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Wrestling and Archery Guide

-Travel to Wrestling and Archery

The Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, with its varied attractions, presents an exciting and memorable getaway for travellers. The region contains almost everything that an urban visitors heart may desire: stunning grasslands, the Gobi desert, the Mongolian way of life, and energetic unique folk pastimes such as horse and camel riding, Mongolian wrestling, archery, rodeo competitions, and singing and dancing. Mongolians are good at , which you must watch if you have the chance when you travel to Inner Mongolia. Here we provide a brief guide to Inner Mongolia wrestling and archery.

Mongolian wrestling offers little excitement to the uninitiated. Two men grasp shoulders and spin slowly in circles, muscles bulge, but nothing happens, men stand motionless for up to10 minutes, before one makes a desperate dash for a leg hold, then, suddenly, the match can end within seconds. Unlike Sumo, which it sometimes resembles, or Olympic wrestling, there is no margin for error in Mongol wrestling. Should any part of the body touch the ground, the match is over. Afterwards, the winner grabs his hat and tips it to the loser. Both men begin wildly flapping their arms, as they bounce on bent knees to the platform of honour. This is the traditional flying eagle dance, which every contestant performs before and after the bout. Animal imagery features in every facet of Mongolian wrestling. Winners in the fifth round are proclaimed falcons, and have their praises sung by seconds. They become elephants in the sixth round, and lions at the eighth. A winner of several championships becomes a giant.

Archery in Mongolia has a long and famous history. Folk legends tell of Erekhe Mergen, the great archer who saved the people from drought by shooting down six suns. And when the legendary mother of the Mongolian nation wanted to instill the idea of unity into her feuding sons, she sat them down before her and gave each an arrow telling them to snap it. Each did that easily. Then she gave each of them six arrows and told them to snap them all together. None of them could. This is how the Mongolian people first learned about strength through unity. Competing archers take aim at tiny targets in the sport considered the third most manly in Mongol folklore. A line of 360 leather rings run in a line perpendicular to the bowman in the middle of two rows of dirt mounds. Men shoot at a distance of 75 meters; women from 60 meters. The object is to barely clear the first mound and pierce the targets. A scattering of red rings brings bonus points. If it sounds too easy, Mongolian bows have no sights. Arrows, made of willow sticks and vulture feathers, are tipped with huge hexahedral ends made of roughly carved bone. The strings are tough, taut bull tendons that test any champion.

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