Saturday, June 4, 2011

Counting Coup

Many cultures, both rural and urban, have a tradition of 'counting coup'. This is the custom of delivering what could have been a fatal blow to an enemy, but with a harmless and symbolic 'weapon', such as a 'sword' of thin wood which is designed to break.

This custom must be distinguished from various kinds of mock-battle in which neither participant uses a real weapon.

Successfully counting coup on an enemy humiliates them, and raises the status of the warrior. It also puts the defeated one in the victor's debt.

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