|A wide view of the bout, with an elderly man beats drum for cheering. — VNS Photo Nguyễn Văn Sum|Viet Nam News
THỪA THIÊN- HUẾ — The Sình Village is well known in the nation for its 500 year-old paper paintings, but it was the villagers’ long-standing sporting instincts that were on display on Monday.
Since early morning, thousands of people from around the central province of Thừa Thiên- Huế Province flocked to the village to witness wrestling bouts that stem from a military tradition.
After a bout performed as a ritual in the communal house, the fights were taken out for the public to enjoy.
Originally, the bouts were organised in the adjoining villages of Sinh and Thủ Lễ to select soldiers for serving the army under the Nguyễn Dynasty (1802-1945).
Today, it has become a cultural ritual and an amateur sport open to all those who want to participate.
The wrestlers still abide by traditional rules, which require competitors not to kick, punch or choke rivals. The winner of a fight is one who can get his rival to fall on his back on the sandpit.
Any harmful attack will prompt the referee’s intervention and the violator will be dismissed. Each competitor has to win three consecutive bouts to enter the semi-final round, so the fourth win will put him in the final.
The fights and fighters are cheered by an elder beating the drums and another commentating on the proceedings. The thousands that attended the fight stood on temporary stages and cheered the fighters. Some illegal betting also took place.
Trần Đức Hùng, a resident of a nearby village, said the game has lost its authenticity since the building of the separate ring (outside the communal house) some ten years ago.
“We want a traditional game, not a commercialised competition like this,” he said. — VNS
|Sand flies during a fierce game. — VNS Photo Phước Bửu|
|Wrestlers in a balance game. — VNS Photo Phước Bửu|
|The red belt competitor come near to winning as his rival’s back ready to touch the sandy bout. — VNS Photo Phước Bửu|
|Nice gesture produced in a session.|
|The green belt is trying hard to fall his rival’s back down. — VNS Photo Phước Bửu|
|Game held in the communal house yard for ritual ceremony. — VNS Photo Nguyễn Văn Sum|