Native American Fighting Styles


Native Americans have used a variety of fighting styles for centuries. The online encyclopedia on Indian affairs,, states that there are 17 recognized styles of Native American fighting. These styles vary among regions and people, and have been adapted over time, especially since the arrival of Europeans, horses and firearms.

Traditional Alaskan native fighting styles

The native people of Alaska developed many fighting styles. The Tlingit and Haida people of southeastern Alaska used an armor made of rawhide and cedar that helped them win battles against Russian settlers, according to Indopedia. Before the introduction of firearms by Europeans, the Tlingit and Haida typically used 8- to 10-foot wooden spears with copper or stone tips, which were used for mid-range fighting. Close-range fighting was done with double-bladed daggers. The Aleut people of the Aleutian Islands fought primarily with bows and arrows, although they also used knives for close-range fighting. After the introduction of firearms, the Tlingit, Haida and Aleuts all became skilled marksmen.

Tomahawk Fighting

Tomahawk fighting techniques were developed by the Cherokee people, who originally lived in the eastern United States. Tomahawks, a type of small hatchet, were used by the Cherokee to hunt and fight. Cherokee warriors were able to throw tomahawks at their enemies with precision.

Falammichi Fighting System

Falammichi is a Native American fighting system developed by Adrian Roman, a martial arts expert and member of the Choctaw Nation. Roman developed Falammichi as a way of preserving his people's fighting heritage. According to his Web site, Falammichi is the world's only fighting system that can trace its roots to North America. Falammichi requires physical discipline, with a strong emphasis on applying spiritual principles to martial arts and everyday life.


Chulukua-ryu is the first Native American martial arts system accredited by the International Society of Black Belts, according to the Web site of the American Indian Fighting Arts Association. Chulukua-ryu was created by Harley SwiftDeer Reagan, a ninth-degree black belt in Jiu-jitsu and karate. It includes elements of the fighting styles of more than 175 Native American tribes, which were passed down to Reagan by tribal elders and representatives.