52 Blocks/Jailhouse Rock

Does anyone have any new information on this style of fighting? The last thing I saw about it was the article in Details magazine. Ever since I first heard about it on these forums, I was fascinated. Any new info would be cool.

Be nice to hear if Stickgrappler has heard anyting new on that front. The last (new) thing on it I read was also the Details magazine article.

I've been reading alot about African martial arts lately and have been noticing certain similarities, but I don't know if I'm seeing them because they are there, seeing them b/c I want to see them, seeing them b/c different arts all share certain characteristics, or for whatever other reason.

It would be nice to think that certain aspects of African ma made it through the diaspora, then survived in the US as knocking & kicking and cutting then made it into the present as JHR/ 52 style/etc.


I'll pull out and share one of those similarities I was talking about if I can remember where I saw it.

Cool Jason. I've been trying to research other African MA styles too, and I havent been having much luck.

Here are some links from over at EJMAS. Honestly, they are my first stop for most things. Also, I may have posted some info over on the Africa forum that I never posted here, I can't remember, it might be worth checking out. Later I will put up a bibliography of books and such that I've found useful.African martial arts and combative sportshttp://people.bu.edu/palegi/imidlalo.html
(Nguni stick fighting, South Africa)http://www.africanceremonies.com/ceremonies/largephotopages/12surmastick.html
(surma, the stick fighting of the Donga of Ethiopia)http://www.aafla.com/SportsLibrary/JSH/JSH1988/JSH1502/jsh1502b.pdf
(ancient Nubian wrestling)http://www.earth2000.com/da/cultya.html
(laamb, or Senegalese wrestling. See alsohttp://depts.washington.edu/poa/content/paper.html.)http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/Sideline/9563/wreslink2.html
(wrestling, general)http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/apr2002-daily/24-04-2002/sports/s1.htm
(Dambe, Hausa boxing)http://www.nubasurvival.com
(Go to "Nuba culture," then go to "Nuba stick fighting"; also see "Photographs," and "Wrestling," and Vol. 1, No. 1, "Wrestling in the Nuba Mountains.")http://perso.wanadoo.fr/jacqver/laluttetradit.htm
(wrestling in Niger; in French)Afrakan martial arts (African American heritage arts)

A guy who is really excellent is Ed Powe, call (608) 283-6357. I just sent him an article or two, so if you tell him I mentioned his name he may treat you kindly. I also want him to know there are those of out here who support and appreciate his work. This is a guy who goes out into the field for a couple years at a time to research his books. He is heading out again in 6 months or so, you better get your order in before then. Here is what he publishes:Black Martial Arts I (Combat Games of Northern Nigeria) $35
Black Martial Arts II (Combat Games of the African Indian Ocean) $30
Black Martial Arts IV (Northern Nguni Stick-fighting) $10

Black Martial Arts III; Danced Martial Arts of the Americas, Part I: Capoeira & Congo (Just published)Call for S&H quoteThomas Desch-Obi's dissertation is excellent: Engolo: Combat Traditions in African and African Diaspora History, UCLA 2000. This is almost like the bible of African and African-American ma history. Y'all can email me if you want it and have trouble getting it. Rumor is he was going to publish as a book, but I haven't seen anything yet. I know he did do a chapter in a British book though, I'll have to look into getting that.Plenty of capoeira books out there, I personally like J. Lowell Lewis' Ring of Liberation: Deceptive Discourse in Brazilian CapoeiraI also have two or so by Bira Almeida, then Nestor Capoeira's Little Capoeira Book and probably others I'm forgetting right now.Black Jacks: African American Seamen in the Age of Sail, by W. Jeffrey Bolster has some mentions (mainly headbutting), but really only a couple/few pages out of the whole book.Martial Arts of the World, 2002, ed. Tom Green has a chapter on African/A-A arts if you can find it at a library. I know he and Joe Svinth are also working on a book now that deals with arts that have been introduced into new areas and how they have been transformed, so I assume they will cover capoeira, ladya, maculele, etc as part of the African-derived arts. There are some articles, but most of the above stuff will lead you to them, for instance, there is a 1930's article on Ladya/Ladjia in the New Yorker, of course it's my luck that the local university library is missing that particular year.There is a fair amount written on the Caribbean arts mentioned above, but I'm an English only reader, so if you are facile with languages check out some of these bibliographies have at those in books in other languages.Let's see, depending if you consider ancient Egypt as an African art or not, there is Poliakoff's Combat Sports in the Ancient World which is pretty much a must-have for everyone on this forum. There are a number of books and articles that deal with sport in ancient Egypt, they shouldn't be too difficult to find, what with all the publicity that Beni-Hassan gets.Anyway, that ought to get you started.Jason

Seems like almost every post of mine is double-posted these days.

go to stickgrapplers web site - he has info - i read a long thing on it - cant remember the web site though - from what i've seen of it - it looks very similar to silat - it also suppposedly has roots in the prison system - but i dont think so -

interesting to note - if it does have african roots - is madegascar - a island off africa - was part of the majaphiat empire - the empire was the phillipine, indonesia, thai land, burma, and a bunch of other
s.e.asian countries - this is why you see similar MA's in all the countries - there was alot of cross cultural exchange of MA's - it stand to follow - that the majaphiat MA's would have been brought to medegascar - and then a short hop to africa- and like i said - the techs that were show in various articles and books looked exactly like silat/empty hand FMA -

I can see why you would say that, particularly when looking at some of the JHR techs, but for the most part I disagree. Don't have time to elaborate right now, but I'll throw out my thoughts on why later.



sorry, i've been busy with work (i moved from a diff branch where i could hang out here all day) and when not busy, cannot get to post from this location as much, too many people can see my screen. sneaking in a post now since it's 52/JHR we are talking about here which is somewhat near and dear to my heart purely from curiousity more than anything else.

to date, of all the emails i get from my site, the 2nd most has been about 52/JHR. i am in contact with both Contra Mestre Dennis Newsome and Douglas Century on and off. my last update (prior to probs with tripod in updating my site) was from "Big Red" who emailed me from the Atlanta/Georgia area which i put up with his kind permission.

recently, "lnd_1313" emailed me saying that he's from the Greenmount part of East Baltimore, and down there they call it The deuce, or Freestyling. he is new to computers and digital cameras and has said he will take pix of the techs he knows once he has it figured out. when i have time from work, will try to update my site (http://go.to/stickgrappler) with lnd_1313's emails and pix once i get them.

because i can't get on much to mma.tv, feel free to email me @ stickgrappler@coolgoose.com.

Thanks for the post Stickgrappler. CM Preto Velho (Dennis Newsome) is just down the freeway from me. Although he has taught various ethnicities Capoeira, I'm not so sure he'd be privy to sharing information on JHR with me since I'm Mexican. I had emailed him and said I was more than welcome to come down and observe their class and talks on African Arts, I just needed to let him know when I was coming down. Hopefully, that offer is still open.


Jason = "but I don't know if I'm seeing them because they are there, seeing them b/c I want to see them, seeing them b/c different arts all share certain characteristics, or for whatever other reason."

how about the whatever reason being we are bipedal and our range of motion is pretty much universal. due to the human range of motion, there is probably a finite amount of ways to do things. but the other reasons are probably valid also.


from what i gathered from some of the older threads on this, specifically the interviews done by forum member "dempsy" (not sure if he's posting anymore, tried to email him about updates but it bounced back), it seems like if Mr. Newsome teaches JHR, it will be only to people who he trusts. i do not know if he has taught any non-African Americans. good luck. i'm sure what he has to offer with respect to African MA is probably just as good and may be similar.

i think the reason why you need to let him know that you are coming down is because he is on the seminar circuit traveling around the world teaching capoeira. he also goes to brazil for training/learning. it's probably more of a scheduling thing making sure he's in town when you were going to go down.

to all on this thread and lurkers,

anyone have the early 1980's issue of INSIDE KUNG FU with william cheung on the cover with a blue background? if memory serves, it was a profile of him doing a bong sao. anyway, i misplaced my copy (either forgot who i lent it to or wife threw it out etc). in it, Dennis Newsome wrote an article on testa, an african headbutting art.

i wanted to scan it in and put up to my site.


Wow Jason, thanks for all that info.

Stickgrappler- Has any of your contacts ever mentioned any styles of JHR that exist in the Louisiana prison system? I'm thinking of doing an essay on JHR for school and since I'm in LA, it might be cool to give my paper a bit of local flavor.


it would not surprise me, but so far, i have not heard lousiana being mentioned.

good luck with the paper.


Angola prison would be a good bet, problem would be finding out any information. I doubt you want to run around interviewing ex-cons for a school paper.

I am still trying to get Omar to meet with me and tell me about Black Cypher.


I've been checking out MMA.TV for a couple of years, mostly as a lurker. African martial arts are my particular area of interest, so I was happy to see this topic. I am a member of Amakhanda, an African martial arts research outfit. It's good to see so much interest in the authentic martial traditions of Africa and its diaspora. I, along with the other members of Amakhanda, have been researching these arts for years (and in some cases decades), so the flowering of interest is really encouraging. Just a couple of points--

As Jason Couch mentions, African combative arts--specifically Central African, but also West African grappling variants--did survive the Middle Passage and took root all over the Diaspora. Dr. Desch-Obi is a founding member of Amakhanda, and his thesis is THE definitive document on African diasporan martial history. I also recommend his essay "Combat and the crossing of the Kalunga" in 'Central Africans and Cultural Transformations' (ed. Linda Heywood). His work on the African origins of capoeira, ladja, danmye, 'sidehold' wrestling and other arts is invaluable. Various theories of origin for Capoeira have been bandied about for years, including ridiculous ideas tracing it to savate, or as an innovation of chained Brazilian slaves etc. Due to TJ's work, any serious scholar now knows that the military training of various southern Angolan groups--centered around the performance of Engolo--is the direct parent of Brazil's capoeiragem.