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Papa Machete

13 Nov

Like a lot of things in Haiti’s rich culture, much is shrouded in secrecy. Sadly, the consequence of that is that many things have become lost.

Visit the country for any length of time, and you find out there is this whole other world beneath the surface.

Image result for Machete fighting history louisiana

While working there, a Haitian friend accused a politician of “getting out his vote” with “Machete Boys”. On the surface, an outsider would miss both the historical and cultural context of this. During the Haitian Revolution, the former slaves did not have many guns, or even access to gunpowder with which to make bullets. They fought the gun armed French Soldiers with one of the few tools they had, machetes. And won.

Now whether the art came with the former slaves from Africa (stick fighting), or was developed in  Haiti is shrouded in history. What we do know, is machete fighting is a Martial Arts style, perhaps not entirely unique to the Island Nation (there are also unique forms of this in Brazil using the Bolo, Colombia,  Cuba,  as well as in SE Asia). So when a Haitian uses the term “Machete Boys”, the meaning is rich with historical and cultural allusion.

One of the Masters of this form is beginning to talk about it. Papa Machete.

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2017 in Black History, Haiti

 

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