History of belt wrestling

Belt Wrestling History

Belt Wrestling is a form of wrestling that is one of the oldest historically recorded sports. It involves contestants aiming to knock each other over by grappling with a belt. This is convincingly proven by ancient manuscripts, documents and various historical monuments of art.

The archaeologists found the belt wrestling images in the rock paintings in various parts of the world - in Central America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. In 1938, near Baghdad, a bronze statuette of two belt wrestlers was found, aged around six thousand years old. The Tang Shu Chinese manuscript of the 11th century mentions a belt wrestling competition. In the 11th century, the scientist and philosopher Avicenna spoke about this wresling.

Before Christ the most valuable monuments of eastern group nomads’ art of the 3rd and 1st centuries testify the thousand-year history of the struggle. For example, fighting couple scenes are depicted on two bronze badges from Ordos (China) and on silver vessels from a town on the Ob River in the Tyumen Region, where Turkic peoples have been long living.

The naissance of belt wrestling techniques

The belt wrestling tradition passed from the Turkic peoples to the Slavs. This type of wrestling was popular mainly in the south of Russia, in the Volga region, in the southern Urals, in Western Siberia and in the south of Ukraine. In peacetime, all Turk warriors improved and honed their combat skills through the belt wrestling techniques. In order to reproduce the process of the fight between two horsemen a belt in training is quite enough. Opponents getting closer from a great distance and grabbed each other by the belts, tried to pull the opponent closer, snatch him and throw him to the ground.

On a horse in battle, a warrior always keeps his feet in stirrups so he cannot act against the enemy with his feet, without the risk of easily falling from the saddle to the ground, that is why in peacetime training, the wrestlers, accurately reproducing the combat situation, excluded actions with their feet. However, during the fight cavalry could find himself on the left or right of the opponent. From here went throws with a walk for the left leg and throws with a walk for the opponent’s right leg.

The warrior needs strong hands, elbows, forearms, shoulder joint and back. The traction force of the arms, shoulders and back in a short moment could solve the issue of life and death of a warrior. Consequently, the training is exhausting came from the traction force development of wrestler power force and a sharp throw through the chest, a  throw from a squat, a hook or a throw, outputted behind his back.


Much later, this wrestling was transformed into holiday competitions. During the national holidays belt wrestling is included  in  the national holiday programs. Many Turkic peoples have wrestling belts: for example, the Karachai people call it tutush, the Yakuts -  hapsagai, the Kyrgyz  - alysh, the Kazakhs and Karakalpak  - kures, and the Uzbeks  - kurash. In Russia, belt wrestling has been preserved mainly among the Tatars and Bashkirs.

The first modern world belt wrestling championship was held in 2002 in the Kyrgyz city of Osh (Kyrgyzstan). The sports complex "Alysh" was initiated by Bayaman Erkinbayev.

Belt wrestling as a sport appeared in Russia in 2003 by the creation of the All-Russian Belt Wrestling Federation initiated by Rif Gaynanov and introduction wrestling into the Unified All-Russian Sports Qualification of the Ministry of Sports of the Russian Federation. The active development of belt wrestling in Russia and other countries led to the creation in 2003 of the International Belt Wrestling Association (IBWA) headquartered in Moscow.

Belt wrestling is officially included in the global network of non-Olympic sports, this type of wrestling is supported by the UNESCO organization. In this spectacular sport, championships and world championships of Eurasia and Europe are held annually. A belt wrestling department has been established at the Russian State University of Physical Education that graduates certified trainers annually. Belt wrestling was included in the program of the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan and in the program of the Asian Indoor Games on martial Arts, which took place in 2017 in the capital of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat.

World Championships

2002, Osh, Kyrgyzstan, I

2003, Tehran, Iran, II

2004, Istanbul, Turkey, III

2005, Kazan, Russia, IV

2006, Almaty, Kazakhstan, V

2007, Ufa, Russia, VI

2008, Togo, Lome, VII

2009, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, VIII

2011, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, IX

2012, Astana, Kazakhstan, X

2013, Salavat, Russia, XI

2014, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, XII

2015, Kazan, Russia, XIII

2016, Naberezhnye Chelny, Russia, XIV

2017, Kazan, Russia, XV

2018, Kazan, Russia, XVI

2019, Kazan, Russia, XVII

2020, Kazan, Russia, XVIII