General Rules of Yağlı Güreş

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Yağlı Güreş, also known as Turkish oil wrestling, is a sport deeply rooted in Turkish culture and tradition. Dating back centuries, this ancient form of wrestling has captivated both athletes and spectators alike. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the general rules of Yağlı Güreş, shedding light on the techniques, history, and intricacies of this unique sport.

General Rules of Yağlı Güreş

The Essence of Yağlı Güreş

Yağlı Güreş is more than just a sport; it’s a cultural phenomenon that has been passed down through generations. At its core, this traditional Turkish wrestling involves two competitors drenched in olive oil, locked in a gripping struggle. The primary aim is to pin the opponent’s shoulder blades to the ground, a task easier said than done when both competitors are slippery and well-versed in the art of grappling.

The Wrestling Arena

The battleground for Yağlı Güreş is known as the “yağlı güreş pehlivanlık” and consists of a circular, grassy area. The wrestlers, or “pehlivans,” enter this arena with their bodies coated in olive oil, making it a visually stunning spectacle.

Traditional Attire

In Yağlı Güreş, participants wear a unique uniform called “kispet.” The kispet is made of buffalo leather and is essential for wrestlers to maintain a grip on their opponent. The distinctive appearance of the kispet adds to the overall charm of the sport.

The Opening Ceremony

Before the matches begin, there is a captivating opening ceremony that includes music, dance, and rituals. This ceremonial aspect of Yağlı Güreş highlights its significance as a cultural event.

Match Duration

A standard Yağlı Güreş match consists of two rounds, each lasting 40 minutes. If neither wrestler succeeds in pinning their opponent’s shoulders to the ground in the allotted time, the match is declared a draw. In the event of a tie, the wrestlers engage in additional rounds until a victor emerges.

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Scoring and Victory

The primary objective of Yağlı Güreş is to pin the opponent’s shoulder blades to the ground. The wrestler who accomplishes this feat first wins the match. In case both wrestlers fall simultaneously, the one who falls on top is declared the winner.

Techniques in Yağlı Güreş

Gripping Strategies

One of the key aspects of Yağlı Güreş is mastering gripping techniques. Wrestlers strategically grip their opponent’s kispet to gain control and leverage during the match. These gripping techniques are often a well-guarded secret of seasoned wrestlers.

Throws and Takedowns

Yağlı Güreş is not just about brute strength; it requires finesse and technique. Wrestlers use a variety of throws and takedowns to outmaneuver their opponents. The “atak” and “yakarak” are two commonly employed techniques that require precision and agility.

Defense and Counterattacks

In addition to offensive moves, wrestlers must be adept at defending against their opponent’s attacks. Counterattacks are crucial in Yağlı Güreş, and a well-timed move can quickly turn the tide of a match.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What is the history of Yağlı Güreş?

The history of Yağlı Güreş dates back to ancient Turkey, with origins in the nomadic lifestyle of Turkish tribes. It evolved from a form of combat training to a celebrated sport, showcasing the strength and skill of Turkish wrestlers.

Q: Is there a specific age group for Yağlı Güreş participants?

Yağlı Güreş is open to participants of all age groups, from young children to seasoned veterans. Competitions are often categorized by age and experience level to ensure fair matches.

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Q: Are there weight classes in Yağlı Güreş?

Unlike many other wrestling styles, Yağlı Güreş does not have strict weight classes. Competitors are often matched based on their skill level and experience, allowing for more diverse and exciting matches.

Q: How is the winner determined in case of a tie?

In the event of a tie, additional rounds, known as “pilavüzeri,” are held until one wrestler successfully pins their opponent’s shoulders to the ground.

Q: Are there any specific rituals or customs associated with Yağlı Güreş?

Yes, Yağlı Güreş is steeped in tradition. Before each match, wrestlers perform rituals such as the “pesrev,” a traditional dance, and the “kortej,” a ceremonial parade.

Q: Is Yağlı Güreş only popular in Turkey?

While Yağlı Güreş is most popular in Turkey, it has gained international recognition and has been showcased in various wrestling competitions worldwide.


Yağlı Güreş, with its rich history and captivating techniques, continues to be a source of pride for Turkey and a fascinating sport for enthusiasts around the globe. As we’ve delved into the general rules and intricacies of Yağlı Güreş, it becomes evident that this traditional Turkish wrestling is a unique blend of athleticism, tradition, and cultural significance.

Whether you’re a seasoned wrestling fan or a newcomer to the sport, Yağlı Güreş offers a spectacle that is unlike any other. So, the next time you witness two olive oil-covered wrestlers locked in combat, you’ll have a deeper appreciation for the general rules of Yağlı Güreş and the artistry behind it.

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