Wrestling: The Oldest and Most Universal Sport
From the beginning of time, before there were written records, scholars believe that men wrestled. "Moreover, almost every known ancient people participated in some form of the game" (History of Sports 14). Originally, men were required to use wrestling skills to defend themselves from beasts of the field and other men. It is from this prehistoric way of life that wrestling was created. From this, men began to practice and create new holds and moves to improve upon the sport. They begin to compete with each other just as young brothers and sister's fight and grapple. So did the people of ancient times. This way of life, protection, and amusement, through growth, progressed into the magnificent sport of wrestling.
This sport, through its beginnings in ancient civilizations, has withstood the test of time. It has survived many obstacles through the years. Despite its difficulties, it has spread like wildfire and proven itself as the most prominent sport known to man. It has not only become the most popular sport but also was the first sport ever to be practiced in recorded history. The oldest artifact discovered, stone slabs, depict carvings of wrestlers in hold and leverage positions dating back at least fifteen to twenty thousand years (The Oldest Sport 1). Another famous artifact depicting the first known wrestling match was discovered in 1938, while digging at an ancient Sumerian temple near present day Baghdad, Iraq. This small bronze sculpture dates back to 3000 B.C. Wrestling was such a respected sport even before this time that "the famous Epic of Gilgamesh compiled about 2000 B.C." was about a champion wrestler who became king over his land (History of Sports 18).
There is only one sport ever mentioned in the Bible and that is wrestling. The sport is mentioned in the Bible in the story of the Jewish patriarch Jacob, who wrestles with a messenger of God. "The name that Israel bestowed upon Jacob has been interpreted as `wrestler with God'" (Wrestling to Rasslin 14 ). The Bible also mentions that wrestlers from Israel in ancient days wore distinctive belts. Even Jesus, the Messiah, tells of the belt of Righteousness that relates to the struggle of good and evil. Isaiah, 11:5 states, "Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist." "The frequent biblical injunction to gird one's loins is a metaphor from belt wrestling that attests to the popularity of the sport among the people of ancient Israel" (Wrestling to Rasslin 14). These references show that even at such an early time in our history, wrestling was an important aspect of society.
Along with these references, there were more artifacts found at archeological sites of the Greeks, Romans, Jews, Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Indians, Chinese, Japanese, and even the Indians of North America. The Egyptians took wrestling very seriously and the commoners and nobles...