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  #1  
Old 26-Oct-12, 16:08
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Default Mixed wrestling in ancient times

I was not sure whether to put this thread under discussion or Art section. I am posting it under discussion section cause I would like to hear from other members from other countries if anything like this has happened anywhere else also.

I saw a thread on Italian mixed wrestling art depicting the victory of Florence. The sculpture was a piece brilliant imagination by the artist. But then I remembered that something like this actually had happened in India in 1444 AD. The incident was so famous at that time that it was immortalised in sculpture.

Tradition of female wrestling in India has been documented from ancient times. Not only local texts but foreign travelers accounts also have corroborated this. The first recounting is from Mauryan Empire (322-185 BC), after the defeat of Selucas the general of Alexander the great by the Maurya's peace was established and ambassadors were exchanged. One such ambassador Megasthenes has corroborated of female wrestlers along with local references.


The story I referred to is of Harika or Hariyaka. She was a renowned female wrestler and came from a illustrious family of wrestler and her father and grandfather were both champions in the empire. Now one day another champion wrestler came and challenged her father. In the ensuing contest Madigauda the father of Hariyaka was defeated and killed. Now the challenge was extended to other wrestlers of Shikaripura town (Presently under Shimoga district, Karnataka, India). As no one was capable enough to face this wrestler Hariyaka being a champion on her own right decided to take on the challenge to salvage the her family and towns honour. So in 1444 AD a wrestling match took place between a male and female wrestlers. Hariyaka not only defeated her male opponent but also killed him to avenge her father. There is a statue and inscription till date commemorating the event.

Here is a link to an article by a renowned historian on this topic.

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There are reports both in local texts, temple architecture of female wrestlers and European travelers corroborating presence of female wrestlers during sports festivals in the empire. Vijaynagar fell to muslim armies in 1646 and there are no other record of any mixed contests till recent times.

After Islamic conquest of most if India female wrestlers seem to have disappeared from public eyes in India. But there are records of Mughal Empire employing trained female guards. The Nawab of Hyderabad seem to have deployed a regiment of female soldiers who performed creditably during Maratha wars.

There are other temple sculpture of female soldiers in battle in different Indian temple I will upload photos as i find them.

Would like to hear about similiar accounts, myths and stories about other male vs female contests from other parts of the worlds also. If anyone know any such facts kindly share. I have heard of two or three more such accounts in Asia let me investigate and come back with them.
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File Type: jpg Indian women wrestling sculpture.jpg (116.8 KB, 234 views)
File Type: jpg Warrior women in India.jpg (225.2 KB, 187 views)
File Type: jpg Hariaka defeating and killing her male opponent.jpg (16.5 KB, 182 views)
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  #2  
Old 26-Oct-12, 16:48
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Default Re: Mixed wrestling in ancient times

The Mongol woman was a constant companion along with her menfolk in their conquest of the world and were seen many a time riding to battle along side the male. The most famous among these female warriors was Khutlun, the Wrestling Princess, born in 1260 AD. She was never defeated according to records and travelers like Marco Polo attest to her conquests (Included a photo of Khutlun defeating a suitor from MArco Polos collection). She was a great granddaughter of Genghis and a niece to Kublai Khan. Her wrestling, horse riding and fighting skills were legendary. in battle she was thought to be charmed and always accompanied her father in war as a the presence of a champion is considered lucky in Mongol culture. Her specialty in war was that she would suddenly attack any portion of the opposing army and carry of the leaders rendering the opponents psychologically weak. Her daring raids may have something to do with proving her worth in manly affairs as she was one among fourteen children i.e. there were other claimants to her fathers throne.

Khutlun not only became the champion defeating all male wrestlers in the Mongol nation she also won great wealth while doing that. This fact is more amazing when you consider the fact the in Mongol wrestling there is no concept of weight classes and every contender irrespective of size compete with one another. So khutlun despite being a large and well built women must have fought and defeated the largest male wrestlers of her time.

When there was considerable pressure on her to marry she placed a condition that she will only marry if a man can throw her on the ground and defeat her in wrestling. Well to cut a long story short non could. There is a story of a prince who fought the longest before being thrown. You can find more about her in the following links

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Khutulun is honored to this day among Mongolia's wrestlers who wear an open-fronted vest to show that they are men who wrestle with men, not against women such as Khutulun who defeated all male opponents. The victory dance where the victor raises his hands in air to show his bare chest are also to the same effect. Khutlun's opponents made valiant efforts to win since defeat meant forfeiting their horses and not marrying her. Khutulun was reputed to have accumulated 10,000 horses from her victories.
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File Type: jpg khutlun.jpg (9.8 KB, 428 views)
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  #3  
Old 26-Oct-12, 17:03
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Default Re: Mixed wrestling in ancient times

I think I saw a documentary where they mention that Turkish wrestlers wrestle topless saw that no women can enter the competition. There is a story/legend that once a woman entered a competition and defeated all the males to become the champion. When the truth of her gender came out the males were so embarrassed that they decided to wrestle topless henceforth so that no women could compete in their midst. So in other words they tried to shame the women to non participation. It really is a shame cause considering what Turkish Oil wrestling looks like participation of women would have made it the most watched sports in the world
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Old 26-Oct-12, 17:31
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Default Re: Mixed wrestling in ancient times

This incident is from Baroda, Gujrat, India. I could not find any english link for this story so have included a vernacular link. I have translated the incident to the best of my abilities.

Hamida Banu was a resident of Baroda, Gujrat in the twentieth century. (In some other places she is described as a famous female wrestler also, but I dont know if female wrestlers like circus strongwomen in Europe existed in twentieth century India.) She challenged a famous male wrestler called Bab. He had defeated many famous Indian and foreign wrestlers and was at first not ready to wrestle Hamida. Hamida announced that if Bab is able to defeat her she will be a wife to him. Bab also counter announced that he will retire from the sport of wrestling if he loses.
The spectators were in no doubt that Hamida is going to embarrass herself confronting such a champion wrestler. But Hamida actually pinned Bab in one and half minutes to win the contest and astoonish the residents of Baroda and whole of India.

Now this is how Indian traditional wrestling is fought, it would have been fun match to watch. I have also included the link of a male vs female traditional wrestling bout from India to give an idea how the match must have been fought. The rest I live to your imagination

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Old 26-Oct-12, 17:57
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Default Re: Mixed wrestling in ancient times

This is a legend from Greece
about Atlanta a woman who could out wrestle and out run any man. While she never lost a wrestling match against anyone male or female she just lost one foot race to her ultimate husband who cheated in order to beat her.
She is suppossed to be abandoned in the forest as her father wanted a male heir to his throne, and was raised by wolves. She had won wrestling tourneys where other then other renowned wrestlers she also wrestled and beat Peleus, the father of Achilles the Trojan War hero. Peleus learnt from his fight and defeat at the hand of a women to ultimately win the hand of the goddess Thetis by defeating her in a wrestling match.

Atlanta also challenged and won many running contests against her unfortunate suitors. The challenge was that if the male loses the race against her he will forfeit his life and if they win they will have as queen and her kingdom. Many lost their life till a man called Hippomenes was able to defeat her by the help of gods.

I have included some vase paintings of some of the important events of her life.

As this forum contains members from different countries, would love to hear more legends/stories about women wrestling/defeating men, from all over the world
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File Type: jpg Peleus vs Atlanta.jpg (80.0 KB, 140 views)
File Type: jpg Peleus Vs Thetis.jpg (68.2 KB, 114 views)
File Type: jpg Atlanta footrace.jpg (31.6 KB, 197 views)
File Type: gif atlanta&Peleus-wrestle.gif (54.3 KB, 114 views)
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Old 27-Oct-12, 05:12
wrestler73 wrestler73 is offline
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Default Re: Mixed wrestling in ancient times

I am Turkish guy never heart such kind of stroy. Where is written this stroy?
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Old 27-Oct-12, 05:13
wrestler73 wrestler73 is offline
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Default Re: Mixed wrestling in ancient times

Quote:
Originally Posted by sheehan [Only Registered Users Can See LinksClick Here To Register]
I think I saw a documentary where they mention that Turkish wrestlers wrestle topless saw that no women can enter the competition. There is a story/legend that once a woman entered a competition and defeated all the males to become the champion. When the truth of her gender came out the males were so embarrassed that they decided to wrestle topless henceforth so that no women could compete in their midst. So in other words they tried to shame the women to non participation. It really is a shame cause considering what Turkish Oil wrestling looks like participation of women would have made it the most watched sports in the world
I am Turkish guy never heart such kind of stroy. Where is written this stroy?
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Old 27-Oct-12, 07:23
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Default Re: Mixed wrestling in ancient times

Quote:
Originally Posted by wrestler73 [Only Registered Users Can See LinksClick Here To Register]
I am Turkish guy never heart such kind of stroy. Where is written this stroy?
As I mentioned I saw that in some travel documentary but I do not recollect where or which documentary. I tried to get some info from the net but could not find anything that's why posted this if anyone has some knowledge they can share
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Old 27-Oct-12, 14:11
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Default Re: Mixed wrestling in ancient times

Quote:
Originally Posted by wrestler73 [Only Registered Users Can See LinksClick Here To Register]
I am Turkish guy never heart such kind of stroy. Where is written this stroy?
One version of the story is here. I remember getting really excited by reading an illustrated version of this story as a boy. At the time I lived next door to a girl who also could beat all of the boys her age, so that made it all the more interesting.

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Old 27-Oct-12, 14:36
georgebaltz georgebaltz is offline
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Default Re: Mixed wrestling in ancient times

Quote:
Originally Posted by wrestler73 [Only Registered Users Can See LinksClick Here To Register]
I am Turkish guy never heart such kind of stroy. Where is written this stroy?
It is actually a folk myth of mongolian origin, I cannot know if the documentary mentioned linked it to the common geographic heritage of the two people.
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