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Canarian Wrestling - an ancient, indiginous sport

canarian wrestling


The Canary Islands have their own indiginous form of wrestling, the Spanish version of the name is lucha canaria, literally meaning "Canarian fighting".


Canarian wrestling
image licence


It has an ancient tradition, thought to have begun from the Guanches, Tenerife's original inhabitants, who brought it over from North Africa. Thereafter, the style developed its own set of rules and, today, most closely resembles the style of wrestling practised in Senegal.

The first record of the wrestling techniques dates back to 1420. Since the Spanish Conquest, this indiginous sport has become part of Tenerife folk tradition.


The rules of the sport were officially laid down in 1872, then, in the mid-20th century, federations of wrestling began to be formed. Today, Spain boasts a National Federation and there are quite often inter-island matches.Canarian wrestling
Image: Lexthoonen
The rules of the sport were officially laid down in 1872, then, in the mid-20th century, federations of wrestling began to be formed. Today, Spain boasts a National Federation and there are quite often inter-island matches.


Canarian wrestling
Image: Lexthoonen




The Rules

Lucha Canaria is fought within a large sand circle, called a terrero and the objective is simply to force part of your opponents body (other than the feet) onto the sand. When you have accomplished this twice, you win the round.

The complete match ends when all members of one team have been defeated.

As the main technique is to unbalance your opponent, to get him down onto the sand, there are certain strict rules as to what is allowed and what isn't.


MaƱas, or Moves - what is allowed

There are three permitted moves:

  • The Grasp
    Pretty self-explanatory. Any part of the body may be seized in order to force the wrestler down
  • The Block
    Blocking an opponent's move and using the momentum to overbalance him
  • The Deflect
    A bit similar to the Block, the wrestler uses a deflection to unbalance his opponent.


Moves Not Allowed

  • Punching
  • Hitting
  • Strangling


Canarian wrestling
Image: Lexhoonen





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