The 52 Blocks
Lyte Burly demonstrating the skull and crossbones block
Interesting video article today on NYTimes.com about "the 52 blocks". They profile Lyte Burly of the East Village (see his youtube videos here) and Daniel Marks. Marks' website has this to say about the history of the 52:
52 Blocks, the only existing martial arts form originating from the United States, originates from Caribbean and Southern US (Gullah island) warrior traditions. Similar to its Brazilian counterpart, Capoeira, the fighting style was initially suppressed during slavery because white slaveowners feared potential rebellions of disenfranchised African-Americans. After Reconstruction, the art form followed the African-American migration Northeast and into the margins of large urban centers. Urban prisons, because of their ethnic breakdown as well as their social code, actually provided a more fertile ground for the art to expand, especially in allowing novices to dedicate themselves to ongoing training intensively. It was within the prison system that 52 evolved, fusing with urban dance and boxing tactics.
Apparently Rashad Evans is familiar with the 52 as well! Here's a video clip of Rashad talking about his fighting influences.