Tag: 摔跤

A Bit of History on Chinese Wrestling

Two people prepared to wrestle. Ink sketch found in Mogao Caves No.17. Dunhuang.

Chinese wrestling depicted in an ink-sketch (~9th c.) found in the Mogao Caves No.17, stored in the British Museum (as told by some Chinese articles).

Chinese wrestling has many names. Modern nomenclature follows Ming and Qing convention and uses the term Shuāi Jiāo (摔跤 lit. throws and trips). It was also called Jué Dǐ (角抵 lit. antlers butting ). Xiāng Pū (相撲 lit. pounce against each other) was the more popular name in the older days. Here you guessed it, they are the same characters used for sumo (相撲).

Xiāng Pū back in Tang and Song’s (~7th-13th c.) time was a very popular sport and form of entertainment. They used to host the wrestling games at temples during major festivals, with the matches dedicated to some deities, and the wrestlers would go and compete from all over the country. The novel Water Margins describes a wrestling match dedicated to the deified Mt. Tai.

Winners of the matches would gain lavish match prizes sponsored by businesses and artisans, country-wide recognition, and massive following. The sport was so popular and well-developed that, like football back in that time, wrestlers were organised into clubs governed by wrestlers societies. To make the sport even more enticing, there was also a women “division”, for the lack of a better term, and they were competing half-naked. Women wrestling was so hot that the Emperor was caught watching it and subsequently scolded by one of his minsters (the Emperor could been participated in the organisation of it even, but the details are not very clear).

Many of the traditions are still followed by Sumo in Japan today. Sadly, the tradition of women wrestling is discontinued.

Wrestling 摔跤 (shuāi jiāo)

Literally it means throws and trips in Chinese. When people think of wrestling, they either thinking of Greco-Roman wrestling or WWE, which is a form of sport entertainment, and Judo is usually left out for the discussion and treated as its own separate thing. While there are many similarities in all forms of wrestling, as they…