October 19, 2011

Wrestling... The Worlds Oldest Sport

Egyptian Manuscript
My teachers have said it.  My teachers, teachers have mentioned it.  The documentation is damn near unanimous, and this latest article by Gary Mihoces at USA Today pretty much ends what little debate their ever was... since their has been man, he has grappled (Click here for the entire article!)

On display at Columbia University is a piece of papyrus parchment dated between 100 - 200 AD, and it is essentially an instruction manual written in Greek on wrestling.  Any of this sound familiar:



  • "You underhook with your right arm. You wrap your arm around his, where he has taken the underhook, and attack the side with your left foot. You push away with your left hand. You force the hold and fight it out."
  • "Stand to the side of your opponent and with your right arm take a headlock and fight it out."
Fascinating find in my humble opinion.  Wrestling is natural.  I see it in everyone man, woman, and child I teach... they naturally gravitate to grappling.  Striking has to be taught and encouraged, tying up with someone is very natural and almost everyone enjoys doing it to some extent!  

An excellent example of leverage, but
NOT a legal move in modern grappling!!
From a combative sense grappling is essential.  Ancient warriors faced enemies with swords, knives, axes, etc. so attaining the overhook, underhook, or two-on-one (the three essential control positions in standing clinch when dealing with weapons) was key in surviving the battle.  So naturally when humans became more "civilized" their sports reflected their combatives, after all you needed a safe way to train what you would use on the battlefield.  

Great addition to the historical record of grappling as a sport and essential facet of self defense throughout the ages!

Enjoy,


Jake 

3 comments:

  1. "Ancient warriors faced enemies with swords, knives, axes, etc. so attaining the overhook, underhook, or two-on-one (the three essential control positions in standing clinch when dealing with weapons) was key in surviving the battle. "

    Could you maybe create some examples just for the hell of it? :D

    How do you think these ancient warriors would have used their wrestling on the battlefield?

    Over hook the sword arm and go into a fireman's carry?

    Two on one a guy's knife wielding arm, go for a left leg front trip?

    The double leg seems like a pretty instinctive attack.

    Where do you think Belt wrestling fits in to all this? (as practiced by the koreans and the nordic peoples, etc.) Belt wrestling is also very, very old.

    Good article!

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