If you guys have never seen Senegalese wrestling before, wrap your eyes are this crazy sh*t!
This bizarre-looking sport is a type of folk wrestling, originally performed by the Serer people as an exercise to prepare for war among the warrior classes.
It blew up in the early nineties and is now a national sport in Senegal and parts of The Gambia.
There are numerous variations of the sport in West Africa but the Senegalese version is the only one in the region that allows blows with the hands.
In Serer tradition, wrestling was a rite of honour for its men: the word ‘Njom’ derives from the Serer principle of ‘Jom’, meaning ‘heart’ or ‘honour’.
It truly is an ancient sport: one of the oldest known wrestlers in the Senegambia area was a fella named Boukar Djilak Faye, who lived in the 14th century in the Kingdom of Sine.
In addition to preparing for way, young men traditionally used to fight as a distraction, to court wives, prove their manliness, and bring honour to their villages. Today it is an incredibly popular sport that transcends ethnic groups.
One of the main objectives is to throw an opponent to the ground by lifting him up and over, usually outside a given area.
Senegalese wrestlers train incredibly hard and often perform press-ups and other exercises throughout the day in order to build up their strength.
While power is obviously an important aspect, participants also believe that there is an element of luck involved, and may perform rituals before a match to increase their chances of coming away victorious.
Competitors often rub a foot on a stone or rub themselves with lotions or oils to increase “good luck” (the latter probably helps with takedown defence, too!).
The famous costume designer who worked on the Black Panther moview used the colors of various African tribes in the pieces for the cast, manipulating them to make them pop on screen or show specific detail.
“I looked at the Senegalese wrestlers,” she said in a January interview with ESSENCE. “I looked at the Maasai tribe, the Tuareg and they’re all very distinctive in their looks. South Africa is different from West Africa, Nibia is different from Botswana. It was important that once I was guided in the direction of what each part of Wakanda looked like, I could assign each faction to an African tribe.”
Main actor Chadwick Boseman who plays the superhero and fellow cast members who included Lupita Nyong’o prepared for their astounding fight scenes by learning Senegalese Wrestling, among other martial arts.
A lot of the punching exchanges look absolutely wild, especially to seasoned MMA fans but one thing’s for sure: this is entertaining as all fu*k! Have a gander at these blokes…
CHECK OUT A FEW SENEGALESE WRESTLERS ON THE PLAYER BELOW:
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