The Mongolian national wrestling, known as Bökh, is a most popular event of Naadam – national independence celebration. This is one of the oldest sporting events in Mongolia as its root belong to the Hunnu Empire. Hunnu were skilled equestrians, archers and wrestlers. Not quite, there are different style is Mongolian wrestling, but the main style is Khalkha style, the rules are if the shoulders, knees, elbows or hands touch the ground, the you lose. Even from its early years, wrestling has been a sport to test not only strength, but also courage, patience and intelligence.
The giants are decked out in their full wrestling costumes (ömsgöl). The tight briefs are called “shuudag” and the open-fronted jacked is called “zodog”. Legend has it that wrestlers once wore full jackets, until a woman entered a competition and won. To deter any similar future incident, the jacket style was modified. Wrestlers also wear decorated boots (gutal) and the traditional summer hat.
There are many titles for the wrestlers, such as Titan (avarga), Lion (arslan), Elephant (zaan) and falcon (nachin). All the names signify strength. Titles are mostly confirmed during naadam. A wrestler who wins five fights in succession during one competition is bestowed with the title of falcon, for seven successive fights he is given Elephant, the festival winner is called Lion. A two-time festival winner is conferred with Titan.
Undefeatable Giant of Nation
Улсын дархан аварга
Win 5 times in Nation Naadam Wrestling
Wide Giant of Nation
Улсын даян аварга
Win 4 times in Nation Naadam Wrestling
Giant of Nation
Win 2 times in Nation Naadam Wrestling
Lion of Nation
Win in Nation Naadam Wrestling
Garuda of Nation
Runner-Up in Nation Naadam Wrestling
Elephant of Nation
Semi-final in Nation Naadam Wrestling
Hawk of Nation
Quarter final in Nation Naadam Wrestling
Falcon of Nation
1/8 final in Nation Naadam Wrestling
Lion of Aimag
Win in Aimag Naadam Wrestling
Elephant of Aimag
Runner-Up in Aimag Naadam Wrestling
Falcon of Aimag
Semi-final in Aimag Naadam Wrestling
Elephant of Sum
Win in Sum Naadam Wrestling
Falcon of Sum
Semi-final in Sum Naadam Wrestling
Mongolian wrestling has no weight classes, so the best wrestlers are usually the biggest. The sport involves not only strength, but strategy as well – there are hundreds of take-down moves. A winner is determined when one of the wrestlers touches the ground with any part of this body other than his feet or palm of his hand. The wrestler’s coaches act as referee’s as well as hat holders.
The loser passes under the winner’s arm and the winner then takes a victory lap around a flag pole while performing the eagle dance. The round robin tournament continues until two men are left standing at center court.
"Zasuul", (literally meaning a "fixer") of the wrestler is an on-field guide and coach of the wrestler. In lower round competitions when there are many wrestlers, most wrestlers don't have their own zasuuls. Successful wrestlers and those that get to the higher rounds get their own zasuuls. A Zasuuls' role is to hold the hat of his wrestler while he wrestles and give him encouragement and motivation on the field. For instance, if the match is going slowly, a zasuul might slap the buttocks of his wrestler to encourage him to engage his opponent faster. Zasuuls are not technically coaches in the literal sense. They are usually an elder and a friend of the wrestler who is there on the field to serve as a guide and help set up a fair competition. Also, unlike other grappling sports, a Zasuul does not have to be a former wrestler. When the match starts, the wrestlers are divided about evenly into left and right sides, and sometimes a zasuul will sing a praise of his wrestler to open a challenge from that side in the higher rounds, and the other side's zasuul will also respond with his own praise of his wrestler. The poetic praise of a wrestler by his zasuul comes from the wrestler with the highest rank on that side.