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?

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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).

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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 DynastyClothingStore.com

Traveling & Training Adventures in Taiwan (by Rebecca Chiang)

Traveling has always been one of my favourite things to do, but I believe we all suffer from the same problem of saving money specifically for traveling.

I work 40 hours a week and train about 2-4 times a week and compete whenever I can. This past summer, I wanted some changes in my life so I decided to go back to my native Taiwan to be with my family and travel in my home country, since I haven’t been back for a few years now.

As a jiu-jitsu practitioner, I looked up the gyms around my place of stay, and in the main city of Taipei before I even went back. I got in touch with the right people to get my training sessions setup before I even arrived in Taiwan.

OTT-Taipei

Once I arrived in Taiwan, I quickly set everything up and made sure that my gi’s and rash guards were clean and ready to be used. After 1-2 weeks of settling in with my family, I decided to start getting my BJJ training sessions in whenever I can.

While traveling, it’s hard to set up your transportation if you don’t have a working phone and data plan to navigate yourself to the gym. My suggestion  for fellow BJJ globetrotters would be to make sure you have an unlocked phone and go purchase a pay-as-you-go SIM card and get your phone set up. This comes in handy when you need to call the gym for directions, and calling the gym to set up training sessions, and also for navigating yourself to the gym.

In Taiwan, the cheapest way to travel from one city to another was by taking the bus and MRT (Taiwan’s subway system), and with the help of Google Maps you can travel anywhere by yourself!

The first gym I visited was in 新ç«č Hsinchu (Hsinchu (also romanized as Xinzhu), officially known as Hsinchu City, is a city in northern Taiwan. Hsinchu is popularly nicknamed “The Windy City” for its windy climate). Hsinchu BJJ gym was owned by BJJ black belt and fellow Dynasty Family brother Jeff Liu. Having trained for a number of years in California, he speaks both Mandarin and English which made it easy for me and other foreigners visiting the gym. The gym was very clean, has one shower, smells nice and has very friendly members as well.

Hsinchu BJJ

I enjoyed training at 新ç«č Hsinchu BJJ and met some of the most supportive and amazing group of guys and girls. Before I had to return to Taipei, Amity (a blue belt in BJJ) was awesome enough to set up an all girl’s BJJ camp and a SUP (stand up paddle boarding) adventure for the girls. Jeff taught some techniques and let us roll with each other, which was great for all the girls to roll together to experience our different styles, body types and sizes.

Enjoying Mother Nature with the coach and BJJ girlsAll Girl's BJJ Camp

I Triangle People Everywhere I Go! Kick Ass BJJ Ladies!

The other gym I visited was called 高雄 Kaohsiung BJJ (also known as Gaoxiong, the chief port of Taiwan, on the southwestern coast) and it was owned by BJJ brown belt Dan Reid. The gym had a lot of mat spaces and 3 showers, which was great since everyone should shower after hard training sessions.

Everyone at Kaohsiung BJJ was extremely friendly and I think I even made some friendships that I believe will last for a long time. The gym focuses more on No-Gi than Gi BJJ and it was great since I needed to work on my No-Gi skills. The one big difference I saw in my game after training there was my mount and pressure game. Everyone welcomed me and I had an awesome time hanging out with every single person I met at Kaohsiung BJJ.

Having fun at Koahsiung BJJFirst Day at Kaohsiung BJJ

My trip back to Taiwan was supposed to be a soul searching adventure for myself, but for some reason it always seems to involve visiting jiu-jitsu gyms. I did the same in Taiwan and the same when I traveled to California. Traveling is great, but sometimes it’s hard to pin point the exact location you’d like to travel to.

My suggestion for all jiu-jitsu lovers is to pack a gi and rash guards whenever you travel, because you may just run into that gym you’ve always wanted to train at. Training while traveling allows you to meet many different people that comes from different places, but shares the same passion for BJJ!

Mother Nature at it's best!     Our Girl's Camp @ Hsinchu BJJ

– Rebecca Chiang, Dynasty Family Sister and BJJ Blue Belt