Contest of wrestlers is one of the ancient Uzbek traditions. There are two kinds of Uzbek wrestling: Kurash in Uzbekistan ancient and free-style wrestling. The history of this tradition is as long as the history of the nation. Wrestling appeared, developed and improved from time immemorial. At present national wrestling (kurash) is one of the most popular forms of sport. In fact it takes an important part in our national life.
In ancient times strong athletes decided the result of the fight for a nation and consequently of the whole country. Athletics usually gained public admiration. To be a skilled horseman, to shoot from a bow to the point, to use a sword smartly, to have courage and bravery were considered to be the main qualities of the wrestler.
In the history of Turk nations there were cases when not only men went into wrestling but also did women. When a girl attained her majority and wanted to build a family then she had to win five or six rivals of her age in a fair struggle. It is known that such ceremonies also took place during national hostilities and the girl was required to defeat five-six opponent soldiers. Only after the fulfillment of these conditions could the girl marry her beloved. She got the right to marry him if she was worthy rival. Such behavior peculiarities were conditioned by severe struggle of our ancestors to survive, when it was the main factor to have a healthy generation. Exactly in such a family physically strong and high-minded children were born. They strongly stood on the defence of their homeland and lead the freedom fight against conquerors. Today those national heroes such as Alpamish and Gor-ogly, Avazkhan and Ravshankhan, Barchinoy and Kaldyrgash, Kenja-batyr and Ay-pari are the national symbols of the young generation.
There are two traditional types of wrestling in Uzbekistan. They are national kurash (alsKurash in Uzbekistano called Bukhara wrestling) and belboghli kurash (Fergana wrestling). These two forms of wrestling differ from each other. The differences are related with the wrestling rules and clothing as well as the way of life and traditions of the people living in different territories.
In a belboghli kurash wrestlers wear a chapan (national overcoat), belt themselves and struggle keeping each other from the belt. This style of wrestling is sufficiently old. The wrestlers have to show their skills and strength to pull off the feet of their rival and bring them down to the ground. It is prohibited to use backheel, to throw over the shoulder or the head in this style of wrestling. Besides, the wrestlers should not lose the hold of the rival’s belt during the whole fight.
In a national kurash, which is more popular, the wrestlers wear chapan with short skirts, tighten their belts and start the fight. This style is similar to the free-style wrestling. It is allowed to use backheel or other techniques of sport wrestling, to throw over the shoulder. In this style of wrestling the winner is the wrestler who is able to put the rival on his shoulders and to keep him in this position for a few seconds.
Contest of wrestlers is usually held during national holidays and weddings. According to the rules young children, then teenagers entered the field to open the contest. Afterwards young guys enter the lap. Only after this do real wrestlers and famous athletes start the wrestling.
It used to be vise-versa; white-bearded old wrestlers opened the contest and younger generations come in turn. This magnificent tradition has always had huge educational sense. At present Uzbek national kurash is recognized as the international kind of sport and is developing across the world.