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Kushti Game – History, Techniques, Rules and How to Play

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Kushti Game – History, Techniques,

Kushti or Pehlwani is a sport that radiates the fragrance of the Indian soil, and a kind of mud wrestling that dates back to the time when Mughal rulers influenced over India. Kushti is more than a mere game, it is an orthodox type of Indian wrestling which offers its followers a reflective journey, a sacred space, and an unmatched weather of social harmony. The terms Pehlwani and Kushti are derived from the Persian expressions pahalvani and kushti separately.  The Indian martial Art has its parenthood from Malla-yuddha form of wrestling of India and Varzesh-e-Pahalvani of Persia. Kushti also has its origin in the great epic of Mahabharata.

Kushti Game

During the 16th century, when the Indian soil was conquered and started to be ruled by the Mughals, who were of Turco-Mongol origin. Alongside the influences of Iranian and Mongolian wrestling, united with the foundation to the local martial arts Malla-yuddha, was born the current game of kushti. The first Mughal emperor Babur was a wrestler himself and could apparently run quickly for a long way while holding a man in his arm. Some of the Mughal-time wrestlers even played wearing Bagh Naka on one hand, in a kind of kushti called Naki Ka Kushti, derived from the naka worn by the players.

Kushti Game History

Kushti Game History

Ramadasa, who is also called the father of Indian athletics, during the late 17th century travelled to every part of the nation commending Hindus in to a physical movement, as a tribute to the colossal Lord Hanuman. Maratha rulers boosted kushti by offering massive amounts as prize cash to such competition winners. It is widely said that every Maratha kid during those days could wrestle and even the ladies participated in the game with full enthusiasm. Even during the colonial rule, nearby princes and kings maintained the importance of kushti by conducting matches and rivalries. Wrestling was the most loved spectator game of the Rajputanas, participants played the game with great valour. The best kushti matches were said to have taken place in Uttar Pradesh and the Punjab areas of India.

India had celebrated wrestlers of class like Great Gama and Gobar Goho. India achieved its peak of grandeur during the 4th Asian Games, which was held in 1962 at Jakarta, when all her seven wrestlers were added to the decoration list and in the midst of this, these players won twelve awards in free-form wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling. A repetition of this performance was seen once more when all these wrestlers were sent to the Commonwealth Games that was held in Jamaica, and they achieved several awards for the nation. During the mid-60s, India was ranked amongst the top eight or nine wrestling countries of the world and also had a chance to conduct the world wrestling titles in New Delhi in 1967.

Kushti Game Rules 

Kushti Game Rules 

It has been claimed that a major part of the moves that are found in the wrestling types of different nations, is accessible in kushti. These include basic bolts, tosses, pins, and capture holds. Being nothing like its old-fashioned predecessor Malla-yuddha, kushti does not permit strikes or kicks in the middle of a match. Among the most maintained moves are the dhobi paat (or bear toss) and the kasauta (or choke stick). Various other moves include the baharli, dhak, machli gota and the multani, which are commonly found during the matches.

The rule for winning is quite easy, the shoulders of your opponent should be jammed to the ground. Wrestling matches, also called as dangal, are held in towns and in which abilities are variable and adaptable. The fields are either round or square shaped, approximately no less than fourteen feet over. Instead of using the current day trends of mats, South Asian wrestlers organise and compete on soil floors. Before organising, the floor is cleared up of any rocks or stones. Buttermilk, oil, and red ochre are spread to the ground, giving the soil its red appearance. Regardless of the embossed limits of the field, competitors may go outside the ring during a match with no punishments.

There are no rounds or sets but the length of each session is determined before-hand, at most for about 30 minutes. On the off chance that the two contenders correspond, the length of the match could be extended. Match increases are usually extended to about 10 to 15 minutes. Unlike in tangle based wrestling, there is no point-scoring agenda, a win is established by sticking the opponent’s shoulders and hips to the ground all the while, though triumph by knockout, stoppage or accommodation is also credible. Sessions are controlled by a referee like official inside the ring and a board of two judges overseeing all moves considered. A dangal begins after a huge and glamorous puja offered to Lord Hanuman.

Kushti Game Training 

Kushti Game Training 

More than being a game played by opponents, kushti is also a way of life that requires thorough training, just like every other martial art. Despite the fact that wrestling in South Asia saw numerous changes from the Mughal era and the provincial time-frame, the preparation and basic training routine have continued as it was for more than 150 years.

For broad strides that range from 6 months to a year, wrestlers prepare and commit their bodies and spirits to the training of kushti. Living at the akhara (the field of play), preparation starts with succeeding over restraints and planning out how to tackle the opponent. The wrestlers are bound to a great extent by bidding routines, wherein they will prepare for even 365 days a year, during in the unbearable summers when temperatures achieve 40°. 

Kushti is practiced inside an exclusively manufactured Akhara where the wrestlers assemble every day. Wearing only a balanced loincloth called langot, the wrestlers or pehelwan enter a pit made of mud where they compete. The mud is regularly merged with salt, lemon and ghee, camphor, and turmeric. This mud that speaks to Mother Earth is re-established every two years. Before every match, each pehelwan covers the body of his opponent in this mud, whose shading differs by area. At the time of contest, the mud-covered bodies of the pehelwan camouflage with the shade of the respective field.

Vyayam or physical exercise is intended to assemble quality and produce muscle mass and adaptability. Activities that utilize the wrestler’s own particular bodyweight include the Surya Namaskara, shirshasana, and the danda, hatha yoga, and the bethak. Sawari is an act of using someone else’s body-weight to enhance resistance to such activities and helps make one tougher.

Equipment That are Used in Training:

  • Nal – a hollow stone cylinder with a handle inside.
  • Gar-Nal – a neck weight used during danda and bethak.
  • Gada or Mace – an armament of Lord Hanuman.
  • Indian clubs – introduced by the Mughals initially.

Training Routines of the Mighty Pehelwan:

They are supposed to wake up at 3 a.m. and do danda and bethak around 4000 times, run for 5 kms, swimming and other strength activities. Around 8 a.m., they begin wrestling training under their teachers, called Ustads, for around 3 hrs. and have at least 25 rounds of practice matches in a row. They take rest with an oil massage after this session. Around 4 in the evening, they begin practice again preceded by an oil massage. They go to bed by 8 p.m.  

Kushti Pehlwan Diet

Pehlwan Diet

The dynamic training and lifestyle of pehelwans require a high-intensity diet. Ghee, Milk, and almonds are the staple food of wrestlers. A typical munch for pehelwans is chickpeas that are grown medium-term in water and prepared with salt, pepper, and lemon; the water in which the chickpeas were grown is also viewed as nutritious. Their diet also contains a lot of fruits and veggies, banana being an essential part. Meat is also consumed by some pehelwans.

Preferably, wrestlers presumed it better to avoid consuming acrid and too much-spiced substances, for instance, chutney and achaar alongside chaats. Gentle flavouring with garlic, cumin, coriander, and turmeric is also suitable. The usage of liquor, tobacco, and paan is firmly prohibited.

Competitions and Tournaments 

Akhara dangal or the truest version of kushti does not have any official competitions nor is it an Olympic sport, although it is widely practiced in parts of India traditionally. Pehelwans, who contest in wrestling during modern days, are moreover introduced and broadly educated regarding the catching parts of judo and jujutsu.

The Wrestling Federation of India is a governing body of wrestling in India, which in contemporary times, has shown a lot of success in Olympics and other international events. India takes part as a wrestling team in Asian games, commonwealth games, wrestling world cup etc.

Previous Olympics Achievements are:-

  • Bronze medal by Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav in 1952,
  • Bronze medal by Sushil Kumar in 2008,
  • Silver medal by Sushil Kumar in 2012,
  • Bronze medal by Yogeshwar Dutt in 2012,
  • Bronze medal by Sakshi Malik in 2016.

Titles Traditionally Given are:-

  • Rustam-e-Hind which was won by Dara Singh the champion of India
  • Maharashtra Kesari
  • Rustam-e-Panjaab
  • Rustam-e-Zamana which was won by Great Gama the world champion.
  • Bharat-Kesari
  • Hind Kesari

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