A folk wrestling style is any traditional style of wrestling, which may or may not be codified as a modern sport. Most cultures have developed regional forms of grappling.

Two wrestlers demonstrating a wrestling technique, 1913

Europe edit

Britain edit

Traditionally wrestling has two main centres in Great Britain: the West Country, where the Devon and Cornwall styles were developed, and in the Northern counties; the home of the Cumberland and Westmorland styles and Catch wrestling.

North Country styles edit

  • Lancashire wrestling is a historic wrestling style from Lancashire in England known for its "Catch-as-catch-can", or no wrestling holds barred, style.
    • Catch wrestling, or Catch-as-catch-can, originated from Lancashire wrestling but was further developed during the travelling circus phenomenon of the 19th and early 20th century.
  • Backhold Wrestling, whose origin is unknown, was practised in North England and Scotland in the 7th and 8th century but competitions are held in present-day at the Highland and Border Games as well as in France and Italy. Styles of Backhold are distinct from Lancashire Wrestling because they enforce rules designed to minimize injury to the participants by disallowing ground fighting.
    • Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling, or Cumbrian Wrestling, is practised in the northern counties of England. It is a form of Backhold Wrestling where the wrestlers put the left arm over the opponents right arm and grip behind the opponent's back. Throws and trips are important since the first wrestler to touch the ground or break hold loses. Competitors often wear stockings (long johns), singlet and trunks.
    • Scottish Backhold is a form of Backhold practised in Scotland. Almost identical in style to Cumberland & Westmorland style apart from variations in rules. Competitors often wear kilts.

West Country styles edit

Cornish wrestling in Cornwall, 2006.
  • Cornish wrestling, originating from Cornwall, is a form of jacket wrestling. It does not use groundwork. It is related to Breton Gouren wrestling. From the late Middle Ages it became very popular throughout Britain[1][2][3][4][5] and then spread through the world in the 18th and 19th centuries, with regular tournaments and matches throughout the US,[6][7][8][9] Australia,[10] South Africa,[11] France[12][13] and New Zealand[14] and with less frequent tournaments in Ireland,[15][16] India,[17] Brazil,[18][19] Canada,[20] Mexico[21] and Japan.[22]
  • Devon wrestling, or Devonshire wrestling, was a style similar to the Cornish style in that jackets were worn. Devonshire wrestlers, however, also wore heavy clogs and were able to kick the opponents. In matches between Cornish and Devon, Devonshire wrestlers might have worn one shoe only. Unlike Cornish wrestling, the style is generally considered to be extinct.

Other styles edit

Ireland edit

  • Barróg was a form of backhold wrestling practiced primarily in the west and north of Ireland. The earliest visual depictions date from the 9th century AD, and matches in the style are recorded to have taken place up until the early decades of the 20th century.
  • Collar-and-elbow is a jacket wrestling style native to Ireland that can be traced back to the 17th century. It was introduced to the United States by Irish immigrants, and was one of the most popular wrestling styles practiced nationwide there for much of the 19th century.[24]

Nordic countries edit

  • Glíma, the national sport of Iceland, originating from Norway, and traces its history to the Vikings and the Norse[citation needed]. It is a standing style with rules similar to Shuai jiao and Bukh, and consists of three forms: 1) Hryggtök, the Backhold Grip; 2) Brokartök or the Pant-and-belt Grip that utilizes a leather harness around the waist and thighs, which the wrestlers hold (making it a form of belt-wrestling similar to Swiss Schwingen), and 3) Lausatök or Free-Grip is the most aggressive form of glima and contestants can use the holds they wish. It is practiced both outdoors and indoors.
  • Kragkast, type of folk wrestling originating from Sweden, similar to Freestyle wrestling

Continental Europe edit

Western Europe edit

  • Gouren - traditional Breton jacket wrestling. Similar to Cornish wrestling.
  • Ranggeln - meaning "to wrangle" in German, Ranggeln is a prominent form of wrestling in Austria. The winner is the man who pins his opponents to the ground[citation needed]
  • Schwingen - Swiss style of wrestling considered to be one of the oldest forms of wrestling. Wrestlers wear special canvas trousers.
  • Calegon - another form of Swiss folk wrestling, whose techniques were further developed among others into freestyle wrestling

Southern Europe edit

Eastern Europe edit

Northern Europe edit

Asia edit

Wrestlers on the traditional Naadam festival in Mongolia, near Ulan Bator
Yağlı güreş (Turkish oil wrestling) tournament in Istanbul
Khuresh (Tuvan wrestling)

Central Asia edit

Mongolian wrestling edit

  • Bökh - (Khalkha bökh, Khalkha wrestling) traditional Khalkha Mongolian jacket wrestling where touching the ground with anything other than a foot loses the match.[27] Bökh means "wrestling" or "wrestler" in Mongolian.
  • Buryat wrestling (Buriad bökh)
  • Bukh noololdoon - Oirat wrestling or Western Mongolian wrestling
  • Southern Mongolian wrestling - (Üzemchin wrestling) jacket wrestling that wear jacket made of cow leather, long pants with chaps over and boots. Rules and techniques are more similar to Shuai Jiao than to Bokh practised in Mongolia, where wrestlers wear only short, tight, collarless, heavy-duty short-sleeved jacket and small, tight-fitting briefs made of red or blue colored cotton cloth.

Turkic wrestling edit

  • Alysh, a Kyrgyz belt wrestling
  • Köräş, a Tatar wrestling style
  • Kurash, an Uzbek wrestling style
  • Göreş, a Turkmen wrestling style
  • Khuresh - traditional Tuvan jacket wrestling, in southern Siberia. Strongly influenced by Mongolian wrestling. Khalkha Mongolian and Tuvan wrestlers wear almost same jacket.
  • Küres - traditional Kazakh jacket wrestling. Leg grabs are not allowed, but a wrestler may trip the legs.
  • Gushtingiri - traditional Tajik jacket wrestling.

East Asia edit

China edit

  • Shuai Jiao 摔跤: Chinese jacket wrestling originating from Beijing, Tianjin and Baoding in Northern Hebei which means "Throw and Trip (at the ankle)". Also known as Guan Jiao 摜跤 and Liao Jiao 撩跤, meaning "Continuing Trip (at the ankle)" and "Hold-up and Trip (at the ankle)". In Qing dynasty time it was also known as "Buku (布庫)", Manchu word for wrestling which has the root as Mongol word Boke. This style of wrestling was the style of martial arts practiced by imperial guards in the Liao, Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. The present techniques were codified by the Kangxi Emperor in the 1670s. Traditionally wrestlers wear jacket called "Da Lian (搭褳)" and chaps over their pants, which allow grabbing the chaps for lifting. In addition, Qin Na techniques such as arm bars were allowed in Beijing, and striking and blocking using upper arms were allowed in Tianjin. Rules have since incorporated Shanxi Die Jiao and modern Olympic Wrestlings.
  • Die Jiao 跌跤: Chinese wrestling from Xinzhou (忻州), Northern Shanxi (山西) Province. Competitors wear only pants, without jacket, belt, or boots. Its primary techniques are the "48 Leg Takedowns", first codified in the Song dynasty circa 1180. This form of wrestling was popular throughout Northern China until the spread of Shuai Jiao, which is considered more advanced in its grappling and tripping techniques. It was colloquially known as "Mo Ni Qiu (摸泥鳅)", literally grabbing the mud Qiu, Qiu being a kind of catfish in Northern China.
  • Qielixi 切里西: Chinese belt wrestling practiced by Uyghur Nationality.
  • Gi Ge 几格: Chinese belt wrestling practiced by Yi Nationality (彝族) in Sichuan (四川) and Yunnan (雲南). "Gi Ge" literally means "Holding Waist". The three main rules are: no tripping using the legs; no grabbing the jacket or pants; no pushing or striking. Rules have now been changed to allow holding the legs.
  • Ndrual Dluad: Chinese wrestling practiced by Miao/Hmong Nationality throughout Southwestern China. A belt wrestling style, competitors can wear traditional dress or modern dress but they must hold on to the belt at all times.
  • Beiga 北嘎: Chinese belt wrestling practiced by the Tibetan people. Also known as "Jiazhe (加哲)" and "Youri (有日)" in Tibet, "Xiezhe (寫澤)" in Western Sichuan, and "Jiareze (卡惹則)" in Qinghai. It is a form of belt wrestling. Wrestlers compete barefoot and must hold the belt at all times. No tripping is allowed. Leg trips were introduced circa the 13th century, making 2 distinct forms.

Other countries edit

  • Sumo: Japanese wrestling based on forcing the opponent out of the ring or to touch the ground with anything other than the soles of the feet. Sumo is notable for allowing slaps and strikes with the open palm. The rules were codified during the Tokugawa Shogunate and were based on Xiang-Pu 相撲, the Chinese wrestling style during the Tang dynasty.
  • Jujutsu: Ancient style of Japanese wrestling that focuses on throws, pins, chokes and joint locks. Further refined by samurai during the violent Sengoku Period.
  • Ssireum: Korean belt wrestling contested in a sand pit
  • Tegumi is the folk wrestling practiced in Okinawa.
  • Mariwariwosu, the indigenous style of the Formosan Aboriginal people of Taiwan such as the Paiwan and Bunun tribes. Performed on a circular sandpit with competitors grabbing hold of their opponents large waist belts before the start of the match it involves many skillful throws and is an important part of the National Aboriginal Games.

Western Asia edit

South Asia edit

Southeast Asia edit

Americas edit

Africa edit

Oceania edit

  • Coreeda, a modern synthesis that combines traditional Aboriginal dance, mainly in the form of kangaroo mimicry, with a style of wrestling performed around a yellow 4.5m diameter circle with black and red borders similar to the Aboriginal flag. Competitors wear knee length pants, a wide sash belt and a jersey that can be grabbed to assist in throws. It is based on similar games that were played in pre-colonial Australia and is usually performed during NAIDOC in the Western Suburbs of Sydney. Extinct indigenous Australian styles include turdererin from Southern Victoria, partambelin from Southern NSW, goombooboodoo from Western NSW, ami from Southern QLD and donaman/arungga from Northern QLD.it is estimated this first Coreeda tournament began over 10,000 years ago, making Coreeda one of the oldest documented styles of Folk Wrestling in the world
  • Epoo korio, a friendly style of wrestling done on Kiwai Island in the Fly River Delta of Western Province of Papua New Guinea, involved one wrestler who had to defend a small mound of sand which his opponent was trying to destroy.
  • Boumwane, the national style of Kiribati with a simple toppling victory performed during National Day celebrations, a similar sport is also played in Nauru.
  • Fagatua, the indigenous style of Tokelau used mainly to settle regional disputes between villages.
  • Hokoko, the indigenous style of the Kanaka Maoli of the Hawaii Islands, first recorded by crew members during HMS Resolution's 1779 visit to the main island as part of the pa'ani'kahiko or 'ancient games', performed during the Makahiki New Year Festival. Along with mokomoko boxing it is a core skill of the bone breaking martial art of lua.
  • Rongomamau, the indigenous style of the Maori of New Zealand, this unarmed art was used for warrior training, conflict resolution and was used against armed Warriors during battle. Based on the movements of the Maori Gods of nature, this art is still practised by those trained by Te Whare Ahuru Rongomamau.
  • Moana, the indigenous style of the Ma'ohi of Tahiti and French Polynesia; along with teka (spear throwing), motora'a (boxing) and amoraa ofae (heavy stone lifting) will be included as part of the Heiva i Tahiti or traditional sports festival held in Papeete every July. A similar sport is also played in the Cook Islands during the Te Maeva Nui national day celebrations.
  • Pi'i tauva, the indigenous style of the Kingdom of Tonga was first seen by Europeans in 1777 in which the artist John Webber recorded in lithograph. It combined boxing and wrestling, being performed as entertainment for visitors by both men and women.
  • Popoko, the indigenous style of the Maori of the Cook Islands, is an ancient traditional form of wrestling on the island of Pukapuka. The young men don thick belts called maro that are woven from coconut fibre and in a ritualistic procession, annually they march from their villages to a communal meeting ground.[29] When a man wins a match, the entire village sings a tila or a wrestling chant from their village.[30]
  • Taupiga, the indigenous style of the Samoan Islands saw the wrestlers greased up with coconut oil before competitions (similar to Turkish yagli gures) and was an important part of the inter-village gatherings.
  • Uma, also known as Kulakula'i, is a hand-wrestling game practiced by the indigenous residents of Hawaii. The contestants kneel and grasp each other's elbows on the same side. The object is to force one's opponent's arm to the ground.[31] The game was frequently played by the Hawaiian ruling class (the Ali'i).[32]
  • Veibo, the indigenous style of Fiji was mainly used as a method of warrior training but also occasionally as a form of entertainment. In the early 20th century, indentured labourers were brought from India to work the cane fields and their style of wrestling, kushti, was fused with veibo to create a hybrid style similar to freestyle wrestling.

Footnotes edit

  1. ^ Cornish wrestling in Devon, Cornish Guardian, 25 June 1926, p6.
  2. ^ Last Christmas Day wedding in Taunton, Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser, 28 December 1963, p1.
  3. ^ Chalk Farm Tavern and Tea Gardens, Morning Advertiser. 1 April 1844, p1.
  4. ^ Devon and Cornwall wrestling match, Cornubian and Redruth Times, 12 June 1868, p3.
  5. ^ Sir Thomas Parkyns: The Inn-play or Cornish Hugg Wrestler, J Bailey (London) 1713
  6. ^ Rowett still champion, Diamond Drill, 25 December 1909, p4.
  7. ^ Jack Rowett is still champion, Camulet News, 10 January 1911, p7.
  8. ^ Can He Come Back, Iron Country news, 02 May 1914, p1.
  9. ^ Great activity in wrestling, Cornish sport is growing in popularity in upper peninsula of Michigan, The Minneapolis Journal, 19 July 1902, p9.
  10. ^ Wrestling, Bendigo Advertiser (Vic), 9 January 1906, p3.
  11. ^ Cornish Association of South Africa, Cornish Guardian, 8 May 1914, p5.
  12. ^ Morris, Charles, Historical Tales, the Romance of Reality, JB Lippincott Company (Philadelphia) 1895, p212.
  13. ^ Tregoning Hooper, Cornish Wrestling, Royal Institution of Cornwall, Vol II, Part 2, 1954, p88-97.
  14. ^ Wrestling for the championship of Westland, WEST COAST TIMES, ISSUE 712, 4 JANUARY 1868, p2.
  15. ^ Saunders's News-Letter, 14 June 1837.
  16. ^ Dublin Daily Express, 20 August 1885.
  17. ^ Madras Weekly Mail, 30 March 1899.
  18. ^ Royal Cornwall Gazette, 5 October 1860.
  19. ^ West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser, 16 August 1861.
  20. ^ Cornish Wrestling to be introduced to Canada, Cornish Guardian, 20 December 1928, p5.
  21. ^ Our Mexican letter, Western Daily Mercury, 21 October 1895, p8.
  22. ^ Wrestling, The Japan Weekly Mail, 30 March 1872, p162.
  23. ^ Layton, Charles: The Whole Art of Norfolk Wrestling, T Webster Jun 1830
  24. ^ Charles Morrow Wilson (1959). "Magnificent Scufflers". Scribd.
  25. ^ "Istrumpa.it - Alla scoperta dell'Istrumpa".
  26. ^ Apariția Şi Dezvoltarea Luptelor Pe Teritoriul României Archived 14 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine, frl.ro (in Romanian)
  27. ^ The Alternative Olympics by Ron Gluckman (Mongolia)
  28. ^ "Shaking Hands: Tigel Wrestling in Ethiopia". Wrestlingroots.org. Archived from the original on 21 December 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  29. ^ Gavin Dickson (14 July 2014). "The Potential of Pacific Traditional Wrestling" (PDF).
  30. ^ Amelia Borofsky (20 January 2012). "Yato athletes come out on top". Cook Islands News.
  31. ^ David Malo (1903). Hawaiian antiquities (Moolelo Hawaii). Hawaiian gazette co., ltd. p. 96. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  32. ^ "Coral Reef and Assessment Monitoring Program". University of Hawaii. Retrieved 6 October 2011.

Sources edit

  • The Wrestler's Body: Identity and Ideology in North India by Joseph S. Alter (1992). ISBN 0-520-07697-4