Monday, May 14, 2012

The Manly Sports of the Turkic Nations: Oodarysh - Wrestling on Horseback in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

 Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are members of the TurkicUnion, are neighbors, have a long nomadic, horse-riding and -loving marauding history, and have languages close enough to each other that they are mutually intelligible.  Kazakhstan is much larger -- ninth in the world -- and has oil.  It's architecture makes Honolulu look dowdy.

Kyrgyzstan is the small, poor, relative, with internal conflicts with its Uzbek neighbors.

Nevertheless, they, with Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Turkey, all speak a Turkic language in a way like we speak English in Dublin and Mississippi, have a common inheritance, once controlled theOttoman Empire which for a thousand years the most powerful and civilized empire on earth; and who knows:  there are aspirations for the rebirth of a Turkic Empire which might include Iran, Iraq, and Syria.

Oodarysh - Wrestling on Horseback

Oodarysh is popular in both countries.  Google confuses me a bit by sometimes labeling some images as belonging to both countries, and I have not tried to sort this out.

This image is of  Shaolin students playing soccer
 at Tagou Wushu School in Zhengzhou, Henan province,
 and is included to show that the great movie,
 Shaolin Soccer,
 may not be only fantasy, 
and to ward off the 
hobgoblins of consistency.

Check out an impressive website, Chirayliq, described thusly:

Chirayliq is the Uighur word for 'handsome, pretty, beautiful, attractive'. This blog concerns itself with the handsomeness of Central Asian men, and not only. From the Black Sea to Kamchatka, from the Kara Sea to Himalaya, this is a gallery celebrating the rugged charm of the men from the steppes, mountains, deserts and taigas.
Open the site, click on a country, and you'll see good images.  For example, a movie of Kazakh worse wrestling.  Don't know a better way to learn about Central Asia countries.

If you like Jason Scott Lee and Mark Dacascos [which wouldprobbly date you] ,see Nomad, a historical tale filmed in Kazakhstan.  In addition to a simple, rousing story and the pleasures the actors give, the movie is spoken in Kazakh, and I liked the sound.

Wrestling is in Turkic blood it seems.  Here are two informal pics of spontaneous events, not produced for tourists.

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