History of belt wrestling

Belt wrestling is an ancient type of wrestling, consisting in a single combat between two belted wrestlers. The athletes are in a fight all the time, holding each other by the belt and each of the rivals is trying to knock the other down and win.

The history of belt wrestling

Belt wrestling is one of the most ancient sports. This is convincingly proved by ancient manuscripts, documents and various historical monuments of art. Experts have found rock carvings depicting belt wrestling in various parts of the world — in Central America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. A bronze statuette of two wrestlers on belts, which is about six thousand years old, was found near Baghdad in 1938. The Chinese manuscript "Tang Shu" of the XI century mentions a belt wrestling competition. In the XI century, the scientist and philosopher Avicenna told about this struggle.

The millennial history of the struggle is also evidenced by the most valuable art monuments of the eastern group of nomads of the III and I centuries BC. For example, scenes of a struggling couple are depicted on two bronze plaques from Ordos, from China, and on silver vessels from a town on the Ob River in the Tyumen region, where Turkic-speaking peoples have long lived.

Not only Turkic-speaking peoples fought on belts. The area of this martial sport is much wider and covers almost the whole of modern Europe, including Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Spain. There are many examples: the fight against terrorism in Korea, Schwingen in Switzerland. Belt wrestling has its own specifics for each nation. The reason for such a wide prevalence lies on the surface. In ancient times, one of the important elements of a horse attack was the ability to throw the enemy out of the saddle. This element of combat training of soldiers of many armies, from east to west, was carefully practiced in training, where a belt was used to simulate horse combat. So, success in belt wrestling meant success in real combat, which is why many nations improved in it.

World Belt wrestling Champion Ivan Poddubn

The tradition of belt wrestling competitions passed to the Slavs from the Turkic peoples. This type of wrestling was spread mainly in the south of Russia, in the Volga region, in the Southern Urals, in Western Siberia and in the south of Ukraine. All Turkic warriors in peacetime improved and honed their combat skills through the methods and techniques of belt wrestling. With the development of sedentariness, men had a belt or sash on their clothes, hence the name. To reproduce the process of a fight between two horsemen in contact, a belt in peaceful training conditions was quite enough. The opponents approached from a long distance, grabbing each other by the sashes, trying to pull the opponent closer, pull him out and throw him to the ground. That is, the combat battle of the horsemen was accurately reproduced.On horseback in battle, a warrior always keeps his feet in the stirrups, and he cannot act against the enemy with his feet, without the risk of easily falling out of the saddle to the ground. Therefore, during peacetime training, the fighters, accurately reproducing the combat situation, also excluded foot actions. However, in the course of the battle, the horseman could find himself on the left or right of the enemy. From here, there were throws with pacing for the left leg and throws with pacing for the right leg of the opponent. The warrior needed strong hands, elbows, forearms, shoulder joint and back. The pulling force of the arms, shoulders and back in a short moment solved the question of the life and death of a warrior. Hence the grueling training, with the development of the unparalleled power of the fighter's traction effort and a sharp throw through the chest, a throw with pacing, with a squat, a hook or a throw with a withdrawal behind the back.

Much later, wrestling transformed into festive competitions. During national holidays, belt wrestling is the highlight of national holiday programs. Many Turkic peoples have belt wrestling: for example, the Karachai people call it tutush, the Yakuts — Hapsagai, the Kyrgyz — Alysh, the Kazakhs and Karakalpaks — kures, the Uzbeks — Kurash.

In Russia, belt wrestling has been preserved mainly by Tatars and Bashkirs. But as the epochs changed, the sash, the belt disappeared from the struggle of the Tatars and Bashkirs. Then a white towel appeared and, hugging each other with towels, the wrestlers found out who was the strongest. Academician I. Lepekhin, who traveled through Russia in the XVIII century, noted in his observations that in competitions wrestlers "take each other not by the collar, but by the sashes and use ordinary wrestling tricks." Ivan Poddubny became the world champion in belt wrestling at the zenith of glory. The earliest known mention of belt wrestling among Russians is contained in the memoirs of the Orel landowner N. I. Tolubeyev. The first known images of belt wrestling date back to about the same time: it is precisely this that can be seen in the Russian Museum in a painting by the artist I. Shchedrovsky, painted in 1837. Vladimir Dahl, considering in his Dictionary of the Living Great Russian Language the traditional types of struggle that existed among Russians, noted that "Tatars and Bashkirs throw belts at each other's loins, not grabbing clothes and resting their left shoulders against each other, and it is not allowed to intercept with their hands and substitute socks."