Mongolian Bokh Wrestling & Chinese Wrestling – Origins of Sumo, Judo, Jiu Jitsu

We are back with another installment of exploring some of the lesser known traditional martial arts systems in the East Asia region – adding to our collection of exploring Karate, Taekwondo, and Wing Chun techniques and their application to MMA. This one is a good one, as we dive into some of the roots of wrestling / grappling in Asia.

As we mentioned earlier – the Mongolians to the far north actually have the highest chances of doing well in MMA, as they grow up in a warrior culture that forces them to wrestle and farm everyday since they were boys – making them strong, durable, and grappling-centric from the very start.

The Mongolians were the “OG’s” of grappling – Original Grapplers. They were practicing wrestling since before time, and used their superior fighting skills, strength, and conditioning to rule over and conquer many other lands.

But just what is Mongolian Wrestling, and why and how did Genghis Khan and the Mongolian Empire take over most of the known world at one point in time, stretching their influence from China, to Russia, to Turkey, all the way to the doorsteps of western Europe?


Watch this full episode of Kung Fu Quest – Mongolian Wrestling (a documentary series), where three city boys travel to Inner Mongolia to train Bokh wrestling – with English subtitles for the first time, and see for yourself the true power, culture, and intricacies of Mongolian Wrestling.


Interesting takeaways:

  • The Mongolian government made their style of Bokh wrestling, archery, and horseback riding as official sports.
  • Every year in Mongolian societies they would have festivals and gatherings to compete in these three arts.
  • Much like how the Thai government made the art of Muay Thai their national sport. This says a lot – that if a country’s people were to be successful at any given pursuit or sport, such as American wrestling, or Chinese sanshou etc. – it needs to be officially recognized, regulated and taken seriously by the government first, or else it will forever remain a fringe sport or hobby.
  • Mongolian boys are born and trained to do three things in order to graduate to become a real Mongolian man, dubbed “The Three Manly Skills” – they were to master wrestling, horseback riding, and archery as a part of their curriculum and culture.
  • Interesting stop at a Chinese Shuai Jiao (Chinese wrestling) school in Beijing. For the uninitiated, Chinese wrestling precedes Japanese Judo, Jiu Jitsu by several thousand years in the 1200’s BC era, whereas Japanese Judo, Jiu Jitsu only came into prominence in the 1900’s of the modern era.
  • The three city boys from Hong Kong were no match for the country bred Mongolian wrestlers, no matter how skilled or strong they thought they were. They were too used to their city lifestyle and training methods.
  • It shows that the harsh way of life in living in the countryside, specific wrestling training, and the conditioning of their bodies through diet and horseback riding techniques – produces the best, strongest Mongolian fighters.
  • Real Mongolian masculinity comes from being able to protect your family, loved ones, and being great fighters with skills (skills in other areas of the arts as well).


Stay tuned, as we at Dynasty will soon have our own Mongolian-inspired grappling wear to honour our Mongolian neighbours and brethren, coming real soon. Sign up to our mailing list and be notified when!

– Dan from