Although the term “martial art” was originally used to describe the combat systems of Europe as early as the 1550s, it became heavily associated with the fighting arts of eastern Asia, and now ultimately encompasses all known codified fighting systems.
However, Korean karate master Masutatsu Oyama wrote about the origins of codified fighting systems in his book, Advanced Karate, published by Japan Publications in 1969. Oyama asserted, ”The oldest records we have concerns unarmed combat on hieroglyphics from the Egyptian pyramids.”
Oyama was inaccurate in saying the evidence was found on pyramids, but it was found on other Egyptian tombs dating as far back as 4000 B.C., where military training fights similar to boxing and wrestling were depicted.
In his book The Saga of The Fist, author John Grombach states that Herodotus, the father of Greek history, claims that long before Rameses II, ruled both Egypt and Ethiopia, perhaps as far back as 8000 B.C., boxing and wrestling were introduced to Egypt from Ethiopia.
Olympics, Organized Sports
The ancient Greeks are given credit for conducting the first Olympic Games, traced back to 776 B.C. Nevertheless, the Olympic Games were not the first athletic events to be organized in the Mediterranean area.
Ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians had a long tradition of organizing athletic activities as shown by reliefs depicting athletic scenes carved on the tombs of their kings and nobles. In 1932 wrestling and stick fighting scenes from the funerary temple of Rameses III in Medinet Habu (a site at Luxor, Egypt) were published by the Epigraphic Survey, The Oriental Institute at University of Chicago.
Monuments to the pharaohs found at Beni Hasan (a site at Minya, Egypt) dated around 2000 B.C., indicate that a number of sports were well-developed and regulated in ancient Egypt, including wrestling, weightlifting, long jumping, javelin-throwing, swimming, rowing, shooting and fishing, as well as various kinds of ball games.
The history of yoga has been tied to ancient India along with Buddhist, Hindu and Jainist practices. But ancient India isn’t the only civilization that incorporated yoga into its society. Ancient Egyptians had a similar practice, according to research by religious scholar Dr. Muata Ashby.
Ashby began researching the history of Sema Tawi, more popularly known as Egyptian yoga, in 1944. He noticed similar characteristics to the practices found in India and believes the philosophy may have been practiced in Egypt for about 10,000 years.
The teaching of yoga that was espoused in Egypt was derived from the meditations and insights by the early sage priests and priestesses.
Yoga is a term of Sanskrit origin, one of the languages of present-day India. When translated into English it means to yoke or to bind.
The Kemetic Sema Tawi means union of the higher and lower natures of human beings. Notice the similarity between the words yoke and union.
Judaism has historically been considered the first monotheistic religion. However even the revered “founding father of psychoanalysis” Sigmund Freud, a Jew himself, argued in his last book,Moses and Monotheism, that Moses was an Egyptian nobleman who adhered to the monotheism of the Pharaoh Akhenaten.
Akhenaten began his monotheistic revolution during the 18th dynasty of Egypt in 14th century B.C., with his wife, Nefertiti. Akhenaten and Nefertiti promoted a monotheistic belief in an Egyptian god known as Aton, and forbade all other forms of worship.
Monotheism in Africa was not unique to ancient Egypt and the concept may have existed earlier in other regions of the continent. Although widely regarded as polytheistic by Western observers, most indigenous African societies believe in a single creator god.
Followers of traditional African religions do acknowledge various secondary deities, as well as their ancestors, but these divinities serve as intermediaries between humans and the primary god, similar to angels in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Chess is one of the oldest games in the world, and even though Western literature scholars admit that the origin of the game is uncertain, it is assumed that chess originated in India or China and then it spread to the Middle Eastern region.
However, its well known among Egyptologists that the most popular game in the ancient kingdom was Senat, in which counters, or markers, were moved around a game board. The winner of the game is the player who removed all of his pieces before his opponent did.
A wall painting on the tomb of the Egyptian queen Nefertari, wife of Rameses II (1304-1237 B.C.), shows her playing Senat.
The African games known as Mancala or Wari are among the oldest board games on record, dating back at least to 5000 B.C. In these games, beans, seeds and other small objects were moved around a playing board with hollowed-out cups. A player tried to capture as many objects as possible. Both Senat, Mancala and four other types of games were discovered in the tomb of Tutankhamen, who reigned from 1348-1339 B.C.
Another board game called Nine Men’s Morris, Mill, Morelles, or Morels, which became popular in medieval Europe, has been found carved in the roofing slabs of an Egyptian temple, dating between 1400 and 1300 B.C.
The object of the game, of which there are many versions, is for each player to capture his opponent’s pieces and prevent his opponent from moving pieces. Note how closely this resembles chess as we know it today.