Interesting Chukhe Wrestling from the Heart of Khorasan

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Tehran (ISNA) - Chukhe wrestling is generally considered as traditional Iranian sport originated in the northeast of Iran, Khorasan, with a history spanning many centuries.

Many ancient traditions have been preserved in Chukhe wrestling, and it is not only known as a sport but also as a cultural ethic.

Where does the origin of the name come from? Chukhe means a kind of traditional clothing, which has been worn by Kurd people in the north of Khorasan. It was like a thick and heavy coat with long sleeves made of ewe or goat wool, which was sewn by women in the past. Wrestlers wore Chukhe with a white shawl fasten tightly around their waist in order to make their body as stable as possible.

The essential clothing for Chukhe Wrestling:

·        Chukhe: it has been transferred to a light cotton sleeveless mantle.

·        Belt: a white shawl which is belted at the waist.

·        Shorts: they are like normal shorts with a slight difference in length by rolling the legs up.

This sport traditionally was done in ceremonies such as wedding parties or Nowruz holidays (Persian New Year begins on March 21) for 13 days, when tribes gathered together and celebrated. Each region or tribe has their own champion or champions to attend the contest, and today, each city has its own Chukhe wrestling team.

Chukhe wrestling was recorded as an immaterial heritage in Iran’s national intangible works’ list in 2008, but the sport was recorded worldly as Uzbek wrestling, Kurash, by the anticipatory of Uzbekistan.

Nevertheless, a team of Chukhe wrestlers from the north and Razavi Khorasan represent Iran at the International Kurash Championship. Every year, the most important national championship is held on 14th of Farvardin (April 3), the next day after the Nature Day, which is an official holiday in Iran, at Cheshme Zeynal Khan Pitch in Sfarayen, the home of the Chukhe wrestling in the north of Khorasan, and attract over 70 thousands spectators.

It is such an important event that everywhere, from schools to stores, goes off at this date in the city. The form of wrestling combat changed gradually. There were no weight restrictions or time limitations in the past, and the wrestlers who first force his opponent into touching the ground with his shoulders for three times won the bout.

Today, a contest last for 10 minutes, and it goes for extra 5 minutes in case of leading to draw, but after that, a bout can also end in a draw. Wrestlers are participated in 4 weight classes, 70, 80, 90, and plus 95 Kg weights.

Chukhe wrestling bouts take place in a special outdoor pitch covered in grass or soil with 10 meter radius while traditional instruments are playing, and the tempo increases as the contest goes forward. The most famous pitches are Rahvard Pitch in Quchan in Razavi Khorasan, and Cheshme Zeynal Khan Pitch in Sfarayen.

Before the beginning of a bout, both wrestlers enter the pitch with bare feet after touching the surface of the ground by their hands and then touch their lips and foreheads with the same hand that is a symbolic gesture of respecting and trusting God. Shaking hands before the tournaments is also one of the beauties of the sport.

Techniques:

Legs play an important role in Chukhe wrestling, and there are some superior techniques using legs that each wrestler tries to be good at them such as Kurdish Leg technique that can force the opponent to lose balance and touch the ground easily. Another beauty of the sport is not using any illegal techniques or continues competing while the opponent is not ready or distracted, called Gentlemanly Technique. 

Like Judo, the wrestlers are just allowed to do techniques by touching their opponents’ clothes not their body. That’s why Iran has an excellent reputation for both the Asian and International championships in Judo.

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