Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cookie's Culture Corner: Turkish Oil Wrestling

From time to time, Cookie comes across something that, well, he finds interesting and shares what he has found for the good of mankind.

Today, that topic is Turkish Oil Wrestling.

And I have included pictures to help you come to understand this interesting, legitimate and exotic sport.  While fascinating, remember it is important for us to expand our world view.


Imagine, if you will, swarthy shirtless young men - and only the young men, because nothing grosser than an old Turkman - donning leather "capri" looking pants ("kisbit").

These wrestlers are just rocking their kisbits. 

The kisbit is a described as a leather "lederhosen", made of calf skin.  They used to do this in the naked strip, but once the Ottoman Empire converted to Islam, the kisbit came into being for modesty sake. 

The Kisbit ensures modesty.  Note the oil can on the left.

Before the festivities start, and in a ritualistic fashion, the wrestlers oil themselves and each other up head to toe with olive oil.  They even oil up under the kisbit, but we'll get to that reason in a minute. But it is legitimate.

It is important for Turkish heterosexual wrestlers to respect one and other by oiling each other up. 

Now the mutual oiling is a Turkish sign of respect.

Now, since everyone is slip sliding around, how does one win a match? This is where it gets interesting because it's hard to pin a man who's oiled up, and next to impossible for a man who is oiled up to pin another man who is oiled up.  The solution?  The men grapple to get into each other's "kisbit" (pants) and use the pants to get control of their opponent.

To win, you need to control your opponent. 

Holds include hand and arm down the backside of the pants, and hand and arm down the front side of the pants.

Don't believe what you see?  Let's try that again, shall we?

Try and focus on the tradition here, people. 
And since they are oiled up even under the pants, one assumes these things can get "tense".

And the man who loses the match kissing the hand of the man who just won.

How popular is this sport? It's the NATIONAL sport of the Turks.

Just like baseball is to Americans, Oil Wrestling is to the Turks

Imagine, being a young boy and growing idolizing these men?  Your parents buying you posters of them for your bedroom walls.  Even encouraging you to take the sport on?  Well, this is the reality for Turkish youths.

And how long has this sport been going on?

2013 will mark the 652 year of the main modern day tournament.

A scene from the 2012 tournament.   

Now for Mr. Peenee's sake, here's video of the national tournament:

Consider your world view of sport expanded.  And someone get Peenee some water.

From Cookie's Culture Corner, this is Cookie saying "Good Day, Good Night and Sweet Dreams!"

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  1. My goodness... I've just had an attack of the vapours... I shall sleep very well tonight
    thank you Cookie

    1. I know I'm still having palpitations. But the whole spectacle aside, isn't it interesting to see how one culture views masculinity, compared to how our own societies view it. Still the Turkish people have a long way to come on rights for gay people.

  2. Peenee's probably on a flight to Turkey as we speak.

    *fans Princess vigorously*

    1. I wonder if any oil wrestling pictures will pop up on The Informaniac?

    2. I hope Peenee doesn't fly to Turks and Caicos!

  3. In the immortal words of dear Miss Eartha Kitt - Oh, those Turks!

    1. I have a think for these younger, built men. I can here them saying "You want me for the sex, eh?"

  4. The best comment on the video from YouTube is "JakesNotDrinking", and I quote: this is a thing. okay. this is fine. this is okay. this is actually all kinds of okay."

  5. And to think...all these years trying to get into other men's pants I was really just being athletic.

    1. The Mormans call it "anointing with holy oils"

  6. Nothing beats a greasy Turkish kebab... Jx

    1. What else would they sell at Oil Wrestling contests? Weenies and beans?