The Art of Caucaseco: An Afro-Colombian Fight Book

  • T.J. Desch-Obi City University of New York
Keywords: Columbia, Cartilla de malicia, grima, azagaya, fight book


While most fight books were presumably written by elites or socially-honoured martial classes, this article will explore a fight book of an Afro-Colombian martial arts style that emerged just six years after the abolition of slavery. The Afro-Colombian martial arts of grima emerged in the Cauca region during the era of slavery and trained its exponents to fight using the machete, azagaya, or unarmed body as weapons. Over the course of the second half of the nineteenth century, grima began to proliferate into over thirty unique styles, each with its own special choreographies and approaches to combat. As these styles multiplied, so too did the literary genre of grima manuscripts called cartillas de malicia, which recorded each style’s techniques, pedagogy, and lineage. This article explores the historical context and purpose of a single cartilla de malicia in the grima style. This cartilla de malicia was of a style from the Caucaseco region of the Cauca, which was developed in 1858 and existed for well over a century.

How to Cite
Desch-Obi, T. (2020). The Art of Caucaseco: An Afro-Colombian Fight Book. Acta Periodica Duellatorum, 8(1), 173-182.