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Iranian Wrestling

Iranian wrestling, nown as "koshti" in Farsi, is a combat sport that takes place between two competitors who attempt to gain and maintain a dominating physical position over their opponent. It is a very popular sport in Iran, and is considered by many to be Iran’s national sport. There are regional styles, and the objective of each is very different (e.g., lifting or throwing the opponent to the floor). One form/style of this activity is Koshti Pahlavani (heroic wrestling), derived from the ancient Iranian sport, varzesh-e-bastani. using popular wrestling techniques as joint locks, throws, clinch fighting, etc.

Is this activity known by any other names?

Persian wrestling; Koshti

What are the origins of the activity abroad and in Canada?

The origins of Iranian wrestling date back to ancient Persia, and this style of wrestling is still predominately practiced within Iran. Iranian wrestling developed from the ancient Iranian sport, varzesh-e-bastani, which was a traditional system of training warriors in ancient Iran.

Who takes part?

Most commonly, participants are males from an Iranian background or those who have an interest in different cultural forms of wrestling.

When does it occur / How often do you take part?

Wrestling competitions take place at different times throughout the year, and Iranian wrestling is often displayed at Persian cultural festivals.

Are there any organized clubs, groups, organizations or leagues?

Tirgan Iranian Festival

Cultural Significance

Wrestling is extremely popular in Iran, and is considered by many Iranians to be the country’s national sport.

Is there anything else we should know?



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