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Alive and kicking: Long-lost Sumi martial art leaps to life

By   /  December 7, 2018  /  Comments Off on Alive and kicking: Long-lost Sumi martial art leaps to life

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Two children from Sumi-Naga community participate in Akikiti, on the sixth day of the Hornbill festival at Kisama on Thursday. (EM Images/Caisii Mao)

Our Correspondent
Kohima, Dec. 6 (EMN): Not all acts of resurrection require a tomb and the rolling away of a stone; sometimes it could simply involve two kids kicking up the dust inside an arena in front of an international audience.

On the sixth day of this year’s Hornbill Festival, the Aphuyemi Akikiti Association (AAA) organised an exhibition match that sought to pay tribute to, as well as revive, the long-lost Naga-Sumi martial art—Akikiti.

Akikiti is a vicious martial art where soles of the feet are used as weapon and means ofr defence. It is played between two players hopping on one leg each and kicking with the other, without losing balance. Using hands is regarded as a foul.

The rounds are played usually for three to four minutes. The last person eluding kicks from his opponent, and remains standing after kicking his opponents to the ground is declared the winner. This game requires good amount of strength along with dexterity, agility, and athleticism.

Akikiti was initially played as an amusement game for men during the ancestral times; and also to settle disputes between two parties or individuals whenever it arose. But today, it is simple considered as a form of athletics—especially among the Sumi community.

Despite its maiden appearance at the Hornbill Festival this year, Akikiti has been an annual feature of the Thuwuni Festival at Pughoboto in Zunheboto district since 2014. The Aphuyemi Akikiti Association was formed in April 22, 2014 with the motto, ‘Imheh no ikumto’ (my culture my strength), to promote and to carry the legacy of the valuable indigenous game for the future generation.

This indigenous game was even featured in the book by the name of ‘The Sumi Naga,’ written by JH Hutton in 1922. It also grabbed some interest and popularity among the Naga and Sumis when it was featured in a BBC TV series called ‘last man standing,’ where a group of athletes from United Kingdom and United States of America came and competed against the tribal champions at Shesulimi village under Pughoboto.

Eight players–finalists of Thuwuni Akikiti Championship 2018—participated in the exhibition match. Four players –Itobo, Shekuto, Itoka, and Aghavito— were from the senior category and Mughavika, Vika, Puloto, and Hito were from the junior category.

Visitors cross one lakh mark

Our Correspondent
Kohima, Dec. 6 (EMN): Visitors to Kisama crossed the one lakh mark on the evening of Dec. 6, according to the Tourism department.

Altogether 12,088 tourists visited Kisama heritage village, the main venue of the 19th edition of hornbill festival, on day six to reach that mark as recorded by the department of Tourism.

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