January 8, 2012

Wrestling / Grappling: A Cultural Treasure, A Modern Necessity

Regular followers to my blog know that "Wrestling Roots" is a relatively new blog added to my blog-roll on the bar to your left.  Just recently I have read two gems linked on both the main website and via Wrestling Roots Facebook page as well.

The first is a piece on Mark L.'s experience with wrestling Tigel in Ethiopia.  Tigel is an ancient form of grappling remarkably similar to Greco-Roman wrestling.  Mark's account of learning the rules, and other interesting quirks about Ethiopian culture make for a great read:

Click here to read the entire article!

"In the West, when you greet someone, you shake hands.  In the Far East, the custom is to give a bow when greeting.  Living at the in-between point of the East and the West, Ethiopia, the greeting is sort of a hybrid of the two:  You reach to shake hands, but both people then lean forward to touch their shoulders together. A handshake is not complete until the shoulders sort of embrace each other.  I have wondered where that tradition had started. This past weekend I found out."

The second article, actually... paper, is lengthy but VERY, VERY well written and researched.  Again thanks to Wrestling Roots for this excellent paper written just a couple of months ago by the Coreeda Association of Australia, who have an amazing site as well!  Lots of interesting grappling and wrestling articles that I need to catch up on.   Though this paper is primarily focused on the history of wrestling in central asia,  check out this excerpt from page 17 which summarizes my thoughts and feelings of our society to a "T":

"... the ancients obviously knew that by encoding morality into a sport that is hyper masculine by its very nature, it would attract young men and a process of indoctrination could then take place.  Through training, initiations and simply by association with experienced elders, they would learn about the correct behaviour expected of mature adult men and then certainly entails the protection of the most vulnerable in society.  These heroic obligations are denied to males in the modern Western world who are facing an emasculation process like never before in history, as the state aggressively takes these responsibilities from them.  Contemporary writers refer to this as a crisis in masculinity especially in this era of mass divorce, which is seeing a whole generation of youth raised in single parent families, all too often with little or no positive contact with their own fathers, never mind other male role models.  Mass media then provides the de facto definition of manhood that boys aspire towards and due to teen angst this inevitably comes from [the mass media].  In their most impressionable years boys are given no guidance on how to proceed into adulthood and instead are propagandized by unrealistic fantasies that are impossible to attain without negative social consequences, ultimately leading to esteem destruction and nihilistic pessimism."

This should be motivation to get your kids, your friends, and yourself on the mat and train!  So regardless of what you call it: BJJ / Sambo / Greco Roman / Folk / Kuresh / Kushti / Sumo / Glima.... lets roll!




  1. I just wanted to thank you for helping to promote the Coreeda Association of Australia. We receive no funding to do what we do & are totally reliant on volunteers to help us promote the Culture of Wrestling. Because of this we greatly appreciate any assistance that is offered & just by linking with us through your blogs, you honour us.

  2. The least I can do mi amigo! Let me know how I can help promote more for you.