This week we focus on Osh-Tisch, whose name translates to “Finds Them and Kills Them” in Crow. Osh-Tisch was a male-bodied person who lived as a woman, and was one of the last Crow Nation baté (Two Spirit spiritual leaders) – oh, and you can be sure, she earned her name.
She is also far from the only awesome lady in this story.
"Dambe uses only the dominant hand to strike, while the ‘weaker’ hand is extended toward the opponent and used to ward off blows. Hence, the lead hand represents a shield. In fact, the dominant hand is referred to as "spear," while the other is labeled the ‘shield.’ (This shield and spear aspect is literal rather than figurative in damben karfe, with its iron-armed striking hand and glove-like shield (matashi) held in the warding hand.) Grasping and grappling is used to permit a strike with the more powerful hand, which in turn may represent what one does when one’s shield is broken. In addition, Dambe competitions are held between groups (‘armies’) who meet in dueling pairs on a symbolic battlefield, and the metaphor of warfare is apparent in the continuing use of the term ‘killing’ to signify the strike that leads to winning a match."
"Traditionally, the lead leg (the left in the case of a right-handed boxer) was wrapped by a chain extending from ankle to knee. Known as akayau, this could be used as a weapon when kicking. Nonetheless, kicks could be executed with either foot. Although the use of the akayau has been abandoned in contemporary Dambe boxing, Carambe notes that there is still a preferred kicking leg that is often wrapped in cloth for protection."
"The goal in Dambe is to deliver a single ‘fatal’ blow (kwab daya), meaning one that causes the opponent’s hand or knee to touch the ground (or, even better, knocks him flat to the ground). In keeping with the idea of a ‘fatal’ blow, this latter is called ‘killing’ the opponent (Abubakar). The concept of the single ‘killing’ blow that ‘has been maintained in all forms of modern Dambe and [is one of the elements that] makes the art distinct from western boxing’"