Bokh contest held in Xi Ujimchin Banner
[Video by Khuryachi, Ereelt & Khuqintugs]
The video records a Bokh contest held in Xi Ujimchin Banner, North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region.
Bokh (the Mongolian word for 'wrestling') has a history of over 2,000 years. It is a rugged hand-to-hand sport that relies more on raw physical power than technique. It is loved by Mongolian athletes, scholars, and statesmen for its unique combination of athleticism and aesthetics.
Bokh is one of Mongolia's age-old "Three Manly Skills" (along with horsemanship and archery).
The basic premise behind the sport is to force your opponent to touch any part of their body other than their feet to the ground, placing them in a position of inferiority. This type of training served the Mongol hordes well during their conquests and earned them a reputation as fierce soldiers both on foot and on horseback.
It was this military might that allowed Genghis Khan to conquer China at the end of the Song Dynasty in 1127. Genghis Khan considered wrestling to be an important means of keeping his army in good physical condition. Bokh was also used occasionally as a way to eliminate political rivals. The Qing (1644-1911) Manchu imperial court held regular wrestling events, mainly between Manchu and Mongol wrestlers.