Okichitaw: An indigenous Canadian martial art

Okichitaw is a Canadian martial art based on the fighting style of the Plains-Cree First Nations. It incorporates fitness and spiritually rich practices into its own unique brand of fighting craft.

Okichitaw: An indigenous Canadian martial art

Origins

  • Although based on ancient techniques and traditions, the methods taught today in Okichitaw were developed in the 1990s by George J. Lépine. Okimahkan Kiskinahumakew Lepine (meaning Chief Instructor Lépine), from Manitoba, is Plains-Cree, and was raised in the ancient ways of hunting, tracking, and weaponry.
  • Lépine began studying martial arts at the age of 13 and in over 35 years since has acquired skills from traditional wrestling, judo, tae kwon do, hapkido, tomahawk throwing, and ancient Canadian hand-to-hand fighting. From this extensive knowledge, and meticulous historical research, Okichitaw was born.

Philosophies

  • The art of Okichitaw is based on proven, ancient, brutal, battle-fighting skills, and although, to some degree, these techniques can be employed by the student, they are only taught as a very final resort in conflict.
  • Instead the student is taken on a challenging journey of self-discovery and fulfilment, through the explorations of fears and limitations. The student of Okichitaw is a warrior of peace.

The four directions

Among the indigenous people of Canada, there is huge significance in the four directions of the compass. With regard to Okichitaw, these are as follows.

  • East (Response): Balance, creativity, and confidence. East influences the identification of an adversary and the development of an attack position.
  • South (Commitment): Focus, strength, and success. South influences the challenge of an opponent.
  • North (Control): Energy, courage, and knowledge. North influences the government of an opponent with force.
  • West (Victory): Choice, challenge, and proof. West influences the final victory over an opponent.

Grandfather teachings

Wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility, and truth are the Grandfather teachings that every student is expected to adhere to in their training and everyday life. These virtues were pooled together as a code for non-violent conflict resolution.

Weapons and techniques

Much of Okichitaw training is based on hand-to-hand fighting, centred around both striking, and wrestling techniques, with weapons frequently used. These weapons include the tomahawk, lances, daggers, and the Okichitaw weapon of choice, the gunstock war club.

What will I need?

  • To begin with, you will need only yourself. In time, you may feel more comfortable practising in more purpose-made attire, but this is not essential.
  • Anybody with a reasonable level of mobility can enjoy Okichitaw. All age groups and abilities are generally catered to.
  • The only skills you really need are the ability to listen, follow instructions, and to relax. Armed with these skills, your experience with Okichitaw should be a fruitful one.
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