Here’s the first of many installments from my recent field recording session of Mopopoadat. These videos show a type of martial arts they perform here; it’s almost a dance since they don’t seem to strike each other. The first video shows several different men performing by themselves, and the second video is two men “fighting” each other. I still have lots of questions about all of this! Because of some unrest in the area, I had to leave immediately after the ceremony and was unable to stay and ask questions. I’m hoping to be able to head back there in the next few weeks for some Q&A.
Without further ado, here’s the videos:
Sorry for the low quality of the videos. There’s a few reasons for that:
1. I recorded in 1080p 60i 30fps AVCHD at 17Mbps, but with our internet connection here I just can’t upload large videos of that quality. I was only able to upload at 8Mbps 720p, and I don’t know what YouTube displays it at.
2. Lighting: The first video was shot in the middle of the night, so there is some graininess from the low light that just can’t be avoided. The second video was shot under a bright orange tarp, which gives everything a unique orang-ish tint.
Here’s some of the questions I have about this event:
- Where did this come from? Is it unique to this people group or common to the area?
- What is the meaning of the bowing at the beginning?
- Why do they never kick up high and raise their feet (one person, not pictured, did so but the announcer apologized for it afterwards)
- Was/is this ever used in real combat, or has it always been a performance?
- Is it always accompanied by music, and if so is it always the same as this?
- Do only men perform this, or can women do it as well?
- Is there any significance to some of the various hand gestures or positions?
- Is there a religious significance to the performance?
- Who is allowed to learn and perform this?
- and many, many more…
If you all think of questions I should be asking that aren’t listed here, let me know in the comments! More videos to come soon from other parts of this huge cultural event.