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Mongolian-style Wrestling

2008-11-05 16:33:00 COC Website


Also called "bok". In 1209, a sports meet was held on Oldos Grassland in what is now Inner Mongolia in celebration of the coronation of Genghis Khan. In July 1990, or 784 years later, another contest was staged in the same sport of wrestling, among the same number of 1,024 competitors, with the bouts preceded by the same formalities and accompanied with the same folk music. But the keynote of the recent contest was different: not in honour of an emperor, but as part of the Seventh Nadamu of xilin Gol Meng, one of Inner Mongolia Automomous Region's prefectures, with the purpose of promoting sports for all. Although the season that the contest takes place is at its best, dotted here and there with flocks of sheep and cattle grazing leisurely under an azure sky now and then broken by a few floating fleecy clouds, it is hard to imagine the severities of winter when the pastureland will be ice-bound for almost half a year, with a temperature that drops to 40 degrees under zero during the coldest spell, when the nomads'yurts may be buried in snow in a violent storm. Perhaps it is exactly this kind of harsh climate that has tempered the Mongolians into a hardy people and has given birth to the sport of "bok", which in the Mongolian language means"fortitude". Indeed ,wrestling has been established as a centuries-old tradition among the Mongolians.

It is said to have been used by Genghis Khan as a most important contest in recruiting his soldiers and promoting his officers. Today bok is so popular among the Mongolians that competitions are held on all festive occasions---when they receive an honoured guest, celebrate a bumper harvest, pray for rainfalls and pay tributes to their ancestors, and even when they send their children to college. There are many families in which both father and sons are wrestling champions. As distinguished from other forms of wrestling---both the Western free and Greco-Roman styles and those popular among the Han, Hui, Yi, Uighur and Tibetan nationalities in China, a bok contest starts amidst a Mongolian song sung in chorus as the competition site in imitation of flying eagles. They are allowed to catch each other's jacket and waist band, but not the legs or trousers. One loses a bout when his hand or any part above the knees touches the ground. The wrestlers are not divided into weight categories. There is only competition for individuals and only one bout is fought with no time limit.

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