Belt wrestling is a type of wrestling sport that is considered to be one of the oldest sports on record, dating back to 2800 BC. The objective of the sport is very simple, to knock down the opponent by grappling with their belt. The sport today is practiced in several countries around the world.
The rules for the sport vary in each country and region. In some places a belt is used, in other regions a towel or a griddle is used. The takedown rules also vary amongst regions.
There are two major styles of belt wrestling, classic style; in which trips are not allowed, and freestyle; in which trips are allowed. There are three major disciplines, indoor, beach and snow, based on the field where the sport is played. Competitions are conducted for both men and women. There are seven different weight classifications for men and five for women. Fights are conducted for competitors of five different age groups.
The International Belt Wrestling Federation (IBWA), the highest governing body of the sport, is responsible for conducting belt wrestling competitions around the world and promoting the sport. The belt wrestling world championship is the highest level competition for the sport. It is also a part of the Worldwide Nomad Games.
- Glima — a belt wrestling style from Scandinavia, based on a popular sport of the Vikings from over 1200 years ago.
- Sumo Wrestling — two wrestlers within a circular ring try and push the other out.
- Ssireum — a folk wrestling style and traditional national sport of Korea, with the aim to bring any part of the opponent's body above the knee to the ground.
- Schwingen — a style of folk wrestling native to Switzerland.
- Kurash — folk wrestling style from Central Asia in which wrestlers use towels to hold their opponents, and their goal is to throw their opponents off the feet.