Monday, June 20, 2016
Kırkpınar is a Turkish oil-wrestling (Turkish: yağlı güreş) tournament. It is held annually, usually in late June, near Edirne, Turkey since 1346.
Before each bout, the wrestlers pour olive oil over their entire bodies, and the matches take place in an open, grassy field, with the contestants naked except for trousers made of leather, which extend to just above the knee. Victory is achieved when one wrestler either pins the other to the ground (as in many other forms of wrestling) or lifts his opponent above his shoulders.
It now holds a Guinness World Record for the longest running sports competition.
Oldest known evidenceThe history of oil wrestling links straight back to 2650 BC with evidence both from Ancient Egypt, Assyria and around. The Babylonian body of evidence, a tiny bronze, excavated near the Chafadji-temple. It is as clear as plain day-light that the bronze concern oilwrestlers: both athletes are pictured with oilvessels on their head.
The oldest known proof of the existence of oil-wrestling in Ancient Egypt is found in limestone from the tomb of Ptahhoteb near Saqqara from the fifth dynasty (about 2650 BC) from the same period as the Chafadji-bronze.
Another appealing proof is about 4000 years old and painted like a cartoon in a tomb near Beni Hasan in Egypt. The deceased, who occupied this tomb must have been a famous oil-wrestler in his time.
On the first picture, greasing of the wrestler and the oil stored in a reed stem is seen. After that, the wrestling starts. The pictures could have been taken yesterday during a Kırkpinar. The last picture down shows the unchanged three step triumph of oiled wrestling. From this period we can trace the basic rules.
Centuries later, the Persians conquest Egypt and Persian shah-kings occupied the throne of the Pharaoh's.
Oil-wrestling in Iran
The history of the oil-wrestling tournaments as we know today links back to the Persian Mythical Era, which, according to Ferdowsi's Shahnameh, started 1065 BC. The legendary pehlivan of this era is called Rostam, a hero constantly saving his country from the evil forces.
The ceremonial start of oil-wrestling, called by its Persian name "Peshrev" has clear links with old Iranian institutes as the zurkhane, literally "house of strength". The building consists of a court, around which the men, who will perform, arrange themselves, and a gallery for the ostad ("master") or morshed (spiritual leader) and the musicians. Nowadays, the musical accompaniment consists of a drum and recitation of portions of Ferdowsi's Shahname. There are various rhythms employed, and a variety of movements associated with them, including displays of strength in manipulating heavy objects (such as weights and chains) and acrobatics.
Here the origin of the peshrev has to be found, by some considered to be a warming up and greet-the-audience ceremony, to others a participatory form of dance. Certain different from the usual step-right, step-left, step-right, kick-left, step-left, kick-right dance found all over the area.
Oil-wrestling for Sultan and Shah
During the period Islam was brought into Asia Minor, spirituality and philosophy became part of the physical garment of the pehlivan. Oil-wrestling was established as a sport on its own. In Iran and the Ottoman Empire alike wrestling became the national sport. In Iran, wrestling grew to the customary institution of the zurkhane strong house, where people go to socialise and engage in athletic exercise. The wrestler is the strong-man in popular culture (in Persian the term is "big neck"), but he is also the pahlavan, the knightly hero, who is a free-living spirit and is generous and loyal.
The year 1360 is adapted by the organizers of the Edirne Kırkpınar as date Ottoman soldiers started to organize annual oil-wrestling tournaments in Kırkpınar, a wrestling field "within Samona village". According to the Guinness Book of World Records, this legend made the Kırkpınar world's oldest continuously sanctioned sporting competition.
The last bout between the two finalists lasted all night as neither was able to defeat the other. They were found dead the next morning, their bodies still intertwined. They were buried underneath a nearby fig tree, whereupon their comrades headed to conquer Edirne.
After the conquest, the soldiers came upon another fig tree, surrounded by a crystal-clear spring, so they renamed the surrounding meadow (which until then had been known as Ahirköy) Kırkpınar, which translates from Turkish as "forty springs" or "forty sources".
To commemorate the heroism of the conquering warriors, a wrestling tournament was re-enacted annually at this site, and the oldest still-contested sanctioned sporting competition in the world began
Whatever tales, myths and stories. There has always been a common respect for the oil-wrestlers. The pehlivan is being stronger than anybody, having a well built body, clothed in heavy leather pants. Up till today, the wrestlers pour olive oil onto their bodies. And still you see a younger wrestler defeating an older wrestler kiss the older wrestler's hand.
In 1590, a peace agreement was reached between Murat III and the Persian Shah. The model of the wrestling pants go back to this period. The model is still same for the Iranian "pahlivan" and the Turkish "pehlivan", except that the Turkish wrestling pants are made of leather and are called "kispet", while the Iranian pahlivan wears a "pirpet", made of silk.
Famous wrestlers from Iran came to Istanbul to compete with the Ottoman champions, and the Turkish champs were invited to Persia to show their strength
Collecting Strong Men
Before 1582, all recruits came from prisoners of war, the devsirme, or other slave sources. With that devsirme, the very best and strongest guys were recruited from all the provinces of the Ottoman Empire. Only the strongest and most healtiest boys had a chance to become a pehlivan. Always known to be free enough to be honest and through history trusted for his words and behaviours.
Everywhere in the Ottoman Empire were wrestling championships held. Every city and village had its annual wrestling, like nowadays. Wrestling occurred in a variety of contexts, including social and ceremonial events. There was wrestling on religious festival days, during special evenings of the Muslim fasting-month of Ramadan, on agricultural events, circumcisions and weddings. On special occasions, charity wrestling competitions were organized outside the palaces. Only the best wrestlers were accepted in training to become members of the elite Janissary Corps.
Oil-wrestling for French Impératrice Eugenie
When the Ottoman sultan visited France in 1867, oil-wrestlers were part of his entourage and Impératrice Eugenie visited the wrestling-tournament. Wrestling was tough, but oil-wrestling was even harder. It was considered the most difficult sport in the world. In these days, the expression "Fort comme une Turc" (strong as a Turk) revived from the crusade-days.
During a year, about 300 different oil-wrestling games are held in Turkey. They host 10 million spectators on average.
|Statue of past champions|
Introduction of Time
Until 1975, there was no time limit to wrestling in Kırkpınar. The pehlivans would wrestle sometimes one, sometimes two days, until they could establish superiority to one another. Wrestling games would go on from 9a.m. in the morning until dusk and the ones that could not beat each other would go on the next day. After 1975, wrestling was limited to 40 minutes in the baspehlivan wrestling category. If there is no winner within these limits, the pehlivans wrestle for 15 minutes with the score recorded. The ones that can score points in this last period are accepted as the winners. In other categories, the wrestling time is limited to 30 minutes. If there is no winner, 10 minutes of score wrestling follows.
Oil Wrestling in Other Parts of Europe and The World
The "Mother of All Sports" came in 1997 for the first ever to Western Europe, when the European Champions League were held in Amsterdam. No less than 22 television teams covered the event, and scenes from the Amsterdam Kırkpınar were shown at CNN and the BBC alike.
|Some of the musical entertainment|
The 2nd European Oil-Wrestling Championship held in Amsterdam had already a final with 42 wrestlers from Turkey, the Netherlands and other European countries. Winner was Cengiz Elbeye, Edirne Kırkpınar oil-wrestling champion. Addressing the ceremony held upon the start of the matches, Erkut Onart, the Turkish Consul General in the Netherlands, said that he believed the friendship between the Turkish society and the European countries is intensified when these kinds of cultural values are brought to Europe.
In the world of oil-wrestling, Amsterdam became the most important annual after Edirne.
Oil-wrestling is a growing sport, not limited to Turkey only. However, it is difficult for foreign wrestlers to enter this National Turkish Championship. In 2000, Dutch oil-wrestler Melvin Witteveen's entry in Edirne was rejected, while Kadir Yilmaz, beaten by Witteveen some weeks earlier at the Amsterdam Kırkpınar, was allowed to participate due to his double Turko-Dutch nationalities.
As the winners of the categories of the Amsterdam Kırkpınar in Holland are considered to be European Champions, this creates the strange fact that according international standards the Amsterdam Kırkpınar tops Edirne, as latter being the National championship of Turkey only, repudiating non-Turkish entries.
The event attracted little attention outside of Turkey until the 1990s, when the style of wrestling began to spread to Western Europe. It has become particularly popular in the Netherlands, which now hosts its own annual version of the tournament, attracting participants from throughout Europe. Yağlı güreş wrestling matches are also held in Japan.
If you’ve seen enough horror movies, you’ll notice that they’ve become increasingly stale nowadays. Sometimes it feels like the characters on screen know when they’re about to get whacked by the psycho killer in the woods, and even they can’t fool the audience. How stupid do some of these movie directors believe the average American viewer has become? The following bag of tricks are currently destroying modern horror cinema:
1.) The Peek-a-boo, I See You
This is the moment when the director cleverly places the actor (usually some blond that can’t stop crying) into the right third of the screen. The camera pans in slowly and the creepy music starts playing. Then suddenly the killer’s face pops out the shadows directly behind the sobbing blonde. Since it would make too much sense for the killer to hack his victim instantly, (as killers in the real world are prone to do, don’t ask me but I know) the director always gives the heroine a few seconds to realize that some psycho is behind her before she runs screaming down the hallway. This leads to my next boneheaded Hollywood gaff.
2.) The Hide and Seek
I don’t understand the obsession with childhood games with these directors. My theory is that in order to be considered for directing a horror movie you must prove you have an infantilism fetish. No wonder Hitchcock wore those huge pants; he was hiding a diaper underneath.
The Hide and Seek usually occurs right after, and sometimes before, the “Peek-a-boo, I see you.” Invariably, the killer walks slower than molasses while the heroine barrels away like an Olympic sprinter. By the time one wonders why she doesn’t just run straight home or to the nearest police station, the heroine is already stuffing herself into some hiding spot like an oven, walk-in freezer, or meat packing plant.
3.) The Alley Oop
This is also known as the “false alarm.” This is the scene where the heroine is stumbling around trying to find one of her friends. She thinks she hears a noise and turns her head. Then, just as she rounds a corner she crashes into a body in the shadows. Oh no! Then the camera angles around and we see it’s just her boyfriend with a silly grin. Whew. That’s the set-up. The spike comes when suddenly the killer jumps out of nowhere and the audience is forced to accept that although he had all the time in the world to slay the heroine when she was alone he chose not to for the sake of drama.
4.) The Scooby-doo
I have to credit the creators of Scooby-doo for making perhaps the best animated horror spoof ever. But sometimes I swear I’ve watched scenes that look like they were actually stolen from the cartoon.
The “Scooby-doo” is your prototypical chase scene. The only thing more obnoxious than watching out of shape actors stumble across the scene is how the camera jerks around to make us feel like we’re in the moment.
5.) The Ingenious “Let’s Split Up” Game Plan
In all fairness, the character who suggests this is usually the drunken frat boy with popped collars who gets slashed first anyway. Even though all the actors might be in a single house, the idea that they need to form three search parties to search all of 10 rooms somehow makes perfect sense to them.
6.) The Deadly Wee-wee
This is almost always a given in any horror flick. Some moron goes off alone to do his business and gets brained by a pick-ax/shot with an arrow/eaten by the woods, etc. It’s such a freebie for the director it amounts to artistic welfare.
7.) The Lazarus
I think it’s fair to say that ever since Michael Myers survived getting plugged with six .357 rounds at the end of Halloween, the horror genre has slid disastrously downhill. There’s a new rule in Hollywood. Killers can’t die until they’ve appeared in enough annoying sequels to cause suicide pacts even among the most diehard fans.
Nothing short of a nuclear explosion seems to stop your modern day madman. Even then we’d still be treated to seeing the killer’s hand twitch among the radioactive rubble to let us know he’s still alive right before the credits roll.
8.) The Great Escape
This is when the whole freaking police department has the killer cornered on a ledge or in a hole somewhere and he still gets away among a barrage of bullets. We’re meant to believe that, like the “Lazarus” trick, the psycho is somehow invincible. Yet when he attacks the heroine moments later she just knees him in the groin to get away.
9.) The Famous Coitus Interruptus
It seems like all people have time for in horror movies is having sex and walking into dark rooms. At some point the high school quarterback and his doe-eyed cheerleader get it on in a lake, or a bed, or a bed in a lake. Then thwack! A machete through the chest. I’ve always admired that subtle Hollywood finger wagging at premarital relations, but the redundancy of the scene is a crime as well.
10.) The Overly Creative Murder
This isn’t so much a scene as it is a symptom of the sad state of today’s movies. People can’t be killed by simple butcher knives or axes anymore. It has to involve hydrochloric acid, cryogenic freezing compounds, or the use of some ancient weapon. The method of the murder isn’t what’s particularly troublesome, it’s that there is too much emphasis placed on the special effects required to make the scene.
So there you have it. I just saved Hollywood possibly millions of dollars they would have wasted in useless focus groups and board meetings about how to make a better horror movie. All any director needs to do is read my guide, and do the opposite of everything above. When you start seeing flicks that actually scare the pants off you, you’ll know who to thank.