National Geographic

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Constructive Engagement

Photo by Ally Ngethi

A fight can last hours — or be over in an instant. Points are scored by pinning or forcing your opponent to the ground; even a knee to the ground is a counted as a victory. Great care is taken in negotiating the rules of each match. They must be accepted by all parties to avoid provoking the communities of the opposing fighters. This is particularly true of matches between members of different tribes. With one impression of bad faith, these opportunities for reconciliation can become venues for communal violence.