- Korkor: A disc jockey joins a band of lumei set up to track down and defeat a group of assassins known only as Kla.
Price: 4 Ghana Cedis
In a large white room of an even whiter building, two women sat across from each other. One was a lumei, a master of the martial art known as Abotri Ke Tahuumo. The other was a disc jockey, a ‘master’ of entertaining club patrons. The lumei sighed. She did not have high hopes for this one.
‘Miss Korkor, do you know who the Kla are?’
‘Sure, Lumei Kaakie. They are a group of rogue lumei who hired out their services to the highest paying chief during the times of tribal warfare. Some lumei believe that a direct descendant of the Kla is trying to raise a new generation of Kla after they were defeated by Naa, one of the greatest lumei in history.’
‘And you want to fight them?’
‘Yeah. When do I start?”
2. LUMEI: Two lumei from two different timelines strive to become the best in the martial arts world.
Price: 4 Ghana Cedi.
Before Naa became known as the old tigress of the south, her village faced a crisis. Some of the Lumei (masters) of Abotri ke Tahuumo (Ga martial art) decided to fight for the highest paying chief, regardless of their position in battles that engulfed the region. Fearing that their interference would end any hope of peace, the Asafoatse (Chief Warrior) took two drastic measures.
She advised that the chief place a two year ban on the movement of villagers outside the village walls and she instructed Naa Amerlei, a Shipi (Asafo Bii captain) to defeat all the lumei alone!
‘I’m not even a lumei’ protested Naa. ‘To deteat them, I would need seven lumei to accompany me’.
‘The villages are currently waging war with each other,’ replied the Asafoatse. ‘Sending in a small squad of Asafo Bii would be seen as an act of aggression by our village, giving them an excuse to attack us with their combined might. If that happens, everyone you know and love will die’.
‘You are not a lumei yet but at the age of eight, you fully understood that the art of Abotri ke Tahuumo is the expression of self protection and offensive warfare tactics. You have more of the strength of a Kla (tiger) and the speed of the hawk than most lumei.
‘Where do I start?’ asked the Shipi.
‘In the western village where some of the villagers share my concerns and will ensure that they are duly incarcerated after you defeat the lumei.’
It was midnight when Naa entered the village stealthily with the help of the Asafoatse’s allies. A scarred Lumei strode confidently across a footpath, when Naa sprung at her from a treetop, knocking her down before attempting to restrain her. The lumei brushed her off but Naa used Abotri (use of handstands and somersaults) to advance towards her again.
The lumei sunk into an offensive stance and used Akotoku (Empty hand combat with the fist and its supporting arsenals) to fend off Naa but she used Intia Shomo (the art of complex kicking and feet attacks) to deflect some of her punches and raised her knees. Naa swept her right foot across the lumei’s face, knocking her to the ground.
The Asafoatse’s allies emerged from the bushes and carried the unconscious lumei away as Naa sprinted to the next village, the moonlight guiding her path. The next lumei was practising her Abotri Ke Tahuumo by the riverside when Naa slowly crept behind her. Without warning, she used Abotri and landed neatly behind her.
The lumei kicked her left shoulder, dislocating it. She moved it back into place and used Mim Dzee (art of evasion) to dodge her subsequent attacks. Just then another figure used Abotri to somersault over her head, landing next to the lumei.
‘What are you doing here, ‘Shipi Yortei’? asked the lumei.
‘Assisting you. ‘Rumour has it that this Shipi has been sent by the Asafoatse to defeat us. Since she’s not dead yet, I take it that you need the assistance.’ she replied.
The two assailants sunk into offensive stances and used Kwasafo Nomo and Asafo Atwele (the art of free expression and multi-partner combat in strategic warfare) to repeatedly punch her in the face and the belly. The lumei struck her shin at the same time as the Shipi struck her chest and face.
Naa lunged at the lumei but she blocked her punch and the Shipi struck her neck with her sandaled left foot, causing her to stumble as the two began to encircle her. Exhausted from dealing with their synchronised attacks, she began to use Asafo ke Tahuumo (the art of fighting in a trance like state), blocking their punches and kicks.
They leapt away from her punches but she began to discern their attacking patterns before attacking them with ferocius double handed slaps and kicks to their faces and chests. She sprang at them and struck them both with her left foot smashing into the lumei’s face and her right foot smashing into the face of the Shipi, felling them.
The sun began to rise as she stumbled into the next village and despite her better judgement, headed straight for the market, her eyes searching for the next lumei. The lumei recognised her and broke into a run, lunging towards her in a trance like-state, her punches and kicks almost impossible to anticipate.
Naa used Adzenklulu (acrobatic arts) to evade the attacks using each moment to study her style. She cartwheeled away using Ataalai Gbanoo, her two feet knocking her on the chin as she spun away. The lumei fell into a stack of tomatoes as the sellers and buyers fled the market.
Several Asafo Bii armed to the teeth appraoched Naa and bound her in chains and to her surprise, escorted her outside the village’s borders. Naa entered the village and stopped abruptly as the final lumei waited for her at the entrance to the village. She rose to her feet and darted towards the exhausted Shipi before she could even move, delivering several ferociuos double handed slaps and kicks with her feet.
She then drew out two machetes from the folds of her cloth and slashed Naa’s belly. Naa dodged the subsequent attacks and leapt backwards before ripping part of her wardress to wrap around her wounded belly. The lumei struck her repeatedly using Gbobi hava, the art of hunting down prey, to approach her when when Naa used Mim Dzee.
She slashed Naa’s arms, legs and belly repeatedly using Kakla ke klante Nomo (the art of bladed weapon combat). When she swung the machete for the fourth time, Naa struck the machetes with such force that they were knocked out of her hands. Despite her wounds, Naa went on the offensive, somersaulting over the lumei, her left leg striking the lumei’s back, before she landed.
The lumei spun around and was struck in the throat by Naa’s left fist as Naa used Akotoku and Intia Shomo to force her back, repeatedly kicking her in the face and belly. She tackled the Lumei with a sweep of her left foot, tackling her. The lumei steadied herself and swung her right fist at her but she used Mim Dzee, grabbed the outstretched hand, braced herself against the lumei and flung her over her shoulder.
The lumei hit the floor headfirst. She picked herself up and attacked her again but Naa sunk into a trance like state, blocking her attacks involuntarily with her arms. Naa kicked her chest driving her backwards. Naa lunged at her, both fists striking the lumei’s head and dealt her several ferocious double hand slaps and kicks to the feet, stopping only when her fist was inches away from her neck.
The village’s Asafo Bii arrived and bound them both, escorting Naa to the edge of the village’s borders, and watched as a very wounded Naa slowly headed back to her own village.By the time she returned to the village, she became known as the old tigress of the South for her exploits.
3. Nii: A recently laid off worker joins the Asafo Bii to defeat the forces of one of the most powerful royals in the city.
Price : 2 Ghana Cedis.
The time was 10:00 am and the place Nkran in the year 3000. On top of the biggest Bank building in the city, a dark, lean and tall man walked to the very edge and stopped, hands in his pockets. Below him, a thick crowd was formed and watched him in horror, fearing that he would commit suicide. However the man in question, Nii Okai, had no intention of jumping over the edge. He had simply come to enjoy the view of the entire city from that height.
4. Nyansakrom: An asafoakyere (female asafo captain), an abrewanana (sage) and her osuani (apprentice) must defeat a shadow society that seeks to tear their village apart and remake it in their own image.
Price: 11 Ghana Cedis.
When Nyansakrom (the village of wisdom) was first established, Dede, who would later be known as the strongest asafo in the village, was but a child. Agor, brother of the true ruler of the village, decided that the village would conquer all others. Akua, the true ruler, once content with listening to music and sleeping all day, was forced to oppose her brother.
This gave rise to the first civil war dividing the village into two sides. Only eight years old, Dede was forcibly recruited along with other girls by an Asafoakyere (female Asafo Captain) named Kyeiwaa. She was one of the best fighters in Ekua’s army. The children were forced to duel each other from sunrise to sunset. Those who failed to endure this were sent to the coal mines.
Kyeiwaa trained Dede harshly, their duels ending with Dede unconscious in the dirt and bleeding from knife wounds on her arms and legs.
Years passed and Dede rapidly rose through the ranks to become an asafoakyere edziekyir (deputy) of the second Asafo Company, one of eight all-female Asafo Companies. Led by Warqueen Ekua, they engaged Agor’s forces on a daily basis. On one Monday morning, their battle was extremely severe.
Dede slashed through the blades of two asafo and struck their heads with the hilt of her afena (long sword). She dodged the arrows of eight archers and sped towards them, sheathing her akodze and drawing out her spear. She struck two of them with the wooden shaft, and kicked three in the face. Two of the asafo slashed through her spear, snapping it in half. She struck their heads with the two halves and leapt at the last one, kicking her in the face.
She spun quickly to her right, seconds before a spear struck the place where she had stood. An asafo lunged at her, her ndar (machete) swinging wildly at her neck. She sidestepped the attack and struck the left side of her head, felling her.
A bloodcurdling cry of anguish rang out from behind her. Alarmed, she spun around to find a grinning Kyeiwaa slashing several asafo’s faces with a bloodstained afowatsena (double or triple bladed akofena).
Kyeiwaa slashed an asafo ,who knelt before her in surrender, across the chest and kicked her down. As she swung her akodze downwards, Dede darted toward the enemy and blocked Kyeiwaa’s swing with her own afena.
Kyeiwaa glared at Dede. ‘Step aside, asafo’
‘She’s already beaten’ replied Dede. ‘She doesn’t have to die’.
Kyeiwaa shoved Dede aside and swung at the asafo again but Dede blocked the strike. Kyeiwaa then swung her akodze repeatedly at Dede, forcing her backwards as she blocked each strike.
‘Kyeiwaa, sheathe your akodze’ ordered Ekua. ‘Dede’s right. ‘That asafo, along with the others, is a prisoner of war’.
Kyeiwaa glanced around her as Ekua’s asafo bound and restrained the opposing asafo.
Kyeiwaa sheathed her akofena. ‘Yes, Warqueen Ekua’.
Dede led the prisoners of war into the )bo) efiase and made sure that their wounds were treated, before leaving for the Posuban (Asafo Armoury). She handed over her afena, bent and cracked from blocking Kyeiwaa’s strikes, to the sekanbontrofi (weapons maker). She was given a new one and sheathed it, rubbing her bruised palms on her way back to the efiase.
Suddenly Kyeiwaa marched into the efiase with ten other asafo. They brandished their akodze and walked towards the prisoners until Dede blocked their path.
She unsheathed her afena and brandished it. ‘You’re not going to hurt them. ‘They’ve been through enough”.
The other asafo unsheathed their akodze and charged at her. She punched one in the face and tackled three from below with low sweeps of her legs. Three of them lunged at her but she evaded their blades and swung her afena once, slashing through the blades. She stepped forward and they nervously stepped back.
Irritated, Kyeiwaa shoved them aside and walked over them as she unsheathed her afowatsena. Dede steadied herself as Kyeiwaa lunged at her. Kyeiwaa swung at her with such force that even though Dede blocked it, she was sent sprawling backwards. Dede began to rise from the ground but Kyeiwaa stamped on her chest with her left foot and kicked her afena away with her right.
She raised her akodze to strike the killing blow when she felt someone tug on it. The akodze was wrenched from her grip and Kyeiwaa turned around to face Abrewanana Ewurama, leader of the mbrewanananom )kofo) (fighting sages)
‘You shouldn’t treat your subordinates that way, Kyeiwaa.’ she warned. ‘It’s bad for morale’. ‘Warqueen Ekua has ordered that you let the prisoners of war return to Agor’s territory.
‘Why?’ asked Kyeiwaa as she lifted her foot off Dede.
‘Probably’, cut in Dede, as she dusted herself, ‘because it would be a good way of showing our side’s commitment to a peace agreement between us and Agor’s forces.’
That night, Dede led the prisoners of war out of the efiase. Kyeiwaa was able to gather fifteen asafo for one purpose: to attack the prisoners before they reached the enemy camp and in the confusion, kill as many of Agor’s forces as possible. Dede was a few steps away from the border separating both sides when they were ambushed by Kyeiwaa and her asafo.
‘Send the prisoners across the border’ Dede instructed three of her asafo. ‘The rest of us will hold Kyeiwaa’s group off”.
As the asafo attacked her, Dede blocked their attacks and slashed through three asafo blades in one swing of her akodze before striking each asafo with the hilt of her akofena. She kicked an asafo into two other asafo and blocked a strike from behind, spinning around to strike her foe with a sheathed afena.
Three asafo took aim at her and let off six arrows which she slashed, deflecting the arrowheads into the bowstrings of the asafo, splitting them. Behind her, two asafo on her side used her blade breaking style to slash through their opponents’ blades before striking their heads with the hilts of their akodze.
Three of Kyeiwaa’s asafo spun towards her, synchronising their attacks as Dede blocked each strike until she spun away from one of them, disarmed a second and struck her chin with the hilt of her afena, felling her. She leapt towards the two, striking them both simultaneously with her right and left feet.
Kyeiwaa swung at her from behind but she spun to her left, her hilt angled toward the back of her head. Kyeiwaa grabbed the hilt, wrenching the akodze from Dede’s grasp, slashed her left arm and kicked her in the ribs. Dede stumbled backwards, ducking as Kyeiwaa aimed for her neck with her machetes.
She drew out her own machetes and fought back, their blades drawing sparks each time they clashed. Kyeiwaa forced Dede backwards and slashed through her machetes. She swung downwards on Dede’s left shoulder but she sidestepped the attack, wrenched a machete from Kyeiwaa’s left hand and punched her in the throat.
Kyeiwaa stumbled back, coughing and sputtering. Dede clutched the akodze with her right hand, the left clutching her bruised ribs as they circled each other. Dede darted forwards, striking Kyeiwaa across the chin and sending her into a pile of leaves. By midnight, the other asafo companies led by Ekua and Ewurama arrived at the edge of the border and detained Kyeiwaa and the asafo that came with her.
‘By tomorrow, the peace agreement will be finalised.’ Ewurama revealed. ‘Agor and the top ranking members of his ekuo (faction) will be sent to a new efiase called Mampam, guarded by the fighting sages.’
‘When this village was founded, the mbrewanananom were formed to prevent wars from occuring. However, we failed and even worse, had to take sides, against our pacifist beliefs .Leaving the village and guarding the Mampam prison is our way of making up for our failures’.
‘Dede, since you are the most powerful asafo at present,’ said Ekua. ‘I want you to become the Asafoakyere of the second Asafo Company .’
‘Very well’ noted Dede. ‘But I have conditions.’
‘No more forced recruitments into the asafo. The age of recruitment must be sixteen years and above. The blade breaking techniques will be mandatory for all asafo and each of them must embrace a philosophy of restraint and peace.’
‘Agreed’ Ekua nodded.
The next day, both sides met for the reunification of the village. After the ceremony, Dede asked Ewurama whether the peace would last this time.
‘I certainly hope so, despite the war-filled times we live in’ she replied. ‘Perhaps in the future, we will all be united as one people with one destiny’.
‘Then for now, promised Dede, ‘I’ll do my best to keep the peace’.