Friday, November 13, 2009

Fear The Mongols!

Over at "The Ground Never Misses" my friend, Xingyi instructor and general Big-Bald-Badass Jake Burroughs is running This series on Mongolian wrestling. (Also Here).
This brings up a story that old Mr. Choi, my Korean Tae Kwon Do master told me about his childhood;
As I remember, he grew up in North Korea and his family fled to the South when war broke out. His family had a farm, and every day he would take a large potato to school with him. All the kids would put their potatoes on the woodstove to heat them for lunch. They had a pack of farm dogs that they would let loose once a week which probably killed every living bird, rabbit or rodent they could catch.
Once, when Mr. Choi was still quite young, his family took a trip to see a Mongol festival, much like the one depicted in the video above.
They arrived at a village or camp, tents and yurts everywhere. Mongol horsemen swung from their mounts at full gallop. That night, his family entered one of the largest of the tents. Mr. Choi's eyes lit up as he described the scene, which was etched on his memory;
The interior of the tent had cooking fires and torchlight. Huge Mongolian wrestlers were competing for the crowd. The spits on the cooking fires held entire animal bodies that were being turned and roasted. Compared to his Korean family, the Mongols were giants, and he remembers some of them in full-Mongol party-mode eating entire rams legs, the grease dripping and coating the rough garb they were wearing.
It was a spectacle that Mr. Choi never forgot, and some of the roughest and most powerful warriors he would ever meet.
Check out Jake's posts on Mongolian wrestling at the links highlighted above.

My friend and instructor, the late Tae Hong Choi


Wim Demeere said...

A buddy of mine went to Mongolia a few years ago and competed at the big annual event. He managed to throw his first opponent and raised a few eyebrows because of it.
Apparently, the Mongols are often alone and don't have a partner to practice with. So they just wrestle with their horse instead. And then people wonder why they're so hard to throw... :-)


Dojo Rat said...

Just horsin' around?

Anonymous said...

Hi, DR

Just goes to show that "ground work" existed long ago and it ain't nothin new...hehehe