I started practicing Kow-rate at a young age

Audra Brown

Audra Brown

By Audra Brown

Local columnist

There are many martial arts, some new, some old, and some in-between. But I’d like to talk about one of the oldest, yet never-talked about martial arts: The delicate art of Kow-rate. It’s origins are shrouded in green, methane-scented, mystery, but it’s practice is something I can tell you a little about.
I personally have been practicing the art since a very young age. The first techniques learned are generally defensive or herding moves. Like the use of a cattle-prod, whip, or ones own body to move cattle in particular directions or patterns; also, the ever important fence-climbing defense. A critical move that can later be developed into the advanced techniques of fence-hurdling, or even fence-jumping, the discipline of the longhorn.

The later disciplines are not necessarily learned in any order, and one may choose to pursue a few to master and let others concern themselves with the other disciplines. I am particularly versed in the art of the head, in the area of the branding.
It might be compared to the human-directed arts of wresting or maybe jujitsu. The way of the head is very intimate and very physical. A practitioner learns to move the hands faster than the ears of a bovine; becomes familiar with all the features of the head, veins, pressure points, horns, etc…; and finally learns to control the bovine’s powerful neck in various ways.

In the chute, the one-armed nose-hold is quite challenging and the catch and throw for when the chute isn’t going to work can get very exciting, but the way of the head is a good way and it’s the most visually notable. Those who practice the head can be spotted after a branding by the red splatter all over their clothes and face and hat.
Other aspects of branding include the way of the hot iron, the path of the dull blade, the fist of sharps, and the ones who work behind.

There are many more areas of this old and storied realm of study. But not for today, Audra Brown is punching something. She can be reached at 2e@al-brown.com.