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Friday, May 25, 2012

BATTLES: YEKINI x BALLA GAYE. WE'RE TALKIN' SENEGALESE FOLK WRESTLING (A/K/A LAAMB), GRAPPLER!


This is very simple.  You're going to watch the video below.  You're going to swear it almost seems unreal (in a good way), and it will definitely feel surreal.  How could an insanely badass sport like Laamb exist and be so popular in its native Senegal without us knowing anything about it?  You'll feel blessed now knowing that it's real.  You'll tell your girlfriend/spouse/significant other and he or she will shrug and pretend to be interested, the way they do with most of the things you mention.  You'll know they don't really care.  But, you'll care.  And, together we'll both become huge fans of Laamb.  We'll start Laamb clubs and organize trips to Senegal to watch the big matches.  It'll be amazing.  At least, that's how I have it all worked out in my head.

Laamb is the Wolof (an ethnic group from Senegal) word for "wrestling."   It's a folk wrestling sport, with the single goal following that of many indigenous wrestling sports - throw your opponent to the ground (off  his feet or on all fours) or out of the ring.  It's deeply rooted in tradition and spiritualism; the wrestlers douse themselves in protective baths prior to their bout and are adorned in talismans to ward off evil spirits.  And, it's huge in Senegal.  Yeah.  It's that cool, and you're just now hearing about it (unless you're from Senegal, in which case, you're probably making a smug face and are amused by my childlike interest in your native sport).

Many of you who have followed the site for a while are aware that we love all kinds of world grappling and strive to learn as much about these ethnic grappling sports as we can.  We're fortunate that the NY Times wrote an excellent piece on it in yesterday's Sports section.  That's it.  We've converted.  DSTRYR/SG is now DSTRYR/L.

5 comments:

  1. How can I become a regular follower of this sport? Is there a newsletter or anything?

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    1. Not in English. Usually the sport is broadcast on TV every weekend. There are websites that streams it or websites with articles but they all be in French. Also, if you have the free to air receiver, that enable to watch international channels from Asia, the middle east and euope, there is a Senegalese channel available on it called RTS, that shows laamb every weekend, but the commentary of course would be in wolof.

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  2. I remember back in the 80s the old "Ripley's Believe it or Not" (the REAL one with Jack Palance, not the crappy 90s one with Dean Cain!) did a segment on this sport. The guys in it were JACKED! They said stadiums would riot if their hometown guy lost sometimes.

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  3. Didn't Dhani Jones do an episode on this a few seasons ago? I also think Anderson Silva visited and did a light match a while back.Very interesting to see wrestling in other countries

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