In India, An Education Through Wrestling
When visiting akharas in India last year, Tim and Mark commented on how modest each of these gyms were: a dirt pit for wrestling, ropes to climb for conditioning, and a guru instructing young athletes what to do. The goal was simple, to keep a large team of young men using these akharas to learn discipline, a healthy lifestyle, and the skills to become a successful wrestler.
As India has become more modern, there has been a concern that the traditional sport of kushti would become lost in the contemporary world. However, as Girish Doddamani recently reported within the Deccan Herald, the opposite has become true. A new generation of wrestlers is visiting the akharas across the country hoping to add the same traits wrestlers glean into their own studies.
Brand new cell phones in hand, sporting goggles, wearing skin-tight t-shirts and jeans, they walk in. Completing the story of the new-age wrestlers are the backpacks loaded with books. They are not fully smitten by the bug of modern times, with their roots in naada kusthi (traditional mud wrestling) not at all forgotten. Mysore’s very own naada kusthi is still a must for the new generation of wrestlers, for whom their forefathers remain an inspiration even as they pursue higher studies.
“Every day, I wake up at five to go for physical training while the afternoons are dedicated for learning kusthi,” says Deepak Kiran of Chikka garadi in Ashokpuram. Kiran is pursuing his BA degree at an evening college. “I am not facing any problems in balancing studies and wrestling. Thanks to wrestling, I have been able to stay clear of bad habits.”
The lure of preserving the wrestling culture in India has led a new generation of student-athlete to seek out akharas not to become Olympic champions, but to become the best doctor, engineer, or astrophysicist they can. The lessons these students learn from wrestling can be transferable to any career path.
To read the entire article: http://www.deccanherald.com/content/364021/modern-twist-ancient-sport.html