Testa

Testa is an African, especially Eritrean and Ethiopian, martial art that emphasizes headbutting. Its basis is on real hand-to-hand combat techniques, although it is often practiced in the open as a dance.

Testa or Riesy is an African martial art of brutal headbutting from Eritria. Its techniques also include kicks, hand strikes, parries, and grabs. Hand, foot, and grabbing techniques are very intricate and are solely used in order to strike the opponent with the “Big Knuckle”, or head. Biting and opponent in the groin and the windpipe are also allowed in competitions.

The system as adapted by Dennis Newsome includes kicks, punches, and limited grappling, but the emphasis is on headbutting, with the other techniques being used mainly to set-up headbutts.

It is not unusual for testa practitioners to use so called “dirty techniques” such as eye-gouging and biting, although these are not taught nor practiced in the open. In traditional Testa, there is a sole focus on trapping and headbutting. There is no known historical documentation pertaining to Testa, only techniques taught from generation to generation.