Our Charter


The Charter of the Historical African Martial Arts Association

The Historical African Martial Arts Association is founded upon the principles of research, respect, and reverence for the history and cultures that are the subject of study and practice.  This charter shall define the rules by which members of HAMAA shall engage their chosen disciplines and the necessary activities that support them.


  1. Mandate
  2. Core Activities
  3. Membership
  4. Leadership and Elections
  5. Roles and Responsibilities of the HAMAA Council
  6. Authority Delegated and Retained
  7. Research
  8. Committee Procedures

1. Mandate of the Historical African Martial Arts Association

1.1 Mandate

HAMAA is dedicated to the research, preservation, restoration, and propagation of the martial disciplines of Africa and its global diaspora community. This is achieved through academic research, experimental archeology, and building a global community of practitioners, historians, and enthusiasts.

2. Core Activities

2.1 Research

HAMAA is an organization focused primarily on academic research and experimental archeology with a focus on the martial disciplines, military history, and weapon craft of the African continent and its diaspora communities, as well as the associated customs.

2.2 Education

HAMAA is dedicated to the compartmentalization and dissemination of both academic and practical knowledge of the martial disciplines of the continent. This is done through written material, seminars and workshops, video, and special activities.

2.3 Practice of Martial Disciplines

HAMAA seeks to provide a safe and educational environment in which students and enthusiasts can develop physically and mentally through the practice of martial arts from Africa and its diaspora with an emphasis on discipline, study, and reconstruction.

2.4 Building Community

HAMAA believes in fostering a global community of practitioners, researchers, and enthusiasts to facilitate the exchange ideas and information. HAMAA holds true that true strength is found in a well-connected, respectful, and equitable community built through a diverse and dedicated membership.

2.5 Political and Social Affiliation

HAMAA is an apolitical organization and recognizes no political partisanship in its administration. Political action is outside of the scope of this organization. The only focus is the accurate, respectful, and inclusive study and representation of Africa and its diaspora.

3. Membership

3.1 Membership in Good Standing

All official members of HAMAA are automatically in good standing. Good standing may be lost under the following conditions:

  1. Harassment or abuse of other members
  2. Harassment or abuse of non-members
  3. Misrepresentation of HAMAA and/or its mandate
  4. Teaching under the name of HAMAA without express written consent of its council
  5. Failure to pay or make arrangement to pay membership dues as approved by the council
  6. Acting in violation of the regulations set forth in this charter

3.2 Approved Instructors under HAMAA

To ensure the quality and legitimacy of HAMAA’s pedagogy, all instructors and their apprentices must:

  • Demonstrate to the members of the Council the requisite martial skill in their chosen discipline
  • Receive endorsement from an instructor in good standing
  • Pass a review on theory and history in their chosen discipline
  • Have valid certification in First Aid
  • Maintain membership in good standing

All instructors must have insurance coverage appropriate to the applicable laws of the region in which they operate before opening their own club with HAMAA certification.

3.3 Commitment to Diversity

HAMAA is an organization that embraces diversity. Under no circumstances will discrimination based on race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or religious belief be tolerated. Failure to respect this commitment to diversity can result in penalties up to and including suspension or a lifetime ban from HAMAA and its activities.

3.4 Commitment to Safety

While it is understood that participation in battlefield arts is accompanied by a certain level of risk, HAMAA is committed to ensuring the safety of all participants. To that end we require that our members exercise caution and restraint when interacting with one another. Protective gear is required when sparring, and only blunt or approved training weapons are to be used while training with other practitioners. Instructors must receive training in First Aid.

4. Leadership and Elections

This section concerns the nomination and election of members of the HAMAA Council.

4.1 In order to be considered for nomination one must:

  1. Be a member in good standing
  2. Demonstrate  consistent and provable leadership within the organization
  3. Exemplify the principles upon which this organization is founded

4.2 Nomination of a new council member must be for a seat that is vacant at the time of nomination, or will become vacant due to the announcement of the impending extrication of a sitting council member from his or her seat

4.3 All nominations for a vacant tor soon to be vacant council seat must be received no later than 30 days prior to the council’s announced voting session

4.4 Late nominations may be considered due to presidential prerogative or two thirds majority council vote

4.5 Nominations for candidates are accepted for consideration from the following:

  1. A sitting council member in good standing
  2. Unanimous nomination by the leadership team under the seat for consideration
  3. The council member vacating the seat in question if the extrication is not punitive

4.6 The new council member will be selected based on the following rules:

  1. Each council member shall enter his or her vote for a preferred nominee, the nominee with the least votes will be removed from consideration. This process will repeat until a final nominee is chosen
  2. If there is a split vote, then each council member shall put forth his or her reasons for voting for a chosen nominee and then the vote will commence again
  3. If after three rounds of voting deadlock a nominee has not been elected to the seat, the final decision will be made by presidential prerogative.

5. Roles and Responsibilities of the HAMAA Council

The role of the HAMAA 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. The positions of the council are designed to delegate leadership of core activities to an individual deemed acceptable to the council for the role.

  • President: Provides guidance, leadership, and vision as well as delegating tasks to various members as the overall direction requires. Ensures that organizational activities are in keeping with the mandate.
  • Vice President: Auxiliary to president, assists in ensuring that the group acts within its mandate. Provides support where council members require it and serves as the decision maker when the president is not available.
  • Chief Secretary/Operations Officer: Charged with record keeping, infrastructure development, project management
  • Curator of historical research: Charged with validating all resources and source material. Sets the criteria for accepted research and information, provides guidelines for accuracy of training tools, martial training, teaching methods and lesson plans
  • Chair of pedagogy: Works closely with the curator of research to develop the curriculum and scale of development. Must ensure that what is taught coincides with accepted research. Ensures that training methods are effective, safe, focused and legal.
  • Vice President of Membership: Identifies the criteria for membership, validates teachers under the HAMA system. Designs the hierarchical framework of the organization.
  • Regulatory officer: Charged with ensuring that the organization operates within the legal regulatory guidelines of the host country. Must ensure that all necessary registrations for the organization have been either completed or are in progress in order to establish, maintain, and protect its legitimacy. Ensures that teaching methods remain the exclusive proprietary domain of HAMA.
  • Resource Manager: Charged with managing, authorizing and reporting on  the usage of physical, financial and digital resources.
  • Public Relations officer: responsible for all external and internal communications and marketing.

6. Authority Delegated and Retained

6.1 Authority Bestowed and retained

The authority bestowed upon council members having been duly elected to their positions is enforced and upheld by this charter and can only be challenged by another council member or a vote of non confidence initiated by petition from at least 20% of HAMAA club leaders in good standing.

6.2 Authority Delegated and retained

Authority delegated to non council members is endowed by the authority of the council under the leadership of the Council member whose individual authority has jurisdiction over the delegated activity. This authority can be revoked by the designated council member, council vote, or presidential prerogative.

6.3 Instructor Authority Earned

In order to achieve instructor status and the authority to run a chapter or school under the banner of HAMAA, a member must:

  • Be in good standing
  • Complete the requisite instructor exams
  • Receive endorsement from a former or current instructor
  • Acquire all necessary insurances and safety certifications required for the country/state/province in which the school or chapter will open
  • Present a chapter sigil to add to the charter as a signatory to its values

7. Research

7.1 Defining Research

The acquisition of information relevant to the study through a mixture of sources. This can include but is not limited to:

  • written and oral history
  • archaeological evidence
  • living traditions

Acceptable resources are compartmentalized into three categories: primary, secondary, and tertiary sources.

7.2 Acceptable Primary Sources

Primary sources are defined as accounts and records around or at the time of the event, usually coming from first hand accounts. These resources can be verified by virtue of their age, author, and acceptance as a primary resources in academia and expert practitioners.

7.2 Acceptable Secondary Sources

Secondary sources are defined as writings or reports created by people considered to be expert on the subject. Acceptable secondary resources come from professors, researchers, or accounts created by scribes regarded as reliable by academia and expert practitioners.

7.2 Acceptable Tertiary Sources

Tertiary sources are defined as the educated/expert opinions of leaders in the field of study based on extensive study and experience gained through practice and experimental archaeology. Sources of this kind considered acceptable by HAMAA must come from either vetted teachers, widely accepted experts in the martial disciplines of study.

8. Committee Procedures

8.1 Tabling a Motion

A motion refers to a recommendation to the HAMAA Council for a change in procedure, a major resource expenditure, or other general item that will affect the manner in which HAMAA shall operate in the future. The individual shall recommend the motion, which must be seconded by at least one sitting Council member in good standing before it can be brought to a vote.

8.2 Rejection of a Motion

If a motion is rejected by the council, it may be raised again at the next council meeting. If a motion is voted down in three consecutive meetings, then said motion will be blocked from being tabled again for one calendar year, after which time it will be permitted for consideration in another vote. The motion may be tabled prior to one calendar year if permitted by presidential prerogative, at which time it will be subject to standard voting regulations.

8.3 Voting

Once a motion has been seconded it will be acceptable for submission to voting by the Council. In order for a motion to be fully accepted or rejected, there must be a minimum of a two thirds majority vote in favour of or against said motion. If a two thirds majority cannot be reached, the ultimate decision or acceptance or rejection will be subject to presidential prerogative. Council members must enter a vote of “Aye” to indicate that they are in favour of the motion, “Nay” to indicate they are not in favour, or “Abstain” to discount their vote from the final decision. Absent council members will assume a position of “Abstain” unless they select a proxy voter from sitting council members in writing. Proxies may vote on their own behalf as well as on the behalf of the council members which they represent. Once a motion has been carried, it cannot be voted on again for a period of three months following the initial vote, at which time opponents to said motion may table a counter-motion to have it struck down. Votes will be recorded in the council records.


HAMAA Coat of Arms For vote

Last approved by the Historical African Martial Arts Association Council on 03/26/2017 

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