An ancient form of martial arts

24 November 2023

Kurash wrestling is a form of ancient and traditional martial arts of the Turkic peoples. This wrestling was considered as the decoration of national holidays and festive events of many peoples. According to historical sources, it originated in Central Asia about 3.5 thousand years ago. In the Alpamysh epic, kurash wrestling is described as one of the most popular and favourite martial arts. The ancient Greek philosopher Herodotus mentioned kurash wrestling in his work ‘History’ and emphasized its importance in the traditions of ancient nomadic peoples.

UNESCO has included kurash wrestling on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2016, recognizing that it promotes kindness and compassion and has a great impact on the wellbeing of society. The discipline, philosophy, techniques and traditions of kurash wrestling have been passed down from generation to generation over centuries. No one thought of combining them into a unified system, because every family member knew all the traditions of this wrestling. Moreover, kurash wrestling did not spread outside Central Asia. Only in 1980, Komil Yusupov, a master of kurash wrestling, judo and sambo, started conducting research. After 10 years, the rules of this wrestling were established. Based on historical traditions, these rules determine weight classes, actions and holds, duration of a round, and clothes of wrestlers and judges. Thus, the restoration of the ancient folk game was conducted at high level.