánchez, R., & Spencer, D. (Eds.) (2013). Fighting Scholars: Habitus and Ethnographies of Martial Arts and Combat Sports. London: Anthem.
Sanoja, E. (1984). Juego de Garrote Larense: El Métodos Venezolano Defensa Personal. Caracas: Miguel Ángel García e Hijo.
Scott, J.C. (1987). Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance. Yale University Press.
Skoss, D. (Ed.) (1995). Koryo Bujutsu: Classical Warrior Traditions of Japan. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Koryu Books.
Thompson, R. F. (1987). Black Martial Arts of the Caribbean. Review of Latin Literature and Arts, 20(37), 44–47. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/08905768708594231
Todd, F. P. (1938). The Knife and Club in Trench Warfare 1914-1918. The Journal of American Military History Foundation, 2(3), 139-153. doi: https://doi.org/10.2307/3038757
Wacquant L. (2004). Body and Soul: Notebooks Of An Apprentice Boxer. New York: Oxford University Press.
Wagley, C. (1977). Welcome of Tears: The Tapirape Indians of Central Brazil. New York: Oxford University Press.
Waldeloir, R. (1968). Capoeira Angola. Salvador BA: Editora Itapuã.
Warnier, J.-P. (2011). Bodily/Material Culture and the Fighter’s Subjectivity. Journal of Material Culture, 16(4), 359-375. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1359183511424840
Wolf, E. (1982). Europe and the People Without History. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Zorn, E. (2002). Dangerous Encounters: Ritual Battles in Andean Bolivia. In D. Jones (Ed.), Combat Ritual and Performance: Anthropology of the Martial Arts (pp. 119-152). Westport, CT: Praeger.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2020 Michael Ryan
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
The authors who publish in this journal must agree to the following terms:
- The authors grant on a nonexclusive basis the exploitation rights (reproduction, distribution, public communication and transformation) of the work accepted for publication to the University of León. The authors can establish, on their own, additional agreements for the non-exclusive distribution of the version of the work published in the journal (for example, placing it in an institutional repository or publishing it in a book), always acknowledging the initial publication in this journal.
- This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Click to see basic information and the legal text of the license.
- The authors are allowed and encouraged to disseminate electronically pre-print or post-print versions of their work before publication, as this can give rise to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and increased citing of the works published.