African Origin of Marital Arts by Dr. Alim El-Bey

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Historically, the first dynasty of China is the Shang (Shango) Dynasty, the third is the re-emerging Shang Li Dynasty, both were African People (Af-Ra-Kanu). The Mesakin and Kao Nuba people of present day Sudan still have a mandate that requires every young man to enter into martial arts training. The Af-Ra-Kan (African) science of self-defense is called “Mon Tu.” ‘Mon Tu’, means ‘Nomad’. Montu, like Min, is another early name for Amen. ‘Montu’ is originally depicted as a bull, a hawk, or a hawk-headed man and is patron of all manner of martial arts and warfare, strength and masculine virility. 

         ‘Mon Tu’ (Martial) became the Chinese pronunciation “Kung Fu”, which means THE WORK OF ACCOMPLISH MAN”. In fact, 2,600 BCE (about 4,600 years ago) the Mon Tu (Martial Arts) were recorded in Prince Amenemhat (Amenyma’at) 12th Century Tomb Carvings, in the tombs of Imhotep and in the tombs of the Governors. Amenemhat, also known as Ameni or Ameny, is a name that means “Amen is Supreme”.  Amenemhat was the Prince and governor of Mahez, and a high official in the Court of King Usertsen I.  He was known as the Great Chief of Mahez.  Amenemhat ruled for 25 years from the time of Usertsen I into the reign of King Amenemhat II (King Amenemhat’s grandfather, King Amenemhat I of the 12th Dynasty was the author of the famous “TESTAMENT OF AMENEMHAT” that can be found in the “MILLIGAN PAPYRUS” and the “PAPYRUS SALLIER II.”  

       The Ngu (Pharaohs) of Ta Meri have recorded their interest in athletic activites on the walls of their temples. Sports in Ta Meri (Kemet  Egypt) included Mon Tu (Martial Arts), grappling (wrestling holds), stick fighting (weaponry), boxing (punches), acrobatics, archery, equestrian events, boating and ball games. The oldest reliefs with wrestling scenes,  dated from 2400 B.C., decorated the tombs of Ptah-Hotep and Akhet-Hotep.

        These carvings constitute the ancient record of the world’s first Martial Arts system and their birthplace is Africa (Af-Ra-Ka). Therefore, it is a common misconception that Martial Arts originated in Asia (China), Japan, Korea and Taiwan to be more specific. This was long before the Olympic Games became an institution in Greece of the 8th century B.C. At Beni Hasan more than 4000 wrestling scenes were found, dated from 2000 B.C. There, we attend a number of athletic movements and postures of athletes in pairs. The wrestlers, wearing belts, attempt to turn their opponents to their back-by-back or shoulder movements.There are pictographs (hieroglyphic / MDW NTCHR) also found in the temple of Ramses III in Medinet Habu and is, yes, over 3100 years old. That is older than East Asian Martial arts, which are only just above 2200 years old, by the way.

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 What many also do not know is that the first Chinese Emperor of the pre-dynastic times about 4,000 BCE, was Fu Xi. The Xi name is also the same indigenous name of the Olmecs (Shi or Hsi people). The city Xi’en (Xian) is named after them. They are the actual builders of the pyramids (Miru) in China. Fu Xi was a woolly haired Moor (Mu’ur or Xi [Olmec]) and he was the father of  the Chinese Tai Chi (the Supreme Ultimate) Philosophy of yin and yang and thus, the “I CHING” translated  into English, the “BOOKS OF CHANGES” dating back to 909 BCE. The philosophical background to Chinese martial arts is contained in the common idiom of “Go-Ju”, “Go” meaning “hard” and “Ju” means “soft”. The negative (Yin) element is the hard Kung fu, and the positive (Yang) element is the soft Kung fu. Moreover, Fu Xi is represented as a human being with the body of a snake. His wife is Nü-gua (Nu Huo). The first of the legendary SAN-HUANG, the snake God Kings who ruled China five thousand years ago. Around 1270 CE, Syed ‘Umar Shams-uddīn [known as Sayyid al-Ajall and “Prince Hsien Yang”], another Moor contributed a great deal to the achievements of the Yuan Dynasty. He shed new light on education, Chinese law, improved agriculture and was the first to establish the Confucian temples. He was responsible for the promotion of the “Tai T’si,” Yin and Yang symbol, an ancient concept centered on the Taoist [Daoist] philosophy and principle of unity of the two cosmic forces. The Taoist cosmology taught that before heaven and earth existed, the Wu Chi was there, i.e., a state of undifferentiated and unmanifest potential.  

          The earliest representation of any kind of belt associated with the martial arts are found in Ta Meri (Kemet / Egypt) along the banks of the Nile in tombs belonging to Prince Khety, and Prince Baquet III of the 11th and 12th dynasties (circa 2,800 B.C.). In both tombs there are two pairs of warriors facing each other.  In the Medu Neter (hieroglyphic) from Prince Khety’s tomb, the warrior stands with his left foot and outstretched left arm forward. From his left hand, a belt in the form of a rope dangles to the floor. This rope does not fall naturally into two strands as it normally would. The belt is interwoven. It is not simply a rope. It is the symbol ‘Shen’ which means ‘Spirit’ (Breath) is a “coiled rope” used to represent intertwining bio-electrical, magnetic and spiritual polarities, or opposites. The opponent facing him is tying the belt around his waist. The tying of the belt at the second chakra called the “Navel Chakra” or the lower “Dan Tien,” where chi (ki, prana) is gathered and stored to promote longevity. It was a symbolic act meant to remind the student that training was for the purpose of developing the kundalini, or spiritual life force, from its lower to its highest point along the spine. It is also, the storage place (lower Dan Tien) of Chi, Ki, Prana energy. In ancient Ta Meri, belts had nothing to do with rank and achievement in the outward (exoteric) sense. The true (esoteric) meaning of the belt is lost today among practitioners of the so-called martial arts who have actually reversed the original intent, and use the belt to focus on the lower nature of ego instead of a higher nature which leads to enlightenment.

       The most compelling evidence for the direct interaction between Egypt and Japan are found in a wonderfully detailed painting on the walls of the tomb of Prince Khemenhotep II from the 12th Dynasty. It depicts a group who were known as the Aamu.  Eight men, four women, and three children are depicted.  They are led by the royal scribe Neferhotep who is holding a papyrus roll that announces a total of 37 Aamu who arive bringing kohl, or eye paint as a tribute to Prince Khemenhotep II.  The Aamu are described as Asiatics (Hyksos, Habiru, Canaanites, Phoenicians). They were brown skin complexioned people, wearing clothes of bright patterns of colors.  The men are all heavily bearded.  These Aamu visitors are not depicted as bound captives, but instead carry weapons such as the bow and arrow, throwing sticks, and clubs. The Aamu are also the ancient ancestors of the indigenous people of modern Japan known as the Ainu. 

We understand the term “karate-Do” in the modern sense to mean “Empty Hand Way,” in the original Ta Meri (Kemetic / Egyptian) language the terms ‘ka,’ ‘ra,’ and ‘te,’ along with the existing philosophies of Ma’at and the process of raising the kundalini, translates more accurately to reflect the concept of the liberation of the spirit from the body. For the ancient Egyptians, this led to enlightenment and resurrection.  The Greeks, whom we know studied these arts and sciences in Egypt, named their martial art “Pankration” (pan-kra-tion) which they define as pan, meaning ‘All’ and ‘krat’ (ka-r-t) meaning “Powers”.

         A more accurate definition that I have arrived at regarding the term “karate” is that Karate, in the original sense of the word means, “The way to bring forth, or draw out the power, or essence of the spirit”.  The ancient Egyptians knew that the spiritual body was much more powerful than the limited physical body.  Their entire society and culture were devoted to the pursuit of knowledge and spiritual enlightenment.  Could it be that like yoga, the study and movements of the martial arts were originally intended to be used as keys to unlock the latent potential within us, so that the spirit could rise up?  If so, the few hundred years of modern martial arts practice that is marked by crass commercialism, may have very little to do with a tradition that is many thousands of years older.  It could mean that the martial arts today are certainly not being practiced for the purpose they were intended.

         What further supports a spiritual agenda for the practice of  ka-ra-te is the fact that in the ancient Kemetic language, ka-ra-te, not surprisingly, can also be written with the same meaning as “karast” (ka-res-t), or “Christ”, which means the anointed one, or the “risen”.  Did Jesus’s spirit not rise up, from a dead body to become the Christ?  Is this not what we call the “resurrection, or rising from the dead?  Stop and think.

          Look at the reference to Jacob in Genesis 32:22.  It is a reference to the martial arts! Jacob wrestled (w-“res-t”-led) with a man (his lower nature).  He wrestled with this man for one full day.  Jacob “rose up” and was victorious.  He reached the place called “pineal” (the symbolic “Third Eye” of wisdom) and had his name changed from Jacob to Israel to reflect his complete insight to the Kemetic principles represented by the female principle Isis (Is), the male principle Ra (Ra), and the divine El (El is the Hebrew word for God).

For Jesus, whom many believe studied in Egypt during his “lost years”, it is not difficult to imagine him as a skilled spiritual warrior, a martial artist on his way to self mastery to becoming the Risen, the Christ.  The life of Jesus parallels that of another crucified savior and resembles closely in words and deeds.  He is a dark Black figure whose name literally means “The Black One”.  I am speaking of the Black (not powder blue) warrior from India, who became deified.  His colorful life and epic battles against the invading Aryans are recorded in the Bhagavad Gita.  He is none other than the illuminated master, Krisha.

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Every age produces ascended masters such as Krishna, or benevolent warrior priests such as Prince Amenemhat of ancient Kemet.  It is almost certain that during our modern era, the martial sciences in the west will lead a few practitioners, if not more, to similar levels of insight and achievement.  In Africa today, despite her many problems,there can still be found masters and warrior priests of high spiritual orders among the Dogon of Mali, the Ife of Nigeria, the Zulu of South Africa, and other African people.  The traditional martial arts are still being practiced.

Around 1270 CE, Syed ‘Umar Shams-uddīn [known as Sayyid al-Ajall and “Prince Hsien Yang”], another Moor contributed a great deal to the achievements of the Yuan Dynasty. He shed new light on education, Chinese law, improved agriculture and was the first to establish the Confucian temples. He was responsible for the promotion of the “Tai T’si,” Yin and Yang symbol, an ancient concept centered on the Taoist [Daoist] philosophy and principle of unity of the two cosmic forces. The Taoist cosmology taught that before heaven and earth existed, the Wu Chi was there, i.e., a state of undifferentiated and unmanifest potential.  

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