Popularly referred to as “Swiss wrestling” is a Central European combat form known as Schwingen. This “grappling” style of combat is said to have originated from Switzerland, and is mainly popular in the German speaking region of the country. Furthermore, this form of combat is supposed to be the national sport along with Hornussen and Steinstossen. In addition, wrestlers in this form of wrestling wear “wrestling breeches” popularly known as “Schwingerhosen”. The first official “Schwingen” tournament was organized at a festival known as “Unspunnenfest” in the year 1805.
a. History/origin of the Schwingen:
The origins of Schwingen as a form of Swiss folk wrestling cannot be determined since no official records are available. However, there are a few records available which prove that wrestling did exist in Switzerland during the medieval period. In fact, a 13th century image located in the “Cathedral of Lusanne” illustrates a form wrestling that was used frequently in the Swiss society. Furthermore, it is said that Schwingen as a form of wrestling first made its presence felt in the Alpine society during the 17th century. In addition, it was in the year 1805 during a festival known as “Unspunnenfest” that a Schwingen tournament was for the first time officially organized. It was eventually in 1895 that an organization known as “Eidgenössischer Schwingerverband” was created so as to promote and manage “Schwingen” as a sport within the country by helping wrestlers better their technique, and by modifying rules of this combat style generally used in tournaments.
b. Weapon used in the Schwingen:
Since “grappling” technique is used in Schwingen, the main weapon used is the “hand” of the wrestler.
c. Technique involved in the Schwingen and training availability:
In terms of technique, the primary objective of a wrestler is to attempt to throw the opponent on his back. Furthermore, move such as “throws” which are locally known as “kurz”, “übersprung” and “wyberhaagge” are mainly used by a wrestler to overcome an opponent in this form of wrestling. In addition, a maximum of ten points can be won (by the victor) during a duel of Schwingen. As for training centers/schools, there are a few available especially in Switzerland for those interested in learning this “grappling” combat form.
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