Highland Wrestling: Man vs. Woman

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The modern day Scots may well be descendants of Vikings if you don’t believe historic accounts just take a trip to the Highland games. Along with the famed caber toss, ancient shot put and hammer throwing events you will likely find highland wrestling. While this used to be traditionally a competitive bout between men in kilts, women now compete alongside and even against men.

The traditional Celtic combat sport has its roots as early as the 7th century with variations of the sports also be found in Iceland, Albania, Bulgaria and parts of Italy.

France has its own traditional wrestling, gouren, but both of these are losing out in popularity to the more traditional Olympic wrestling.

A bout starts with the competitors locked against one another, their arms connected behind their opponents back and their heads resting on each other’s shoulders. Not surprisingly the sport is also known as Scottish backhold. Once the competitors are in position the referee shouts, “hold”.

This signals the start of the bout, with the goal being to break your opponents grip or send them to the ground. Only the soles of your feet are permitted to touch the ground, anything else is a loss. Bouts are typically the best of five and as a result fluke victories are rare.

In the video the lady may even be the bigger competitor but she utilizes trips and throws very effectively to win 3-0. Similar techniques are evident in judo can be seen in some MMA bouts. Obviously Ronda Rousey is MMA’s most famous practitioner but now Dan Kelly is doing well at middleweight we might see more uki goshi and ashi guruma throws being executed inside the Octagon.

The author, Nicholas Westerby, has trained boxing and kickboxing since 1995. You can watch his UFC retrospectives, predictions and fight card reactions on his YouTube channel.

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