XI Encuentro Nacional de Juegos y Deportes Autoctonos y Tradicionales
Fragment of the photo by Carlos Zapata from te hwebsite Flickr
Fragment of the photo from the website Annerino
Photo from the website Terra
The Raramuri or Tarahumara are a Native American people of northwestern Mexico who are renowned for their long-distance running ability. In their language, the term Raramuri means 'light legs' and refers specifically to the males.
Originally inhabitants of much of the state of Chihuahua, the Tarahumara retreated to the high sierras and canyons such as the Copper Canyon in the Sierra Madre Occidental on the arrival of Spanish explorers in the 16th century. The area of the Sierra Madre Occidental which they now inhabit is often called the Sierra Tarahumara because of their presence.
Current estimates put the population of the Raramuri in 2006 at between 50,000 and 70,000 people. Most still practice a traditional lifestyle, inhabiting natural shelters such as caves or cliff overhangs, as well as small cabins of wood or stone.
Najarapuami or Narajapuame is a traditional wrestling style of indignations people of Tarahumara. Men, women and mixed couples can organize the contest.
Wrestling rings are usually a circle area covered with sand or sawdust. Contestants wrestle in everyday attire. Women particularly wrestle in bright colored skirts. A belt or girdle is the only special accessory in Najarapuami. Contestants grab each other by the belt and keep it until the end of the contest. Sometimes they wrestle without belt of girdle, and then they grab each other by the clothing at the waist or lock their arms at the opponent’s back.
Najarapuami wrestling is a contest of strength and balance; it has very few special techniques. You should just lift an opponent, turn him and throw down. It is not allowed to do tricks for that, tripping is prohibited. Usually, in order to win a match, a wrestler should make two out of three falls. Although Najarapuami doesn’t have sophisticated techniques, competitions are very spectacular and fascinating. Wrestlers must be not only strong but resourceful and be able to manipulate with their bodies in order to get the opponent out of balance. Tarahumara wrestlers compete only standing; they do not wrestle on the ground, if they fell the match breaks. Skills and agility are even more important for Tarahumara wrestlers than brute strength. Wrestlers do not engage in close contact and the possibility of serious injuries is minimized. These factors especially attract girls and women. Matches between married couples – two on two are also popular. Matches between married couples – two on two are also popular.
Najarapuami matches are held during festivities, both Pagan and Christian, especially during Holy Week. Team wrestling matches are a part of celebrations in Easter, in which the Pharisees and Christians engage in wrestling matches, battling symbolically for control of Judea.
In the past, Najarapuami was practiced by warriors and was a part of mandatory warrior training package, along with stick and spear fighting. Every man had to be a good wrestler. Women also practice Najarapuami since old times.
Tarahumara consider the sport as essential to their cultural identity. Public schools throughout Chihuahua & neighboring Sinaloa hold regular Najarapuami tournaments on sawdust rings in which both boys & girls participate, ensuring the vital survival of this ancient custom.
July 2012 (renewal)
Exclusive on the Female Single Combat Club
Tarahumara woman racing the 100km (62 miles) ultramarathon
Photo from the website Tumblr