Tire Mach├Ęt: Haitian Machete Fencing

Carson City 1

Friday July 26, 2024 - 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm


Haiti boasts a rich martial tradition rooted in the indigenous warrior art of West and Central Africa, brought to the island during the Atlantic slave trade. Enslaved Africans, many captured on battlefields, transported these skills across the Atlantic, utilizing them during the Haitian Revolution. In this new environment, indigenous African swordplay blended with European fencing, evolving into a dynamic cultural expression with styles connected by family, community, and region. This fusion creates the rich tapestry that underlines the uniquely Haitian form of stick and machete fencing that exists today. The art of fighting with stick and machete has been known by various names: Kalinda, Mousondi, Tire Bwa, with Tire Machet (meaning to pull and implying a blow or a shot), being the most commonly used term today. In this class, we will explore the unique Avril family system, which emphasizes an impregnable defense. Participants will learn to use the machete for blocking, parrying, binding, and smothering attacks, while employing agile footwork and corporal dexterity to evade, flank, and outmaneuver opponents. The class will delve into the four foundational principles of the Avril system as well as their practical application. Esgrima y Machete: Art of Elegant Defense Esgrima y Machete, a unique fusion of African swordplay and Spanish fencing created by descendants of enslaved Africans in Colombia's mountainous Cauca region. developed and practiced by Afro-Colombians. Its two epicenters: Monte Obscuro (Modern day Puerto Tejada) and El Palenque del Castigo (Modern day Patia) served as runaway slave communities who bravely waged a guerrilla campaign during the Columbian War of Independence. Many of the guards and stances are reminiscent of Spanish fencing while the rhythmic footwork, low body positions, and dynamic corporeal dexterity reflects key aspects of other fighting arts found in the African diaspora - namely: Capoeira de Angola (Brasil), Tire Machet (Haiti), and Garrote Larense (Venezuela). This course delves into fundamental attacks and defenses, the various guards and stances, and basic footwork. We will also explore traditional choreographed sequences of attack and defense used to showcase the art's beauty and hone technical proficiency. Concluding with practical application of these core techniques through coached sparring, participants will apply learned concepts in dynamic settings.


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