Moraingy (Madagascar)

Moraingy (Madagascar)

  • Name of sport (game): Moraingy
  • Place of practice (continent, state, nation):


  • History:

    The word derives from the Malagasy moraingy, a boxing fight.

    Moringue (or moring, sometimes mringue) is a combat sport practiced in the Indian Ocean, originating in Madagascar under the name of moraingy. It is a form of hand-to-hand combat, including kicking, kneeling, and sometimes head shots. melee techniques are excluded. Today, we still find an authentic practice in Madagascar and Mayotte (in the Comoros archipelago).
    According to some historians and some politicians (but this is widely disputed in Réunion's university circles), moringue originated in the 18th century in large sugar cane farms. The black code does not allow slaves to fight, they, from Africa and Madagascar, developed moringue, a fighting style combining music, especially percussion, and martial techniques, so as not to give birth among masters the suspicion of a capacity for revolt by only showing a tribal dance.
    According to today's knowledge, it is much more likely that the Madagascan moraingy comes from the Malaysian Tomoi. It would have in all likelihood been introduced into Madagascar, throughout the settlement of the big island, by Austronesian migrations (Malaysia, Indonesia, ...).

  • Description:

    Moringue is therefore practiced to the rhythm of percussion played during matches or training.

    Moringue practitioners' attire usually consists of a white shirt and pants of the same tone. The meaning remains unknown.
    However, it is not uncommon to see opponents face each other shirtless and the bottom of the pants pulled up to the calf.

    In terms of technique, the fighter essentially makes use of a combination of “punches” and occasional “kicks” to defeat an opponent. Now, a wide range of punches are used by the fighter during a duel, and they are as follows:

    Misto: The straight punches.
    Mandraoky: The hooks.
    Vangofary: The downward slanting punch.
    Vangomioriky: A punch that closely resembles the famous boxing move “the uppercut”.

    Furthermore, defensive moves such as “guarding and side stepping” are also used by the fighter as and when required. As for training centres/schools, there are none available around the world since this “traditional” martial art form is mainly performed in Madagascar and neighbouring islands such as Seychelles and Mauritius.

  • Current status:


  • Importance (for practitioners, communities etc.):

    Moraingy is not only an ancestral game but it is also a traditional popular culture that we practice until now. It is a physical activity through which one can test the strength and physical performance of "kidabolahy", young boys. It is the means that they use to strengthen their personality, their prestige, hence the prerogative and general motivation in participating in this game. It is played in a spirit of loyalty and mutual respect: "without resentment nor argument”. It is in a way a traditional physical education, that is to say serving as a means of educating young people from the values and the feeling of belonging to the same cultural identity. In short, a school of life in which young people learn to face obstacles, to solve problems on their own without parental help.
    The practice of Moraingy involves what is called “fihavanana”. It brings together all the village communities and ensures their cohesion. For practitioners, it shows respect for self and others.

  • Sources of information :

    André Jean Benoît, Le moringue : un « sport » traditionnel à l'île de La Réunion, Musée de Villèle, Saint-Gilles-les-Hauts, La Réunion, 1994, 32 p.
    Jean-René Dreinaza, Sport, culture, culte, réussite professionnelle: Le parcours atypique d'un Réunionnais, Océan Éditions, 2013.
    Sudel Fuma et Jean-René Dreinaza, Le moring, art guerrier. Ses origines franco-malgaches, sa pratique à la Réunion, Océan Éditions, 1992.
    Aurélie Lallement, Le « moringue » à travers son aspect identitaire, Université de La Réunion, 1999, 143 p. (mémoire de maîtrise d'Ethnologie)





    The information contained in the article comes from the following sources:

    Source of photos used in this article and gallery:

  • Gallery: