Author Topic: Went to a Kushti gym yesterday  (Read 6375 times)

Offline a guest

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Went to a Kushti gym yesterday
« on: May 10, 2010, 09:14:27 PM »
A couple of weeks ago I was standing in line at a coffee stand and a guy saw that I was wearing the Tshirt that we made for our high school wrestlers.  The guy asked me if I was involved in wrestling.  I said Yes....

...well it turns out that this man works for the Library of Congress and he is writing a book about Kushti wrestling (Kushti is the indigenous style of wrestling in India).  We sat and talk about the sport for a bit and then he asked me if I would like to accompany him to a Ankara (sp?) a gym where kushti is practiced.

So, yesterday I got up a day break and headed off to a old part of Delhi (called ironically, Old Delhi) with two members of the LOC and my buddy that I coach with.  We arrived at the gym and was taken aback by what we saw.  This place was packed from little boys to grown men.  Everyone was either in the pit wrestling, doing "Hindi" pushups, or climbing thick ropes up the tree.  That was it!  Their conditioning consisted of jogging, wrestling, push-ups and rope climbing.  The place was very disciplined too; retired wrestlers walked back and forth around the gym with either a stick or a rubber hose to "remind" the boys to pay attention, not talk, and have proper form while sparring.  I must say that one of them got in my face because I was talking (one of the younger men approached me and asked me questions in very broken English about where I am from, what kind of wrestling do I do, what do I weight, etc...). Well, one of the coaches did not like that and showed me the hose he was carrying  (to be honest, I do think we were a distraction since the Asian Championships are this week and the coaches wanted them focused).

Even with such sparse equipment and quarters, it is no surprise that this gym has been home to a couple of olympians.  They were in great shape and disciplined.

As for the wrestling itself, it really didn't look that different than what we do in the US.  Many similarities in technique, but there is that dirt...

After the training session was over, it was time for us to go.  We left as their were preparing breakfast for the wrestlers.  Breakfast was a drink of butter and liquified almonds. Looking at it screamed calories.  I assume after a training session, they wrestlers are just thinking about one thing:  get calories in you asap.

After the session was over, I asked the man who brought me there about the sport here.  He told me that the dirt is very significant.  When they prepare it, they add spices and flowers to it...like some serimony.  It was very well cared for dirt!  As for the wrestlers, he stated many have joined the gyms from the villages because they are hoping that being a wrestler is good on the resume.  If you can handle a kushti gym, you know you can handle military training or join the police force here in India.

My family and I depart India in three weeks, but I am hoping to go back to the Kushti gym one more time before we leave.  Since living abroad, I have been very curious about "local" wrestling styles around the world.  I would love to see how I would do in the dirt.  However, not too many of the adult men there were weighing in at 138 pounds....






Oh, here is a clip I found on youtube regarding a kushti gym:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcXUwGE2je8

EDIT - That IS the gym we went to.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2010, 09:39:49 AM by a guest »

Offline nywrestler4life

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Re: Went to a Kushti gym yesterday
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2010, 09:24:49 PM »
Great story.  Maybe you can wrestle with a high school kid if you can't get a partner.

Offline a guest

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Re: Went to a Kushti gym yesterday
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2010, 09:34:06 PM »
Quote from: "nywrestler4life"
Great story.  Maybe you can wrestle with a high school kid if you can't get a partner.

I was only joking at the end....that was more of me being upset that I am awake so early this morning with my umpteenth bout with "Delhi Belly".  Living here for a little over two years has been quite a weight loss program.

However, from what I saw, it was very segregated from boys to men.  Neither practiced with each other.  Boys with boys, teenagers with teenagers, men with men.  If I were to get some mat time.....er...dirt time, I have a feeling they would put me with someone my age, not my size.

Offline nywrestler4life

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Re: Went to a Kushti gym yesterday
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2010, 09:36:46 PM »
How hard is the dirt compared to a mat?  It seems like it could hurt shooting and getting thrown on there.

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Re: Went to a Kushti gym yesterday
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2010, 10:11:29 PM »
Quote from: "nywrestler4life"
How hard is the dirt compared to a mat?  It seems like it could hurt shooting and getting thrown on there.


The dirt reminded me of sand at the beach and hour after high tide ends.  There were a few shots, but all were a bit slower.

The interesting thing about the dirt (I think) was the conversation that it started on our ride home.  The man writing the book was talking about the sacredness of the dirt and how it is almost ceremonial like when it is prepared.  Whereas I just thought "after wrestling for a few hours outside, they must sweat a lot, the dirt must help their grip from slipping when both men are really sweaty."  

My companion's thought about the dirt in a very poetic way and I thought of it in a very practical way.  However, I am sure both explanations are right.

Drooke

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Re: Went to a Kushti gym yesterday
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2010, 10:51:32 PM »
You have some of the most interesting and unique life experiences a guest.  Please keep us updated in this thread...please.  

I'm in the middle of a book about a fella that travels around the world following the 41st parallel fly-fishing (some of the countries are Spain, Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Krrgyzstan, China, and Japan)...his love of fishiing allows him to connect with people from varying social/political backgrounds and enables him to share experiences with other cultures even in war torn areas where language is only but one of the barriers.  

I would love to read a book with similar content....except with wrestling substituted for fishing....sorry for the tangent, your topic just made me think about that.

Offline AKIN

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Re: Went to a Kushti gym yesterday
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2010, 10:56:47 PM »
a guest, I always enjoy reading about the experiences you have. Thank you for giving us a peek at another culture and your journeys. Hope you have safe travels.
If you want respect, be respectful.

Offline a guest

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Re: Went to a Kushti gym yesterday
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2010, 05:40:59 AM »
Quote from: "AKIN"
a guest, I always enjoy reading about the experiences you have. Thank you for giving us a peek at another culture and your journeys. Hope you have safe travels.


Thanks.

In July we are moving to Ethiopia.  I have sent a couple of emails to FILA regarding any wrestling clubs in Addis Ababa that may need an assistant-to-the-assistant-to-the-assistant volunteer lightweight coach.  However, no reply from FILA, their African offices, or offices within the surrounding countries.  

I hope to play it by ear once we arrive.  I wonder if their is a local brand of wrestling (along the lines of what we found here in Kushti) in Western Africa that I can learn about.

Offline Viratas

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Re: Went to a Kushti gym yesterday
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2010, 07:42:00 AM »
Very cool
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Offline AKIN

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Re: Went to a Kushti gym yesterday
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2010, 10:33:06 AM »
Quote from: "a guest"
Quote from: "AKIN"
a guest, I always enjoy reading about the experiences you have. Thank you for giving us a peek at another culture and your journeys. Hope you have safe travels.


Thanks.

In July we are moving to Ethiopia.  I have sent a couple of emails to FILA regarding any wrestling clubs in Addis Ababa that may need an assistant-to-the-assistant-to-the-assistant volunteer lightweight coach.  However, no reply from FILA, their African offices, or offices within the surrounding countries.  

I hope to play it by ear once we arrive.  I wonder if their is a local brand of wrestling (along the lines of what we found here in Kushti) in Western Africa that I can learn about.

So what do you do that you travel so much? (if you don't mind me asking)
If you want respect, be respectful.

Offline a guest

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Re: Went to a Kushti gym yesterday
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2010, 10:53:18 AM »
Quote from: "AKIN"
Quote from: "a guest"
Quote from: "AKIN"
a guest, I always enjoy reading about the experiences you have. Thank you for giving us a peek at another culture and your journeys. Hope you have safe travels.


Thanks.

In July we are moving to Ethiopia.  I have sent a couple of emails to FILA regarding any wrestling clubs in Addis Ababa that may need an assistant-to-the-assistant-to-the-assistant volunteer lightweight coach.  However, no reply from FILA, their African offices, or offices within the surrounding countries.  

I hope to play it by ear once we arrive.  I wonder if their is a local brand of wrestling (along the lines of what we found here in Kushti) in Western Africa that I can learn about.

So what do you do that you travel so much? (if you don't mind me asking)

I'm a teacher/school administrator/part time personal trainer/stay at home dad/traveling spouse

Offline AKIN

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Re: Went to a Kushti gym yesterday
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2010, 11:04:14 AM »
Sounds like a very full life you have there.
If you want respect, be respectful.

Offline ViseGrip

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Re: Went to a Kushti gym yesterday
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2010, 11:09:51 AM »
Quote from: "a guest"
Quote from: "AKIN"
a guest, I always enjoy reading about the experiences you have. Thank you for giving us a peek at another culture and your journeys. Hope you have safe travels.


Thanks.

In July we are moving to Ethiopia.  I have sent a couple of emails to FILA regarding any wrestling clubs in Addis Ababa that may need an assistant-to-the-assistant-to-the-assistant volunteer lightweight coach.  However, no reply from FILA, their African offices, or offices within the surrounding countries.  

I hope to play it by ear once we arrive.  I wonder if their is a local brand of wrestling (along the lines of what we found here in Kushti) in Western Africa that I can learn about.

There was a Sports Illustrated article once about Bobby Douglas and tribal wrestling in Africa. He might be a source.
"The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all that want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics" -Thomas Sowell

Offline a guest

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Re: Went to a Kushti gym yesterday
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2010, 11:13:19 AM »
Quote from: "ViseGrip"
Quote from: "a guest"
Quote from: "AKIN"
a guest, I always enjoy reading about the experiences you have. Thank you for giving us a peek at another culture and your journeys. Hope you have safe travels.


Thanks.

In July we are moving to Ethiopia.  I have sent a couple of emails to FILA regarding any wrestling clubs in Addis Ababa that may need an assistant-to-the-assistant-to-the-assistant volunteer lightweight coach.  However, no reply from FILA, their African offices, or offices within the surrounding countries.  

I hope to play it by ear once we arrive.  I wonder if their is a local brand of wrestling (along the lines of what we found here in Kushti) in Western Africa that I can learn about.

There was a Sports Illustrated article once about Bobby Douglas and tribal wrestling in Africa. He might be a source.

Can you by chance send me his email address via the message center here on the TOM forum?

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Re: Went to a Kushti gym yesterday
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2011, 07:53:12 AM »
Whoa, it's almost been a year since I wrote this post.

I mentioned in the MMA discussions portion of TOM  that I have found zero wrestling opportunities here in Ethiopia, so I have actually been taking some kickboxing lessons here with a guy from Kenya (the footwork is sooo different between the two sports it is making both of us very frustrated).  This week he called me and stated that the boxing team he trains here in Addis Ababa is interested in learning some wrestling this weekend.  My coach thought for a moment and suggested that Sunday's training session with me may be the closest to wrestling they have in this country.  I am psyched.