Islam brought by Prophet Mohammad had reached (parts of) Central Asia in less than 50 years after his death. Central Asia, especially China, is nowadays famous of its martial arts. Even in some muslim countries, e.g. Indonesia and Egypt, there is some martial art which is believed originated from Central Asia, specifically Turkestan and Western China. Thus I am interested in tracking the source of this martial art.

Based on my reading, I got some names such as shurul khan (shoo-rool-khan) and thifan po khan (tee-fun-poh-khan). However I found only sources available in Bahasa Indonesia or Malay which are based on Zhodam old book. There I found some words which sound like Turkic language but I can't verify them, such as shurul khan (shoo-rool-khan), thifan po khan (tee-fun-poh-khan), kagrul (kag-rool), badur (bah-dur), ahund (ah-hoon), turgul (toor-ghool), tamid (tah-mid), banetin (bah-net-teen), tsenkay (sand-kai), liqud (lee-kood).

DISCLAIMER: The spellings above are only my personal approach, I don't know exactly :)

The question

Do you have any historical information about martial arts in Western China (and also Turkestan in general, e.g. Uyghur (Xinjiang), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, etc) in Islamic era? In addition about my reading, do words above really exist in Turkic languages (e.g. Uyghur)?

  • Of all the words you shared only Khan and Turgul seems Turkic to me. And may be Badur but that word might in fact have indo-iranian roots rather than altaic.
    – NSNoob
    Jun 3 '16 at 11:09
  • 3
    Might be worth asking in martialarts stack exchange...
    – MCW
    Jun 3 '16 at 11:16
  • 1
    @MarkC.Wallace Because I think people here are more "scholar" and people there are more "warrior" and I ask about historical point of view :D. You see that they talk about technique, move, practice, etc there.
    – fikr4n
    Jun 3 '16 at 15:26

The Mongols, the Turks, and the Turkic peoples living in Asia between them, all seem to have similar "folk wrestling" styles that tend to center on takedowns (rather than pinning or throwing out of a certain area).

Based on that, it seems fair to say that there was likely a common Altaic wrestling style ancestral to all of them. Regardless of that though, during the Mongol area, Mongolian wrestling would have been practiced inside their territory wherever the Mongols themselves were, which I believe includes all the areas in question.

The Wikipedia entry on Mongolian Wrestling has an interesting description of a match from about 1240 AD from The Secret History of the Mongols, that you may find an interesting read. The Mongolians seemed to chiefly compete with each other in wrestling, archery and horseback riding. The latter two are of course things their armies during the period were famous for, and clearly would have had to be practiced as well.

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