© 2017 Barbara Davidson  

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KUSHTI

In India, a traditional form of ancient wrestling, known as ‘kushti’, has been practiced for some 3,000 years. The ‘akhara’ is a wrestling school where men in their 20s and 30s dedicate their life to the sport. The wrestlers - who fight, sleep, and eat together - observe a strict life of abstinence. The tradition of wrestling in red clay pits is deeply rooted in the city of Kolhapur. They wake up at 3:30am ever day to train for hours before eating and have another strenuous training session in the early evening under the supervision of a coach. This way of life maybe changing soon for the wrestlers. The Indian Fighters Federation recently announced a ban on red soil fighting and advised wrestling clubs to instead train on matts to improve their chances of winning medals at the Olympics.