15 April 2008

French Graffiti/Mongol Wrestling

Posted by JonHaley under: Mongolia .

Keepin’er fresh! If not always consistent or relevant. I’ve only got another month and a half out here so I’ll forgo any formality and start throwing up a bunch of random posts as they happen. Here’s two:


[singlepic=463,260,195,,]This French graffiti artist/DJ team was in UB doing their thing at a local night club last week. It being a weeknight and me being fairly into the whole street art/graffiti thing (not lame vandalism and tagging stuff though), I was stoked to check it out. I hadn’t heard of this particular artist, mark093, before, but his stuff was more of a fusion of performance art and street art than real graffiti. His big hi-tech gimmick of using light trials from a flashlight with a very slow shutter-speed camera to make graffiti wasn’t so impressive. My roommate and I recreated the same effect during the last power outage (see photos). The other aspects of the show included him doing some aerosol work in time to techno/hip-hop music and drawing on people. Somewhere along the line I thought it’d be a good idea for him to draw on my face, and the result of that decision was subsequently broadcast on TV across the city (country?), much to the interest of my co-workers, etc. Anyways a good time, and an interesting way of mixing two important elements of hip-hop culture together to make something new.

Mongolian Wrestling:

[singlepic=478,260,195,,] Wrestling is one of the “Three Manly Sports” in Mongolia and every few months there’s a big tournament. During the summer Naadam festival they hold the biggest rumble of all to see who’s got the skillz-to-pay the-billz (so to speak). This particular event was held in, where else, the Wrestling Palace, not far from where I live. This was definitely a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon, and it was surely a man’s man type of gathering, with maybe only a few dozen females in the crowd. Had I known it would take close to 5 hours I would have been better prepared and would enjoyed it more. Also my camera ran out of batteries early on so I didn’t get many snaps.

For the those interested, the basic tenets of Mongolian wrestling are as follows:

The object of a match is to get your opponent to touch his back, knee or elbow to the ground. There are no weight classes or time limits in a match. Each wrestler must wrestle once per round, the winners moving on to the next round.

The technical rules between the Mongolian version and what is found in Inner Mongolia have some divergence. In both versions a variety of throws, trips and lifts are employed to topple the opponent. The Inner Mongolians may not touch their opponent’s legs with their hands, whereas, in Mongolia, grabbing your opponent’s legs is completely legal. In addition, striking, strangling or locking is illegal in both varieties.

In the case of a sacrifice throw, the first wrestler to touch the ground, regardless of who threw whom, is the loser.

The match I saw started with something crazy like 200 wrestlers and through 7 rounds they were widdled down to just two. Unfortunately, by that point everyone was tired and bored so they just kinda walked around slowly. The highlight came when a pair of wrestlers, bowled over the announcers table and sent the microphone flying, which woke up most people. Also check out this YouTube for some nice moves:


2 Comments so far...

Alan Says:

1 May 2008 at 10:23 pm.


You look good in the pictures… do you cut your own hair? I got a haircut the other day here at a local barber for about 50 cents… but I think I’ll be doing my own next time. From the first snip I knew it was going to be “interesting” when he finished. 😉

Take care,


JonHaley Says:

6 May 2008 at 5:22 pm.

Er..thanks Alan. To allay any fears, I have been sagaciously eschewing the 50 cent haircut and splashing the cash on the vastly superior $1 deals. Good luck with the DIY, though!

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