Mongolia Wrestling

Mongolia wrestling is one the three "manly" sports but actually there are four types of sports and these are not truly manly except the wrestling. They are wrestling, horse racing, archery and "shagai", here sheep ankle bones serve as target.

Naadam and Mongolian Traditional Lunar New Year are two main Holidays in Mongolia. During these days all of Mongolia watch or listen the events that are taking place in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar through Mongolia's National Television and Radio.

It is believed that Naadam celebrations started with the rise of Great Mongolian Empire as Genghis Khan's strategy to keep his warriors strictly fit. After the fall of Empire, the contests were held during religious festivals and since the communist revolution it was celebrated on its' anniversary.

The legend says that in old times a woman dressed like man won wrestling competition once. That is why open chest and long sleeve wrestling costumes, called "zodog", meant to show that every participant is male. Wrestlers wear short trunks, "shuudag", and mongolian boots, "gutal". The yellow stripes on tales of wrestlers' hats will indicate the number of times the wrestler became a champion in Naadam.

Only Naadam gives official titles to the wrestlers. Mongolia wrestling tournaments have 9 or 10 rounds depending on the number of 512 or 1024 wrestlers registered for the competition that year. If the wrestler wins 5 rounds, he will be awarded title "Nachin" (bird), 6 rounds - Hartsaga (hawk), 7 rounds - Zaan (elephant), 8 rounds - Garuda, 9 rounds - Arslan (lion) and 10 - Avarga (Titan).

In 2006, Zaan (Elephant) Sumyabazar won 9 rounds that made him Garuda but that year 1024 wrestlers had 10 rounds which he won all. This entitled him to Avarga. Or Arslan (Lion) must win 2 in a row to become Avarga (Titan). The titles are for life. If Avarga (Titan) keeps winning at Naadam more and more attributes will be added to his title.

mongolian wrestlers
mongolian wrestling palace

There is no weight categories in Mongolia Wrestling tournaments but there is a time limit of 30 minutes, if the wrestlers can not overthrow each other, referees use lots for better position which often settles the match. One who falls or his body touches the ground loses the match.

Mongolia Wrestling matches are attended by seconds whose role is to assist their wrestlers in all matters and to encourage them to win by spanking on their butts.

They also sing praise songs and titles to the leading wrestlers of both wings, west and east, after 5 and 7 rounds. The referees monitor the rules but the people and the fans are the final judges. They will speak and spread the word of mouth about who is who till the next year.

Mongolian wrestlers do great job in other forms of wrestling like judo. They are doing exceptionally good in sumo, literally, dominating their Japanese national sport. Mongolians are good in boxing.

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