This Mexican Fighting Style Is Pure Indigenous Martial Artistry

Mexico is not historically known for its contributions to the martial arts world. Ahem:

Credit: Televisa

But there’s a movement of dedicated people looking to change that.


Since 2013, the “Wíinkilil Art of Defense” has gained popularity among martial arts practitioners, as well as advocates of Mexico’s cultural preservation.


Developed by the “Human Movements in Danger of Extinction” organization, Wíinkilil’s choreography comes from traditional Mayan dance movements, which have been transformed to meet the needs of contemporary self-defense.

Credit: LermaFG / YouTube

Gervasio Cetto, one of Wíinkilil’s creators, drew from Mayan culture for a very specific reason: “The idea is to prevent these movements from disappearing.”

Credit: Cressida Danza / YouTube

Cetto added,  “(Wíinkilil) aims to highlight self-defense for what it represents artistically and symbolically in order to reflect on those elements of everyday life.”

Credit: Cressida Danza / YouTube

The Wíinkilil Art of Defense has drawn comparisons to Tai Chi for its grace, and Brazil’s Capoeira for its dance-like precision.

Credit: Cressida Danza / YouTube

Thanks to the efforts of the Wíinkilil Art of Defense, Mayan culture has a fighting chance to protect its legacy for many generations.


Watch more about Wíinkilil:

Credit: INAMM / YouTube

Read: This Artist Gave Pokémon The Mayan Makeover You Didn’t Know They Needed

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