From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
<!-- start content --> Pehlwani (Devanagari: पहलवानी, Urdu: پہلوانی), Kushti (Devanagari: कुश्ती, Urdu: کشتی), or modern Indian wrestling, is a synthesis of an indigenous Aryan / Hindu form of wrestling that dates back at least to the 5th century BC <sup id="_ref-Alter1992a_0" class="reference">[1]</sup> and a Persian form of wrestling brought into South Asia by the Mughals.<sup id="_ref-Alter1992b_0" class="reference">[2]</sup>
A practitioner of this sport is referred to as a pehlwan (also spelled pahlwan in Persian, champion, literally a Parthian). Generally speaking, Hindu teachers of wrestling are known as guru and Muslim teachers ustad.<sup id="_ref-Alter1992b_1" class="reference">[2]</sup>
The Indian wrestling form has undergone several changes in both the nomenclature and training methodologies through the ages. The more prominent influences include the introduction of Persian nomenclature and western training methods.
Wrestling competitions, known as Dangals, held at village levels, have their own rules which vary from place to place. Usually, a win is awarded by decision from the panel of judges, knockout, stoppage or submission.
<table id="toc" class="toc" summary="Contents"> <tbody><tr> <td> Contents

</td> </tr> </tbody></table> <script type="text/javascript"> //<![CDATA[ if (window.showTocToggle) { var tocShowText = "show"; var tocHideText = "hide"; showTocToggle(); } //]]> </script>


In Indian wrestling, vyayam, or physical training, is meant to build strength and develop muscle bulk and flexibility. Exercises that employ the wrestler's own bodyweight include the sun salutation, shirshasan, and the dand, which are also found in hatha yoga, as well as the bethak. Sawari (the passenger) is the practice of using another person's bodyweight to add resistance to such exercises.<sup id="_ref-Alter1992b_2" class="reference">[2]</sup>
Exercise regimens may also employ the following weight training devices:
  • The nal is a hollow stone cylinder with a handle inside.
  • The gar nals (literally "neck weights") is a circular stone ring worn around the neck to add resistance to dands and bethaks.
  • The gada is a mace, as associated with Hanuman. An exercise gada is a heavy round stone attached to the end of a meter-long bamboo stick. Pahalwani trophies take the form of gadas made of silver and gold.
Exercise regimens may also include dhakulis, which involve twisting rotations; rope climbing; log pulling; and running. Massage is regarded an integral part of a pahalwan's exercise regimen.
<table style="border: 1px solid rgb(153, 153, 153); margin: 0pt 0pt 1em 1em; background: rgb(249, 246, 212) none repeat scroll 0% 50%; float: right; clear: right; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; text-align: center; width: 180px;" class="toccolours"> <tbody><tr> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <th style="font-size: 100%; background-color: rgb(244, 238, 161);"><small>Part of a series on</small>
Indian martial arts
</th> </tr> <tr> <th style="font-size: 90%; background-color: rgb(244, 238, 161);">Various Indian martial arts</th> </tr> <tr> <td style="font-size: 90%;">Pehlwani - Kalarippayattu - Malla-yuddha - Vajra Mushti / Vajra Mukti - Chakram - Kabaddi - Silambam Nillaikalakki - Gatka - Thang-Ta - Other arts</td> </tr> <tr> <th style="font-size: 90%; background-color: rgb(244, 238, 161);">Notable Practitioners</th> </tr> <tr> <td style="font-size: 90%;">The Great Gama - Phillip Zarrilli - Jasmine Simhalan - Jyesthimallas - Gobar Goho - Imam Baksh Pahalwan - Paul Whitrod - Gulam - Guru Har Gobind - John Will</td> </tr> <tr> <th style="font-size: 90%; background-color: rgb(244, 238, 161);">Related articles</th> </tr> <tr> <td style="font-size: 90%;">Kshatriya - Yoga - Indian m?l?e weapons - Dravidian martial arts - Khanda - Marmam - Ayurveda - Sri Lankan martial arts - Foreign influence on Chinese martial arts</td> </tr> </tbody></table>

According to the Samkhya school of philosophy, everything in the universe?including people, activities, and foods?can be sorted into three gunas: sattva (calm/good), rajas (passionate/active), and tamas (dull/lethargic).
As a vigorous activity, wrestling has an inherently rajasic nature, which pahalwan counteract through the consumption of sattvic foods. Milk and ghee are regarded as the most sattvic of foods and, along with almonds, comprise the holy trinity of the pahalwan's khurak, or diet. A common snack of pahalwans is chickpeas that have been sprouted overnight in water and seasoned with salt, pepper, and lemon; the water in which the chickpeas were sprouted is also regarded as nutritious. Various articles in the Indian wrestling monthly Bharatiya Kushti have recommended the consumption of the following fruits: apples, wood-apples, bananas, figs, pomegranates, gooseberries, lemons, and watermelons. Orange juice and green vegetables are also recommended for their sattvic nature. Some pahalwans eat meat in spite of its rajasic nature.<sup id="_ref-Alter1992b_3" class="reference">[2]</sup>
Ideally, wrestlers are supposed to avoid sour and excessively spiced foods such as chutneys and achars, as well as chaats. Mild seasoning with garlic, cumin, coriander, and turmeric is acceptable. The consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and paan is strongly discouraged.<sup id="_ref-Alter1992b_4" class="reference">[2]</sup>


Wrestling has been very popular in India since Vedic times. Malla-yuddha, the classical form of Indian wrestling, dates back before the Aryan invasion and was a precursor to modern Pehlwani.<sup id="_ref-Alter1992a_1" class="reference">[1]</sup> There is a memorable wrestling contest between Bhima and Jarasandha narrated in the Mahabharata, and there is a duel between Rustam and Sohrab mentioned in the Persian Shahnameh (Book of Kings). Balarama, the brother of Lord Krishna, was a wrestler described in these religious texts. In the Ramayana, there is mention of the vanara King Vali, having won against the mighty Ravana, the king of Lanka, in a wrestling contest. These texts describe the ancient wrestling art of Mallayuddha.
In the 16th century India was conquered by the Mughals, who were Persians of Mongol descent. They brought the influence of Persian and Mongolian wrestling to the local Malla-yuddha. This was the beginning of modern Pehlwani.
India in the recent past had great wrestlers of the class of Great Gama and Gobar Goho. India reached its peak of glory in the IV Asian Games (later on called Jakarta Games) in 1962 when all the seven wrestlers were placed on the medal list and in between them they bagged 12 medals in Freestyle wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling. A repetition of this performance was witnessed again when all the 8 wrestlers sent to the Commonwealth Games held at Kingston (Jamaica) had the distinction of getting medals for the country.
During the 60?s, India was ranked among the first eight or nine wrestling nations of the world and hosted the world wrestling championships in New Delhi in 1967.
The undefeated champions of India hold the title Rustum-i-Hind title.
Cross training was inevitable even in this ancient discipline. Pehlwans who compete in wrestling nowadays are also known to cross train in the grappling aspects of Judo and Jujutsu.
Legendary wrestlers from the bygone era eg. Karl Gotch have made tours to India to learn the art of Pehlwani and further hone their skills. Karl Gotch was gifted a pair of "mudgals" (exercise equipment used by the Indian wrestlers) by the Indian wrestlers. The conditioning exercises of Pehlwani are incorporated into many of the conditioning aspects of both catch wrestling and shoot wrestling, along with their derivative systems. These systems also borrow several throws, submissions and takedowns from Pehlwani.
The popularity of this tradition seems to be withering away. The "milked sand wrestling pits" (20X20 deep stone courtyards, filled with clay and water or milk), which served as the traditional arena for both training and competitions are now giving way to wrestling mats and rings. The wrestlers are pursuing the sport as a hobby and not as a full time profession, and popular professional wrestling promotions have pushed Pehlwani to the brink of obscurity.

Famous Pehlwans

Olympic Freestyle Wrestlers

*Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav - 1952 Olympic bronze medalist, 1948 Olympics 6th place.

Asian Games Freestyle Wrestlers

  • Master Chandgiram 1970 Asian games gold medalist is an Indian wrestler who is known for defeating champions from numerous other disciplines of martial arts. Currently runs Chandiram akhara in old delhi.
    • Satpal Singh 1982 Asian games gold medalist,1972,'80 olympian currently Director general of sports Delhi.

Legendary Indian Wrestlers

  • Great Gama.
  • Karim Bux - was the first wrestler to get into world headlines, when he defeated Tom Canon of England in 1892.
  • Mama Moti Singh, trainer of Kikkar Singh and Kalloo whom he trained in the unique dog method of wrestling.
  • Kikkar Singh - Dev-e-Hind, Known for his phenomenal chest and body.
  • Gulam ? accompanied the late Pandit Motilal Nehru to Paris in 1900 and defeated Cour-Derelli of Turkey.
  • Gobar Goho - defeated the legendary hook wrestler Ad Santel in San Francisco in 1922 and became the world champion.
  • Rajeev tomar- Holds the distinction of being awarded Bharat Kesari the maximum number of times.
  • Anuj Chaudhary- Arjuna award winner Indian Wrestler.
  • Ramzi Pahlwan.
  • Kalloo.
  • Labhu Lohar.
  • Rahim Sultaniwala.
  • Imam Baksh Pehlwan -The Indian wrestling legend, and the former Rustam-I-Hind as well as the winner of several strength contests in India.
  • Viddo - (Sitara-I-Hind).
  • Bular.
  • Goonga Baliwala.
  • Mhani Reniwala.
  • Gutta Singh Khakhanwala.
  • Hamida Pehlwan ? former Rustam-I-Hind and the trainer of the Bholu Brothers.
  • Ganda Singh Johal.
  • Haider Amritsaria.
  • Bholu ? He is the eldest son of Imam Baksh Pehlwan. And the eldest among the Pehlwan Brothers.
  • Ajit Singh- Indian Wrestler.
  • Bholu Brothers- Illustrious Pehlwan Brothers (Bholu , Aslam , Goga , Akram and Azam).
  • Akram Pehlwan- the son of the wrestling legend Imam Baksh Pahalwan. He became famous for his mixed martial arts match against Antonio Inoki. He is also one of the Bholu Brothers.
  • Aslam Pahlwan also trained by Mama Moti Singh.
  • Nasir Bholu- Well-known wrestler from the Bholu family.
  • Jhara Pehlwan- Real name Zubair , was the son of the famous Aslam Pehlwan.
  • Banta Singh Waltoha (Bharat Kesari award winner).
  • Santokh singh bahadurnagar (Bharat Kesari award winner).
  • Mehardin (Bharat Kesari award winner).
  • Malkit Singh Kanjli (Well-known wrestler from Kapurthala(Punjab), Four Time University Champion and two times Inter-varsity Champion,currently runs an akhara in Kapurthala(Punjab,INDIA).
  • Salwinder Singh Shinda (Rustam-e-Hind) and Indian national wrestling champion. He is also a four time Chandigarh Kesari award winner. Now he was a president of district wrestling association Tarn-Taran.

Pehlwani Associated with Professional Wrestling

Professional Wrestlers (Professional wrestling is an orchestrated sport and has been created so that it is entertaining, hence the term, sports entertainment. Although some of it seems to have an element of realism, it is mostly choreographed, where the fate of the match has been pre-decided. Everything in WWE, TNA and other professional wrestling promotions has to do with more acrobatics and storyline angles than the non-choregraphed amateur wrestling.)
  • Sonjay Dutt: (TNA Wrestling) of Indian origin, a light heavyweight style wrestler.
  • The Great Khali (Dalip Singh): (WWE) The Punjab State, Jalander, police bodybuilder and wrestler (Pehlwan) from Northern India standing at 7 feet 3 inches tall.
  • Tiger Jeet Singh: Real name, Jagit Singh Hans, is the world renowned Indian pro-wrestler.
  • Tiger Ali Singh: Real name, Gurjit Singh Hans is an Indian Pro-wrestler and son of Tiger Jeet Singh.
  • Dara Singh: Wrestler and actor, famous for traveling to the United States of America; knocking out the professional wrestlers in the US, then coming back home after realizing the meaning of the word "working" in American professional wrestling.
  • Gadowar Singh Sahota
  • Tiger Dalbir Singh Shergill: British heavyweight champion 02/10/1986. Respected as one of the most talented Indian wrestlers of all time and only Asian to ever be crowned British champion.
  • Prince Mann Singh

Pehlwani Titles

Indian Wrestling Titles

  • Rustam-i-Hind: (also spelled Rustam-e-Hind) Wrestling Champion of India in Hindustani. Imam Baksh Pahalwan and Hamida Pahalwan held the Rustam-I-Hind title in the past.
  • Rustam-e-Punjab : (also spelled Rustam-I-Punjab) Wrestling Champion of Punjab in Hindustani. Pehalwan Salwinder Singh Shinda becomes six times Rustam-e-Punjab
  • Rustam-i-Zamana: World Wrestling Champion in Hindustani. For example, the Great Gama of India became known as Rustam-I-Zamana when he defeated Stanislaus Zbyszko in 1910.
  • Bharat-Kesri: Best heavyweight wrestler of India in Hindustani. Recent winners include Rajeev Tomar (Railways) and Palwinder Singh Cheema (Punjab police).

The Great Gama

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
<!-- start content --> For the Canadian professional wrestler who competed in Stampede Wrestling during the late 1990s, see Gadowar Singh Sahota.

The "Great" Gama

The "Great" Gama (1882-1960), also known as Rustam-e-zaman Gama Pahelvan, born Ghulam Muhammad, in Amritsar, British raj, was a renowned wrestler and a practitioner of Pehlwani wrestling. He was awarded the Indian version of the World Heavyweight title on October 15, 1910. To this date he is the only wrestler in history who remained undefeated his whole life; his career spanned more than 50 years. Gama died in Lahore, Pakistan in 1960.
<table id="toc" class="toc" summary="Contents"><tbody><tr><td>
</td> </tr> </tbody></table> <script type="text/javascript"> //<![CDATA[ if (window.showTocToggle) { var tocShowText = "show"; var tocHideText = "hide"; showTocToggle(); } //]]> </script>
Early life

Gama was born to the renowned wrestler Muhammad Aziz. They were of Kashmiri wrestling stock.. At the age of 5 his father died and Gama was taken care of by his maternal uncle Eida. Maharaja Bhawani Singh, the ruler of Datia (a princely state of the British Raj in Madhya Pradesh) patronized the young wrestler and his brother Imam Bukhsh. Gama was first noticed at the age of ten when he entered a strongman competition, which included many gruelling exercises, including indian squats, held in Jodhpur . The contest was attended by more than four hundred wrestlers and young Gama was among the last remaining fifteen wrestlers. At that point the Maharaja of Jodhpur announced Gama as the victor due to his remarkable show of enormous stamina and dedication among the many older wrestlers.


First Encounters with Raheem Sultani Wala

Fame came to Gama at the age of 19 when he challenged, then Wrestling Champion of India, Raheem Baksh Sultani Wala. At 6'9" tall with an impressive record, Raheem was thought to easily defeat the 5'7" Gama, but the bout continued for hours and eventually ended in a draw. The contest with Raheem was the turning point in Gama's career. After that, he was looked upon as the next contender for the title Champion of India. In the first bout, Gama remained defensive, but in a second match Gama was more offensive. Gama was bleeding from his nose and ears but he managed to destroy the lungs and heart of Raheem Baksh.

[edit] Winning the John Bull Belt

By 1910, Gama had defeated all the prominentIndian wrestlers who faced him but the Champion Wala'. At this time, he focused his attention to the rest of the world. Accompanied by his younger brother Imam Bukhsh, Gama sailed to England to compete with the Western Wrestlers. In London, Gama issued a challenge that he could throw any three wrestlers in thirty minutes of any weight class. This announcement however was seen as a bluff by the wrestlers and their promoter R.B. Benjamin. For a long time no one came forward to accept the challenge. In order to break the ice, Gama presented another challenge to specific heavy weight wrestlers. He challenged Stanislaus Zbyszko and Frank Gotch, either he would beat them or pay them the prize money and go home. The first professional wrestler to take his challenge was the American Benjamin Roller. In the bout, Gama pinned Roller in 1 minute 40 seconds the first time, and in 9 minutes 10 seconds the other.
The next to accept Gama's challenge was Stanislaus Zbyszko and the date of bout was set to be 10 September 1910. The match was ?250 in prize money and the John Bull Belt. Within a minute, Zbyszko was taken down and remained in that position for the remaining 2 hours and 35 minutes of the match. There were a few brief moments when Zbyszko would get up, but he just ended back down in his previous position. The two men were set to face each other again on September 17th, 1910. On that date, Zbyszko failed to show up and Gama was announced the winner by default. He was awarded the prize and the John Bull Belt. Receiving this belt entitled Gama to be called Rustam-e-Zamana or World Champion.

Final Encounter with Raheem Sultani Wala

Shortly after his return from England, Gama faced Raheem Bakhsh Sultani Wala in Allahabad. This bout eventually ended the long struggle between the two pillars of Indian wrestling of that time in favor of Gama and he won the title of Rustam-e-Hind or Champion of India. Later in his life when asked about who was his strongest opponent, Gama replied, "Raheem Bakhsh Sultani Wala".

Rematch with Zbyszko

After beating Raheem Bakhsh Sultani Wala, Gama beat Pandit Biddu, one of the best wrestlers in India of that time (1916).
In 1922, during a visit to India, the Prince of Wales presented Gama with a silver mace.
Gama did not have any opponents until 1927, when it was announced that Gama and Zbyszko would face each other again. The day finally came in 1928 when both wrestlers met again in Patiala. The result of the bout was, however, drawn quickly when Gama threw Zbyszko in only 42 seconds.

[edit] Remaining Career

After soundly beating Zbyszko in 42 seconds, Gama beat Jesse Petersen in February 1929. This bout lasted only one and a half minutes.By the mid 1940's Gama continued to put out challenges but added a stipulation. The stipulation was that anyone who wanted to wrestle the great Gama had to wrestle and defeat Imam first. No one did. This was the last bout that Gama fought during his career and although he did not retire until 1955, he did not find any opponent and retired undefeated as the World Champion. Once he even challenged to stop a train from moving but instead asked the British government in India to make an 11 km stretch fare free for all the Indians but the challenge was put down by the British government.
Before he left Europe Gama not only defeated the Europeans but also defeated many renowned Japanese judo and grappling experts including the famous Matsuya Mada.
After the partition of British India, Gama opted to move to Pakistan in 1947. On 22nd of May 1960, he breathed his last breath in Lahore.

Popular Culture

  • In the video game Shadow Hearts: Covenant, Gama appears as the mentor of Joachim Valentine, one of the characters who joins the player's party. Throughout the game, Joachim can challenge Gama to one-on-one matches in order to learn new wrestling moves.
  • Darun Mister, one of the characters in the Street Fighter EX series, is obviously based on Gama, from his appearance to his country of origin.
  • The name Gama continues to appear in Bollywood and Indian television serials as a symbol of strength, often used humorously.
  • Pro wrestler Gadowar Singh Sahota used the stage name of Great Gama during his pro wrestling career.
  • In the anime Naruto, Gama is the name of an enormous ninja toad, the patriarch of a family of ninja toads that can be summoned by ninja that sign a summoning contract in their own blood.

Wrestler Gama Pehelvan
His cousins known as the Bholu brothers were very succesfullwrestlers as well.

Gama did 1500 squats per day!!

The Indian gouvernment wants to ban Indian Akhara (sandpit) traditional wrestling because it minimizes the chances of indian wrestlers to compete on olympic games/mat wrestling.
Not knowing that it isnt about only competing but more a way of life...