Following are excerpts from a TV report about Zamaqtal, an Islamic martial art developed in Tunisia, which aired on Al-Jazeera on August 27, 2012.
Reporter: It resembles other martial arts to a great extent, but it is different. This is Zamaqtal, a developing Tunisian sport, which spread among Tunisian youth during the revolution. Its founder says that he was inspired by the spiritual teachings of Islam.
The name of this martial art is derived from the words zaman ["time"], makan ["place"], and qital ["fight"].
Zamaqtal founder Moncef Werghi: Zaman – time is like a sword. If you don’t cut it, it will cut you. As velocity increases, time decreases. Makan – "Cut off their heads and cut off each of their fingers" [Koran, 8:12]. In order to kill, you need to strike above the neck, and then strike the limbs. As for qital – "Fighting is ordained for you, though it is hateful to you" [Koran 2:216].
Reporter: Zamaqtal is based upon swift movements and self-confidence. It is characterized by painful grabbing techniques which are used to submit your opponent and help you slam him to the ground no matter how strong he is.
Zamaqtal strikes are terms either "vertical" or "horizontal," and target specific parts of the body.
Moncef Werghi: It is all derived from the Koran. Allah said that the hands and feet of highway robbers should be severed on alternate sides. From "alternate sides" I derived vertical strikes, and "horizontal" is the opposite.
Reporter: This martial art was founded by Sheik Moncef Werghi, a former political prisoner and a peculiar individual. He is a champion of various kinds of martial arts and is well known for his extensive travels. He walked all the way to Japan on a trip full of adventures and dangers.
Moncef Werghi: I travelled from Tunisia to Japan. Not only Japan – I visited all the islands of the Pacific Ocean. Afterwards, I returned to Tunisia via Kuwait. Then Ben Ali threw me in jail.
Reporter: During his 16 years in jail, Sheik Werghi invented Zamaqtal which is the culmination of all the martial arts he had mastered. While in prison, he also invented a special script to record the different moves.