You can break our bones and kill us
Bring us to our knees
Take away our children
Against a mother's pleas
But you stop the Dreaming never
The Dreamtime is eternal, forever
What is Coreeda?
As much as it is a fun sporting activity, Coreeda also sends out a spiritual message that as you read this I hope you are receptive to. The human heritage of Australia is ancient and it is often said we have the oldest continuous living cultures on the planet. This is as true for our martial arts as it is for our song and dance forms or even our storylines and folklore, therefore describing customs as 30, 40 or even 50,000 years old is a valid scientific claim. At the Coreeda Association we believe we are reviving a sporting tradition with an antiquity that stretches back to the beginning of a human presence on the Australian continent but also we are actively building links with indigenous cultures from across the world through the universal activity of traditional wrestling. If you are proud to call yourself an Australian and can accept that as a people our heritage extends back further than 1788 then we invite you to join us in this journey. Together we can change perceptions and break down the barriers that presently divide us.
As the Buddhist saying goes, "if you want to know your past, look into your present conditions, if you want to know your future, look into your present actions" and the best way to understand the current status of Australian wrestling is to know its history. You can do this by reading the first ever book written about the Australian wrestling tradition "From the Dreaming to the Dreamers" which covers the history of the sporting genre from the most ancient times to the present day. With chapters dedicated to the pre-colonial and colonial periods, as well as the history of Professional Wrestling, Olympic Wrestling, Judo and the wide array of traditional wrestling styles that have been played in Australia, it is available online at Sid Harta Publishers;
Or if you contact us directly at this site an autographed copy can posted to you for the low price of $30 plus P & H but please hurry because it is a limited edition and stocks are now low.
Coreeda is an exciting sporting development that is bringing awareness of the traditional martial arts of Australia. Initially we are doing this through a sport that combines Aboriginal dance with a unique wrestling game, similar to the sports that were played in pre-colonial times. Eventually we will be introducing weapons use into the curriculum under the guidance of experienced traditional practitioners but for now we are focusing only on unarmed combat training. We consider coreeda to be the traditional form of wrestling of Australia, much as sumo functions in Japan, schwingen in Switzerland, ssireum in Korea, glima in Iceland, bukh in Mongolia or any of the traditional cultural combat sports from around the world and we are wanting to grow the sport around the whole continent of Australia. The Coreeda Association also intends to act as a pivot to encourage the people involved in the multiple styles of grappling combat sports in Australia to work together for mutual support and become a kind of "Community of Wrestlers" in which a greater degree of communication can be achieved between the organising associations, federations and unions.
Coreeda as a sporting activity is divided into two equally important components, coreeda dance and coreeda combat. The dance component, which is mostly based on traditional kangaroo dance steps, is the intitial warm up ritual and gives competitors an opportunity to display their abilities in strength, speed and agility. Divided into three one minute segments the idea is that the competitors can only touch the ground with their hands & feet and must stay within the boundary of a 4.5m diameter yellow 'sun' circle. The first segment continues unless one of the competitors falls, crosses the line of the circle or they cease maintaining continuous motion. The second segment allows competitors to try and trip, sweep or bump into their opponent again while maintaining a continuous one minute motion and has been likened in appearence to the Brazilian combat dance of capoeira. The third segment is more like a sumo match in which competitors try to push each other outside the circle or make the other touch the ground with any part of their body other than their hands or feet. The dance is important for detirmining which position the competitors will take in the combat component.
Coreeda combat is divided into four rounds or quarters, each lasting a maximum of two minutes. The winner of the dance component can choose which position they will start with, inside the circle, known as the defender, or outside the circle, known as the attacker. The role of the attacker is to try and force the defender outside the boundary of the sun circle by means of pushing, throwing or rolling them, all within a time limit of twenty seconds. Naturally the role of the defender is to restrain the attacker within the sun circle for longer than the twenty second time count. Such a victory, known as a decider, ends the quarter but a point score is collected during competition which is accumulated for the two minutes in case no decider is scored. Competitors swap positions each quarter and the point score is maintained until the end of the match.
One other thing that differentiates coreeda from most other styles of wrestling is that it is a team sport and competitors add to the total team score with the points they have achieved in their match ups. Teams are made of six competitors representing each of the weight divisions, which are named after a species of macropod; pademelons <60kg, potoroos <70kg, wallabies <80kg, greys <90kg, reds <100kg and boomers in the open weight division. Teams are further divided into two moeties, black and red, which are the colours on the Aboriginal flag and the uniforms signify this. Coreeda is a fast and effective combat sport that not only builds reflexes to prepare the body for potential conflict but is also great fun to play.
In April 2012 the SBS TV Aboriginal Affairs Program "Living Black" produced a story about Coreeda that gives a good indication of the activity, which you can watch via this link;
This Vimeo production by Michael Copp also gives a good basis for coreeda and you can watch it via this link;
Some of the boys that attended a Coreeda Seminar in 2012 put this video together and I think it captures the spirit of the sport well;
Also a great friend of the Coreeda Association, the photographer and ethnographer Christopher Samuels put together this wonderful presentation in 2013;
In January 2014 we travelled to Mornington Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria to introduce the sport to the kids up there and a film crew from NITV follow us for this story
In March 2014 the International TV Sports Journal Trans World Sport did this story on us
In September 2014 a man on an international martial arts quest Sascha Wagener included us in his documentary series, No Journeys End
Are you interested?
To find out more about coreeda explore this website, learn about the genuine history of Australian martial arts, discover where you can watch performances or even enrol in a class. For any Australian who is interested in reconnecting with their own cultural identity, an identity that extends back before British colonisation, coreeda is the perfect way of doing this. At the same time you get fit, learn to defend yourself and make new friends in an absolute win win situation.