Meet the Council

HAMAA Coat of Arms For vote

The mandate of the HAMA Association Council is to provide leadership and representation for practitioners of Historical African Martial Arts that choose to become members of the association and abide by its guiding principles and regulations.


President: D’amon Stith


Da’Mon the president of the HAMA Association and is a leader in the movement to study Historical African Martial Arts. He is the Chief Instructor and Founder of Guild of the Silent Sword. His martial arts training began at the age of 6 when his father gave him his first sword. He was fascinated with martial arts and warrior culture. He began his formal training at the age of 9 in Asian martial arts and progressed into African and Middle Eastern martial arts by the age of 17.

When not training and instructing, Da’Mon constructs training weaponry utilizing high-density plastic, hardwood, aluminum and steel. Additionally, Da’Mon is an instructor during the summer for Book People’s Camp Half-Blood literary camp.


Vice President: Damon Cunningham 


Damon Cunningham is the Vice President of the HAMA Association . He was introduced to the martial arts one Saturday afternoon in the early 80’s. He recalls his father once saying “I got something for ya!” as he changed the TV channel. He was immediately captivated by the Shaw Brothers’ Five Deadly Venoms.  That began a lifelong love of martial arts, sword fighting and combat. Years later he was introduced to the Shaka Zulu epic and was astounded to learn that there were strong, brave warriors that looked like himself. As a young man he trained for several years in TKD, reaching the rank of brown belt before stopping to focus on his education. Soon after graduating from Millersville University with a BA in Art, he found the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). The SCA is a living history group that focuses on studying and recreating the middle ages. It was a place where he could express his interest in martial arts, history and art at the same time. He has spent the last 10 years researching medieval West Africa by attempting to recreate the life of a 15th century warrior from the Benin Empire. His research and experimentation has given him a better understanding of how the typical arms and armor of the period were created and used. During the day he works as a supervisor of a recreation center.  Damon has used his research to create several programs for youth that use martial activities to explore history while building character and promoting physical fitness.


Chief Operations Officer: Adam Myrie


Adam Myrie is the Chief Operations Officer of the HAMA Association. His role is to manage the functional infrastructure of the association.

With years of experience in various combat arts including Kickboxing, Modern Tahtib, El Matreg, and a short stint with Capoeira, Adam has been a passionate lover of martial arts theory and practice. Adam has an MBA from Ryerson University and speaks 4 languages.

One of his favourites fields of study is that of African civilizations and military history. Adam is also a fantasy author, blogger, and voracious reader of poetry.


Chief Curator of Research: Nicholas Petrou

nick petrou

Nicholas Petrou is the Chief Curator of Research for HAMA Association. He is responsible for providing Historical accuracy, research and advise.

Nicholas has a Masters in History from Goldsmiths University in which he studied a wide range of subejcts from Early Modern Europe to Medieval Islamic Empires. He volunteered to do historical research for HAMA with Da’mon Stith, and provide a balanced and well researched perspective on the issue of reconstructing African Martial Arts on the continent and diaspora.

With a background in Martial Arts, this has provided a wonderful opportunity to amalgamate both Historical Research and experience. Currently, Nicholas has a background in Thai Boxing and HEMA. He also is a historical researcher for Schola Palantinae which seeks to reconstruct Historical Combat in the Byzantine Empire.

In his free time he likes to write, sketch and read.


Vice President of Pedagogy/Membership: Nicholas Dawkins


Nicholas Dawkins is HAMAA’s VP of Pedagogy and Memberhsip. Located in Toronto, he has engaged in multiple martial arts including HEMA, Karate, and Capoeira. Currently Nicholas continues his studies in Capoeira in addition to Tahtib and Tiré Machet.

A graduate of the Psychology program at the University of Toronto, he is an avid reader, and is a fan of Science fiction and Fantasy films and literature.


Chief Regulatory Officer Nicholas Wixom


Nick is HAMAA’s Regulatory Officer and resides in Pittsburgh, PA USA. He started martial arts at 15 studying Toyama Ryu Batto-Do Iaido and Goshin Federation Chanbara (“Sports Kenjustsu”), reaching Junior Instructor Rank. By his College days, he began extensive study of his personal cultural heritage in Filipino Martial Arts that continues to this day; Nick’s FMA focuses are with Villabrille-Largusa Kali (on-going student) and Pekiti-Tirsia Kali (aspiring Instructor). Currently, Nick’s also an active Instructor in HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) specializing for now in Polish Szabla (Saber), Georgian Military Saber, I.33 Sword & Buckler and Spanish & Italian Rapier/Sidesword.

Nick’s focused areas of research within HAMAA are; Ancient Egyptian Swordsmanship, Medieval – 19th Century Sahelian Broadsword, Medieval – 19th Century Ethiopian Shotel, and 19th Century Zulu Weaponry.

Initially an Archaeology major when starting University, Nick has been an Anthropologist at Heart since youth. Nick is part of HAMA to take that experience and passion not only better himself as a person and martial artist but to assist in rekindling, reconstructing and ultimately sharing the many Historical Martial Arts of Africa and its vast Diaspora. His eventual goal is integrating HAMA into some sort of youth Historical Martial Arts program that espouses ALL of the World’s Cultural Martial Traditions to young people; regardless of anyone’s religion, ethnicity, gender, etc.

Nick spends time with his close friends and with his “Moon of his Life” Girlfriend especially where if lucky there’ll be Guinness, good food and table top/board games involved! Nick is an individual who truly enjoys learning, so it’s common to find him studying. His favorite topics include, philosophy, music, languages and anything S.T.E.M. related. Nick’s finishing school for Mechanical Engineering hoping to work building commercial private Mini Submarines, he wants to be a Science Pirate XD.

Nick’s into Camping, Fishing, Traditional Asian Archery, Historical Firearms, Reenacting and just plain Adventuring. Besides marital arts for Nick, there’s Basketball, Football, Chess, Parkour and Crossfit.


Resource Co-Manager: Henry Hill IV


Martial Arts has been the focal point of Henry M. Hill IV’s life since the age of 13. He started out using martial arts to escape from street life in Richmond, CA. Once reaching adulthood, he joined Black Swords in Oakland CA. This is where he trained with shanai and earned his first spot as an instructor. His interest in African Martial Arts was piqued when he joined the Twilight Nights and started renaissance fairs, playing a Moor as his faire persona. He has a working knowledge of Zulu martial arts, Meyer Dusack, Eskrima, and Kendo.

At this point, he is looking to open his own school focusing on African Martial Arts. His hope is to help bring in more youth and adults from street life into a constructive path, giving a new focus and direction to those that need it most. HAMA has become his driving passion. As Resource Manager for HAMA, he is charged with managing, authorizing and reporting on the usage of physical, financial and digital resources.


Resource Co-Manager: Kirk Johnson

Kirk Johnson

Kirk A. Johnson, born in Trinidad in 1971, has had 2 years martial arts training in amateur competitive foil fencing in 1995. He has been a sword enthusiast since 1982 and made his first sword acquisition, a Algerian takouba from the mid 20th century, in 1997. His collection has grown to include several pieces from Mali, Chad, and the Congo as well as two quality reproductions from Albion Swords Ltd and one from the Hanwei/Tinker Pearce Series.

His interest in both ancient weapons (swords in particular) has led to this proud collection and a greater desire to understand the use, diversity, and development of weapons from of both the African continent, the diaspora, and the Middle East.

He has been writing Sword & Sorcery and Heroic Fantasy literature since 2005, crediting his love for both fantasy and swords from watching old movies with his dad at a very young age.


Public Relations: Altair Santos


Altair Santos is the joint head of the Public Relations team.

A practitioner of martial arts since 1986, he trained in Karate, Capoeira, Western Boxing, Kickboxing, and Brazilian Ju-Jitsu. 

Altair has a degree in Pedagogy from UNEB (Bahia State University), Bahia, Brazil. He also studies English and Spanish.

He is a self-taught researcher, studying subjects related to Africa and its diaspora. When he was researching the origins of Capoeira and related martial arts, he found the HAMA community.

His favourite colour is green, he loves to read and write, collects and trains with knives, and enjoys beer and good conversation.


Human Resources/Public Relations Officer: Jeff Woodard


Jeff Woodard is the Human Resources and Public Relations Officer. He has been a fighter his whole life, beginning as an abandoned 9 month old and growing into his adulthood as Prison guard. Always the warrior he gives his all.

Jeff was approached by the council at HAMAA’s inception to join due to his phenomena understanding of combatives and his personable nature. This is way he spends most of his time on the council as Public Relations, Outreach, and Human Resources Officer. Jeff has studied and researched various martial arts from all over the world, but his forte is the combative side of traditional Kung fu and Chinese weaponry. In HAMAA his practice and research are mostly based on Donga, but also in Lepido, Dambe, Mambele, Nguni, and Executioner’s Ngombe.

Jeff resides in Cookeville, Tennessee with his wife and 3 sons. He is also adept at music having such talents he joined high school band in 3rd grade due to his skills as a percussionist.


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