Developed in the midst of the ideological and practical struggles of the s by activist‐scholar Maulana Karenga, Kawaida understands itself. And we use it to address critical issues of our time in this year’s 34th Annual Seminar in Kawaida Social Theory and Practice, July Kawaida Theory: An African Communitarian Philosophy [Maulana Karenga] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

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The reclamation of our culture and the restoration of African sovereignty in the world are two of the highest struggles that we can engage in. The first enables a fuller realization of and engagement with our humanity. The second makes us the shapers of our collective destiny. All of our politics should be evaluated through the lens of how and whether they support these two goals: Kaawida this achieve the theoyr of our culture? Does this achieve our actual sovereignty in all spheres of life?

If not, then these politics are, at best, insufficient. Far too many of us kawaiad made vacuous investments. Talk about your life and martial arts experiences? Growing up in Chicago in the 80s and 90s left an indelible mark on me.

On one hand this was a point where the crime rate, especially the murder rate was quite high. There was a pervasive consciousness of mortal danger. This was especially so in some of the neighborhoods where I lived and went to school. On the other hand, this environment seemed to foster a certain type of critical consciousness.

It was an environment where one could readily see the contradictions between the ethos of American society and its actual practices. After a while I found myself encountering a lot of people who possessed varying degrees of political consciousness. These encounters, coupled with my growing intellectual pursuits, and the daily struggle to stay alive all helped to mold me in certain ways.

When I finally went to college in the early s I was able to pursue my intellectual interests without constraint. This allowed for me to foster a critical, and eventually an African-Centered world view. It was also at this point that I began my study of the martial arts. It is fair to say that I had an acute awareness of the need to be capable of defending oneself based on my years in Chicago.

This style helped me to develop an appreciation for simplicity and comprehensiveness in a fighting system. I should say that this was prior to the advent of the mixed-martial arts. I trained with this group for a couple of years before moving on. Eventually, I graduated from college, returned to Chicago, and developed a strong interest in the African martial arts. I had learned about a Capoeria group that trained on the South Side of Chicago. But they met on Saturdays, which was a work day for me.

Eventually I decided to postpone pursuing the African arts and at the recommendation of a colleague of mine I began studying Wing Chun Kung Fu. Wing Chun Kung Fu was a great experience for me. It helped me to see an even greater depth of simplicity in the art or science of combat.

Moreover, this was my first introduction to combat theory. It was from this experience that my understanding of the martial arts began to mature.

A few years later during the early part of the s I went back to school to obtain my doctoral degree. I used my return to college to get a lot of low-cost training. I also got introduced to Kali stick fighting and some Jeet Kune Do around this time. It was also during this time that I decided to renew my pursuit of the African arts.


Kawaida Theory: An African Communitarian Philosophy by Maulana Karenga

After a false start, I eventually hooked up with Ahati Kilindi Iyi and attended his domestic camp in While there I also met Mestre Preto Velho.

This basically started oawaida down the path of dealing substantively with the African arts. This means seeking proficiency in all of the various dimensions of combat. My principle goals once again are simplicity and comprehensiveness. Sociology is essentially the study of society.

It is an attempt to understand the various social and historical forces that act upon us and shape our lives. Central kawaixa the Sociological process is theory. In Sociology theories serve as statements that attempt to explain or predict phenomenon. I maintain that Sociology can indeed by useful in the transformation of African people.

That is, if we develop and employ an African-Centered Sociology. There are a number of social theories that have been offered by African-Centered scholars that are of critical importance. Kawaida theory starts from the basic premise that the core crisis in African life is the cultural crisis and challenge.

It continues that Africans must reconstruct their culture using the best elements of African culture, and then use this emancipatory culture to galvanize us in reshaping the world in our image and interest.

Philosophy, Principles, and Program

When we take the ideas of Kawaida and begin to look critically at the numerous, vexing issues that plague the African American community we can certainly problematize the role of maladaptive cultural responses that contribute unwittingly to this malaise. One very prominent example is the lawaida murder rate among young African American kwaida. This is occurring despite the fact that murder has declined among nearly every other segment of the American population.

The question becomes, what makes us so unique? Well, our estrangement from our own culture via the ravages of the Maafa is simply unprecedented.

Kawaida Theory: An African Communitarian Philosophy

The process of enslavement was critical in problematizing the humanity of Africans. As such, not only did Europeans construct a grand narrative as to the utter inferiority of Africans, they also possessed the power to impose this wholly deficient worldview upon us. Thus they created the malaise that W. Du Bois referred to as Double Consciousness, the tragic state of being African, yet seeing oneself through the eyes of Europeans. Kawaida insists that we must see the world through African eyes.

People who see themselves as being the quintessential expressions of a valued and sacred humanity work to elevate their collective condition. This is quite the contrary of what many of us are doing in our homes, neighborhoods, and communities. So yes, an African-Centered Sociology can indeed inform how we might address our basic problems.

If we use a Kawaida approach for instance, we might eschew the mis-guided practices of conspicuous consumption and atomistic individualism and instead work tirelessly and collectively to build viable families and communities. You say that your a survival instructor and that you help many blacks to survive in the society, against what? What is exactly the Black Survival Network indeed? The Black Survival Network is an organization that was established thirty years ago to train the African community in the United States in the science of disaster awareness and preparedness.


Our concerns have been driven by many things, but most recently the interrelated environmental crises of peak oil, water scarcity and global warming. It is quite apparent that these crises each have the capacity to threaten the survival of the human species in general, and Africans in particular. Conscious Africans need to recognize that our survival will only be assured if we are prepared to deal with the uncertainties of the future.

The mission of the Black Survival Network is to train Africans to deal with those unknowns. I think that many of us want to gain a better understanding of the African contribution to the martial arts.

This is certainly another nuance in the oft-neglected and unknown historical and cultural legacy of African humanity. Personally, I always felt a small sense of dissonance training in non-African arts. thory

I knew that these styles invoked and revered their cultural ancestors. Well, this lead me to a basic question: How did they fight? And why were they so effective? Fortunately, some people have embarked on the difficult journey of discovering and teaching the African martial way.

This is what I like to call the African Warrior Tradition. As our collective understanding of these martial systems has grown, so too has the fervor to disseminate this information. I think that its wedded to the belief the African martial arts can facilitate a cultural transformation in the minds, bodies, and spirits of our people.

Mestre Preto Velho, Baba Tneory, and others have expressed this sentiment. This may also fuel the fervor with which some of us are attempting to promote these arts. This is an excellent question. I think that any martial system bears the iawaida mark of the culture that created that system.

Its history, political-economy social institutionsaesthetic sensibilities, language, and ethos collective psychology all shape this. People have to understand this. One cannot understand traditional Jiu-Jitsu outside of understanding feudal Japan. One cannot understand Tai Chi without contextualizing it relative to Taoist philosophy.

Lastly, one cannot understand Capoeira without understanding cultural dynamics and political history of central and southwestern Africa; as well as the horrors of the Maafa, and African resistance to enslavement in Brazil. Fheory know that a lot of people try to lift martial arts outside of their attendant cultural moorings, but this is impossible and impractical.

With regards to movement, flow, speed, and agility—the Chinese arts, though often fluid and organic, manifest a different quality than the dynamism manifested in the African arts. I am not speaking here of one way being superior or inferior to another.

I am simply noting a core difference. For instance, Capoeira is an art that uses semi-perpetual motion in the form of the Ginga to generate linear and lateral energy.

Every technique that the Capoeirista launches draws from this force. The Ginga is central to the body mechanics needed for proper power generation when striking.

Also, the flow of motion and energy is constant.