After the independence of Uzbekistan, our national heritage, for instance types of national sport and folk games have been restored. They have been inherited from generation to generation through centuries and could reach up to nowadays. Kurash being one of the national sports games with a long history has been developed for many centuries, granted people with joy and entertainment and presented proficiency and steadfastness of courageous wrestlers. Kurash was considered as one of the means of upbringing strong, skillful, tolerant and volitional person. In ancient times, the wrestling competitions were held during the celebration of different national holidays and considered as the most interesting and entertaining games of Uzbek people.
Nowadays, kurash is considered as an important part of all wedding ceremonies and holidays in our country. Going in for kurash has been allowed the youth who are above 12 under the control of doctor’s observation. It has a long ancient history as a national game reflecting ancient Central Asian settled and half settled cattle farming people’s common-cultural life style, household and other ethnic peculiarities. The famous Uzbek academician A.Askarov wrote that the roots of Uzbek national kurash goes back to 3.5 thousand years according to the archaeological materials found in ancient Bactrian territories (which included Southern Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Northern Afghanistan). In particular, the picture in which one of two wrestlers striving another’s leg was drawn on a ceramic dish in cylindrical shape belonging to brass age [2. c. 15].
Kurash competitions were held among village teams or different ethnic groups of makhalas(a council of neighboring people in a village, usually there were several mahallas in a village) and specialized groups in separate or all together, even in villages where Uzbek and Tajik people live together it was played in opposite too.
Also general elements, the spectators motion and the rules of ceremony were similar in different regions, there were variations in the way of wrestling during the game. In Sintob, Big Ej, Okhun, Modjirum villages, the wrestlers struggled with each other by using such techniques as leg striving, twisting, knocking down over the shoulder, throwing over the head. According to these elements we can say that kurash played in those villages were similar to nowadays Bukhara kurash(wrestling way) [3. c. 60]. Having heard about the wrestling competitions, «polvon»s famous wrestlers from neighboring villages, districts and even from distant emirates and regions came to wrest in competitions. The competitions were held on round shaped mat, pile of straw or cut straw, sand or turf surrounded by spectators. According to the rule of competitions, at first the referee in the center of the arena calls for the children from neighborhood, then teenagers or in other cases old wrestlers started the competitions. After that, the professional wrestlers came to the arena to wrest .
First of all, kurash acquired training significance. In ancient times, as in present wrestling competitions, the wrestlers had special clothes (uniforms) to wear in competitions. They usually wore light vest or light summer robe without collar, waistband, with white, red, yellow or blue strap on their head, barefooted and wrest with each other. Even the colors of wrestlers’ clothes were the same but the waistbands were different and made convenience to hold the rival. According to the special rules of kurash, each wrestler was to have a differentiating mark. The strap on wrestler’s head with special color, white plain silk or cotton-fabric vest helped observers of the game differentiate them from each other .
The colors were chosen expressing the world outlook and their imaginations on the world, and the wrestlers in the arena with white and blue vest were considered as the sign of pureness and bravery. Some ethnic groups’ teams have their special differentiating color emblems, usually regional Uzbek Turkmen who were called black Turkmen had symbolic mark «black»(here black is the symbol of greatness, as we know from history the famous tribes and dynasties such as «karakhan» means black- khan, «koratoun» means black robe, «korakoyunli» means black hearted and etc.). And Konjigali Turkmen tribes consider the red color as the symbol of mythological belief. We think that the head strap and wrestlers vest were considered as the differentiating mark of wrestlers. Wrestling competitions were run by the aksakals(chiefs) of wedding or referees were called «diybosh or sarkor». The fight between wrestlers continued until there is no rival in the arena for the wrestler, and the winners were awarded expensive prizes such as a horse and a camel.
In some villages around the mountain Norota, there was a wedding ceremony in which only women from neighborhood participated and it was called «Women’s kurash». According to some facts of ethnography, in order to make fun for the bride sitting very shyly and calmly, the women wrest with each other. The women wrestlers were mainly middle or old aged and each one wrest in the square by her own will and spectators applauded the winner by clapping . The head of the ceremony (kayvoni) shared coins or shawls to the winner wrestlers. It was accustomed not to allow the groom, small children and men into the place of ceremony until it finishes. In literary sources we can come across with facts that proof not only men in Turkic people but also women had wrestling also.
When a young man makes propose to a girl, she usually put conditions or tasks to him and wrestling was one of the main tasks. He had to win five or six of co-evils in open competition in front of public by knocking down honestly [4. c. 51].
In epic poem Alpomish, which was created thousand years ago it was written that kurash was the most favorite and popular public sport game in ancient regions of Uzbekistan. In particular, «Alpomish» is a heroic epic poem, which the competition of wrestlers, their power, steadfastness, techniques of wrestling were depicted in its literary extracts reliably. For instance, Barchinoy’s speech(Uzbek tribe chief’ daughter)about the task which says she would get married to the wrestler who would win the ninety wrestlers, was expressed in the poem the following way:
May I be whipped by the winner shaking shoulders!
Having wrestled, knocking down ninety wrestlers,
I’ll get married to the wrestler with humped arm,
Tell my words to the sultan wanting me,
Let he come, flogging his horse to the field,
If they quest, send this also to foe Kalmok,
All may come to the wrestling field,
May they not stay with dissatisfied wish! [1. c. 121].
Or the wrestling between Alpomish and his rival Kukaldosh was described in the following lines:
Courageous doesn’t fight but knock with a tug,
Shows himself wrestling in a field,
It’s clear, the weak loses in contest,
See, how he threw Kukaldosh into the air,
He flew rather high in the sky [1. c. 164].
Wrestling ceremonies on holidays, weddings show that they served for following purposes such as physical training, upbringing, public character and social awareness. The public character of it is in that, these games and ceremonies shaped the spiritual moral features and served to unite all social layers of society by characterizing social relations among people and their life-style.
Wrestling served to shape and save neighbor relations in society, traditions of cooperation skills and life style of shepherding and rural people in the area.
Secondly, upbringing significance of kurash is in that, even it was popular among grown-ups as a piece of peoples common life, it trained individual and community sense of young generation from childhood. It presented two individual characters of a wrestler, first moral features and physical tolerance features in public.
Thirdly, military-physical significance of kurash was mainly observed in national games as it developed steadfastness, bravery, courageous features and military skills of youth.
Fourthly, aesthetic –entertaining significance, among team members no matter the type of the games anybody could participate in it, not only the members of the team, but also the spectators were required to obey the rules of aesthetics, communication among people such as being polite, not to insult or scold while watching the competition, helped to develop cultural awareness of people in society.
1. «Alpomish». Legendary heroic-epic poem. Tashkent.1998.
2. Askarov A. Depiction of Uzbek national kurash in archeological materials. Turon tarikhi. Volume 2. 2002.
3. Ismailov H. Uzbek national games.-1992.
4. Makhmud Sattor. Uzbek rituals. Tashkent.1993.
5. Nabiyev Abdunazir. Field stories.Chapter «57 year old Big Ej village»