View Full Version : Schwingen (Alpine Wrestling)

Sunday, September 9th, 2007, 02:47 PM
For this Swiss version of wrestling, competitors wear special shorts of coarse drill over their trousers with a slit at the back allowing the stipulated grip on the belt. A contest consists of one round lasting 10 - 12 minutes. The winner is the wrestler who throws his opponent onto his back with both shoulder blades touching the ground, without losing his own grip on the opponent’s shorts. If neither wrestler succeeds within the allotted time, the round is considered a draw. A contestant receives 8 - 10 points per round, depending upon whether and how he won or lost.

A one-day Alpine wrestling event is made up of six rounds with the top-scoring contestants always in the ring against each other. The first two rounds are called Anschwingen, the next two Aussschwingen and the last two Ausstich. The best wrestler is awarded a prize, formerly something useful, but these days a memento. Around 120 wrestling festivals take place in Switzerland every year, from March to October. If American-Swiss events are included, the number reaches about 200.

A National Wrestling Festival takes place every three years, with eight rounds fought over two days. The famous Unspunnen Festival is held every six years and every five years, the best 60 wrestlers are invited to the Kilchberg Festival. The winner of the National Festival holds the title of «Wrestling King» for three years. At cantonal and regional events such as Brünig, Schwarzsee, Stoos and Rigi, the best wrestlers are awarded a crown of leaves. The spectators at wrestling festivals are experts on the sport and familiar with the finer points of each throw. Distinctions are made between the herdsmen in blue shirts and ordinary trousers and white-clad gymnasts - or in other words - between strength and agility. Wrestling is first officially recorded in 1215 but until the 17th century, sources on wrestling are just legend. Wrestling crowns have been known since 1755.

The Swiss Wrestling Federation (ESV) was founded in 1895. Swiss wrestling is unique, however related to the Persian, Lapp and Icelandic versions of the sport. Wrestling stems from the need for physical exercise, a demonstration of personal strength and skill and a spare-time activity for herdsmen. It is a friendly conflict with opponents greeting each other with a handshake before the match. In a typical Swiss gesture, the victor brushes the sawdust from the loser’s back.
Source (http://history.swissroots.org/180.0.html)