Leather chaps with metal studding and muscular men dripping in oil and sweat ...it could only be one thing. Somewhere between Smackdown and a rub-down, we find the ancient sport of Turkish Oil Wrestling. Though, at first glance, it may appear akin to a street brawl in Soho, this challenging feat of endurance takes strength and stamina.
Not being particularly au fait with the rules and regulations, I decided to do a little research.
Thanks to the work of Dr. Donald Stewart Miller, I found more than enough facts, puns, double meanings and homosexual references to write this article.
"The Kirkpinar (“Forty Springs”) in Edirne, Turkey is the annual world series of Yağlı Gűreş (greasy wrestling), the Turkish national sport." (I'm not sure I would class it as Turkey's national sport, but anyway...).
Wrestlers are divided into thirteen categories:
- Chief wrestler
- Under chief (sometimes literally)
- Big medium (my shirt size)
- Small big medium (sorry, what?)
- Small medium small (OK, forget it)
- Supporting big size (braggers)
- Supporting medium size (most of us)
- Supporting small size (it's what you do with it that counts)
- Kickers of the dust (the wrestling equivalent of window lickers)
- Encourager (they don't need any encouragement)
- Small and sweet 2 (hardly a title for WWF)
- Small and sweet 1
- Best beginners
It is said that true wrestlers should have been rolling around in oil from the ages of seven to seventy. Today, ages usually range from twelve to forty ...though, that would seem a slightly unfair match should they ever be pitched against each other.
"Each fighter wears a kispet, sturdy leather trunks from the waist to below the knees." Worn to cover their nudity, according to Dr. Miller as "an act of male modesty commanded by Mohammed".
"He also wraps coarse cloths around his knees in order to block the opening of the cuffs against his opponent’s probing fingers. The writing in metal studs on his butt indicates his name or his sponsoring club, usually his home town."
The bout is won by pinning the opponent to the floor. Once decided, "often winner and loser will walk off the field together arm in arm". Sweet.