Kurash

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Kurash is a form of upright jacket wrestling native to Uzbekistan, practiced since ancient times. It is a Turkic wrestling art, related to the Turkish yagli güres and the Tatar Köräs. It is an event in the Asian Games.

There is an effort to include Kurash in the Olympic games.

Competitors, one wearing a green jacket and the other a blue jacket, try to throw each other to the ground. If thrown to the back, victory is declared. If thrown onto the side, points are awarded. If thrown to the belly, buttocks or weakly onto the side, a lesser point is given. The action is stopped by the referee and restarted in the standing position in bounds if either of the contestants goes down to one knee or out of bounds. Competitors are not allowed to grab the opponent’s pants, but are otherwise free to grip as they please.

Turkish güres, Uzbek kuras and Tatar köres are the same word in different Turkish dialects. It originally means martial art. The word exist in all Turkish dailects almost without exception, basically refers to martial arts similar to wrestling.

This Central Asian sport developed thousands of years ago as a form of training for fighting, for both self-defence and war. This is reflected in the rules, where clothing is required which mimics armour or battle-garb, and where grips on the trousers and ground fighting are banned, since bending over low or going to the ground make a fighter vulnerable to weapon thrusts. The emphasis on standing fighting develops strong balance and quick footwork, which help greatly when fighting with weapons.

Upright grappling was an integral part of ancient and medieval warfare because most hand to hand weapons needed several feet of space to be effective to deliver their blows, such as swords and spears. Once within this range, the warriors were obliged to grapple with each other. The first one thrown to the ground would, by falling down, create enough space for the sword or spear of the thrower or another soldier to do its work, and therefore the fallen fighter would be at great risk of death. This is why falling to the ground is considered a decisive loss in almost all traditional wrestling styles around the globe, including Kurash.