Ancient Wrestling Styles of Our Forefathers

Posted in the Samoa Forum

Since: Jun 12

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#1 Sep 5, 2012
Boumwane: the national style of Kiribati with a simple toppling victory performed during National Day celebrations, a similar sport is also played in Nauru.

Fagatua: the indigenous style of Tokelau used mainly to settle regional disputes between villages.

Hokoko: the indigenous style of the Kanaka Maoli of the Hawaii Islands, first recorded by crew members during the HMS Resolution's 1779 visit to the main island as part of the pa'ani'kahiko or 'ancient games', performed during the Makahiki New Year Festival. Along with mokomoko boxing it is a core skill of the bone breaking martial art of lua.

Mamau/ringa ringa: the indigenous style of the Maori of New Zealand, mainly used for warrior training but now occasionally being performed as part of the Matariki New Year Festivals as a recreational activity.

Moana: the indigenous style of the Ma'ohi of Tahiti and French Polynesia; along with teka (spear throwing), motora'a (boxing) and amoraa ofae (heavy stone lifting) will be included as part of the Heiva i Tahiti or traditional sports festival held in Papeete every July. A similar sport is also played in the Cook Islands during the Te Maeva Nui national day celebrations.

Pi'i tauva: the indigenous style of the Kingdom of Tonga was first seen by Europeans in 1777 in which the artist John Webber recorded in lithograph. It combined boxing and wrestling, being performed as entertainment for visitors by both men and women.

Taupiga: the indigenous style of the Samoan Islands saw the wrestlers greased up with coconut oil before competitions (similar to Turkish yagli gures) and was an important part of the inter-village gatherings.

Uma/Kulakula'i: is a hand-wrestling game practiced by the indigenous residents of Hawaii. The contestants kneel and grasp each others' elbows on the same side. The object is to force one's opponent's arm to the ground.[3] The game was frequently played by the Hawaiian ruling class (the Ali'i).

Veibo: the indigenous style of Fiji was mainly used as a method of warrior training but also occasionally as a form of entertainment. In the early 20th century, indentured labourers were brought from India to work the cane fields and their style of wrestling, kushti, was fused with veibo to create a hybrid style similar to freestyle wrestling.

Since: Jun 12

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#2 Sep 5, 2012
Every island in the Pacific was and are the nations of Warriors. This is a list for those out there who are curious of our Warrior past and the sports that conditioned there bodies.

Since: Jun 12

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#3 Sep 5, 2012
The Kingdom of Tonga

Occupied for over 6000 years, Tonga has been central to the dispersal of people throughout Polynesia. By the 12th century, the Tongan Kings or Tui Tonga, controlled a vast confederacy that stretched from Fiji, Wallis & Futuna and the Solomon Islands in the west to the Marquesas in the east to Kiribati in the north; this 'Tongan Empire' lasted for over 400 years. Captain Cook anchored the HMS Resolution in Tongatapu in 1773 and the ship's artist John Webber did sketches of the wrestling performances done for the entertainment of the visitors. The British found it remarkable that Tongan women also participated in this combat sport which also included striking the opponent with blows from the wrist. Pi'i'tauva'a wrestling has subsequently died out in the islands but when this happened is hard to ascertain. Unified as a single polity since 1845 under King George Tupou I, Tonga was a British Protectorate with a constitutional monarchy from 1900 till full independence in 1970. The much beloved former King of Tonga, George Tupou IV was a big supporter of sumo and sent six Tongan men to Japan in 1974 to become professional rikishi, including Fukunoshima (Tonga Uli'uli Fafita) and Sachinoshima (Sione Havea Vailahi) who later became famous as the professional wrestlers 'King Tonga' and 'the Barbarian' in the World Wrestling Federation. Other professional rikishi from Tonga include Hisanoumi (Tebita Rato Taufa) and Minaminoshima (Isamu Falavei) who is now residing in Australia; Tonga was considered one of the strongest sumo nations from Oceania to compete in the ISF World Championships.

Since: Jun 12

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#4 Sep 5, 2012
Independent Samoa and American Samoa

The 15 inhabited islands of the Samoan Archipelago are politically divided into the US Territory of American Samoa in the east (population 41,000, capital Pago Pago) and the independent nation of Western Samoa in the west (population 182,000, capital Apia) but are still united by language, culture and a unique code of conduct called Fa'a Samoa. Many more Samoans live in countries around the world than live in the Samoan Islands and the Samoan Way is still practiced in the USA, New Zealand and Australia. In 1899 before the political seperation of the islands, an American author named Llewella Pierce Churchill wrote a book titled 'Sports of the Samoans', describing wrestling as the most important sport of Fa'a Samoa. According to this account wrestlers would make their bodies slippery with generous applications of coconut oil and would strive to get a hold on the opponents malo loin cloth to throw him to the ground. Taupiga wrestlers only wrestled on behalf of their village, never for themselves, but the sport has died out with the introduction of rugby to the islands by Marist missionaries in the 1920s. Like in Tonga, sumo has become the traditional style of choice for the Samoans and notable rikishi include Konishiki Yasokichi (Saleva'a Fuauli Atisono'e) and Yokozuna Musashimaru Koyo (Fiamali Penitani) who in 1999 became the second foreign born Grand Champion. The Samoan Islands also have a very strong wrestling programs with American Samoa being so closely connected with the American Collegiate Folk Style and Western Samoa being amongst the strongest wrestling nations in Oceania.

Since: Jun 12

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#5 Sep 5, 2012
If there is an Island you would like more detail about folk wrestling, just ask.

Since: Aug 12

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#6 Sep 5, 2012
It is also known in Tongan, as 'Fangatua' OR 'Pi'inga'... so yea, there's goes some more evidence in our ONE Language from back in the days...

Since: Jun 12

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#7 Sep 5, 2012
Poly KING wrote:
It is also known in Tongan, as 'Fangatua' OR 'Pi'inga'... so yea, there's goes some more evidence in our ONE Language from back in the days...
So. I known that the sport has been taken over by Rugby, Do they still do it Tonga?

Pi'iga is also the name for wrestling in Samoa,LOL.

Since: Aug 12

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#8 Sep 5, 2012
Tagata Folau O le Vasa wrote:
<quoted text>
So. I known that the sport has been taken over by Rugby, Do they still do it Tonga?
Pi'iga is also the name for wrestling in Samoa,LOL.
wow, interesting... yea, they still do it, but with more of the modern way...

But people from Niua and some of Vava'u call it Pi'inga while the rest of Tonga calls it fangatua... pretty cool!!

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

#9 Jan 10, 2013
Great list of traditional wrestling forms! Thanks


Since: Apr 12

Kanakaville, Wai'anae

#10 Jan 11, 2013
Good thread Tagata. I myself Wrestle for my high school. Schoolastic style of course but still, good fun.

Also Hawaiians still do Kulakula'i but nowadays its just known as Hawaiian Wrestling.

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