Indigenous Folk Wrestling | Brazil

Name in Original Language

Huka Huka

Area Where Played



For being a traditional modality there is no register of the history of huka huka fight. This modality is practiced by the indigenous for a long time even before the contact with non-indigenous. For not having the custom of writing the indigenous past the traditional knowledge orally. The first register found about the huka huka was written by the brothers Villas Boas, Orlando and Cláudio, that made an expedition through the region of the center of Brazil, contacting the local indigenous groups.

Detailed Description

The huka huka is a traditional indigenous fight, played by the people from the Upper Xingu region, named Kuikuro, Kalapalo, Kamayurá, Waurá, Mehinako, Nahukwá and Matipu. Even if they speak different languages, the culture in this region is basically the same. Because of these, this groups reunion and do ceremonies as the Kwarup.

During the ceremony the community brings their bests fighters to represent their group. Despite of the completion between the villages during the fight, the principal idea is celebrate the union of the communities and to honor the dead that are being represented in the ceremony.

To become a fighter the men can stay in a reclusion, during this period he has to do a diet and use traditional medicine to be stronger. He will also have an elder to teach and guide him during the fights.Nowadays  the huka huka is also teach in the school in a way to maintain the culture despide the modern world.  


Huka huka start with the presentation of the fighter, by each community, in the center of the village. After all the presentations, a pair goes to center and start to jump around making noise to scare the opponend. Then, they kneels  and cling, thus beginning the fight. This is a modality that requires not only strength but also technique. During the fight they can get up or remain kneeling, but they can’t punch and kick.

The object of huka-huka is to take down or grab the part behind the knee of the opponent. There is no judge or time, but since everyone in the Kwarup ceremony is watching, people give their opinion, specially the elders that used to fight. The fight can also finish if none of the fighters can’t apply any hit or is too tired or hurt.

After all the main fighters, the rest of the men in the ceremony can fight. Is normal seeing parents putting their kids to practice with kids from other communities, men retaliating their family’s name after one brother loose the fight or old opponents just wanting a rematch.