Home News Classical Martial Arts Technique meets Tradition in Cree Okichitaw

Technique meets Tradition in Cree Okichitaw

(Lepine (right) instructs a student how to parry, photo via vitalsignsmagazine.wordpress.com)

Okichitaw is a martial art founded and developed by Canadian martial arist George J. Lépine based on the fighting technique of the Plains-Cree first nations. Lépine developed and established the martial art based on Plains-Cree combat principles and his training as a sixth degree black belt in Hapkido and Tae Kwon Do.

(Photo via vice.com)
(Photo via vice.com)

Okichitaw utilizes both striking and weapon-based techniques focusing on specific Plains-Cree wrestling and weaponry. Indigenous weaponry like the gunstock war club (notini towin mistik), knife (mokumon), and tomahawk (chekinykunis) are applied throughout the system. All techniques are based on hand positioning and attack applications of the weapons. Whether learning the hand-to-hand (che mike che) or weapon techniques, students learn to engage bare-handed and with weapons. The approach of Okichitaw is simple and very direct, centering on the goal of taking the opponent to the ground and finishing them out as quickly as possible.

Teachings and Philosophy

The modern training of Okichitaw is intended to give direction and focus to the student of the martial art through self-challenge, and confronting fear and limitation in a controlled environment. Okichitaw abides by standard martial arts code: the last response to any situation should be the use of violence. In daily training, the Okichitaw method utilizes what they call the “Four Directions” for challenging attacks.

East: The East represents balance, confidence and creativity. In battle, the East influences the identification or locating of an adversary, and then setting up and developing a solid attack position.

South: The South represents strength, focus and success. In battle, the South influences the brave, aggressive challenge of an opponent.

North: The North represents courage, energy and knowledge. In battle the North influences the control of an opponent with surprise or overwhelming force.

West: The West represents challenge, choice, and proof. In battle, the West influences the take down and finishing off of an opponent before moving on to the next adversary.

Grandfather Teachings

Love, respect, humility, honesty, wisdom, bravery and truth are the seven “Grandfather teachings” that make up the training philosophies of Okichitaw. Every student is expected to adhere to these basic principles in all aspects of their daily lives as well as in training. This includes a renunciation of unnecessary violence and a commitment to conflict resolution in their lives.

     Wisdom –  To cherish knowledge is to know wisdom

     Love – To know love is to know peace

     Respect – To honour all creation is to have respect

     Bravery – is to face an enemy with integrity

     Honesty – is to be brave in facing any difficult situation

     Humility – is to know that you are a sacred part of creation

     Truth – is to know all these things


Visit nativemartialarts.com to learn more about the history and system of Okichitaw.