Nobility, simplicity, dexterity, agility, admiration for the winner and respect for the defeated to name just a few are the things that characterize Canarian wrestling.
This sport originated before the arrival of the Spanish and is still a popular sport in the islands to day. The goal couldn’t be clearer, to make the opponent lose balance so that they touch the ground with any part of their body other than the soles of their feet. In order to do that, wrestlers use techniques, called “mañas”, which are a movement or a series of movements that aim to put the opponent off balance without hitting him. Wrestlers can use their legs and arms and move their bodies in any way in compliance with the rules.
These techniques can be categorized into three groups: gripping, blocking and deflecting. The fight or “luchada” takes place in a round field known as “terrero”, which consists of two concentric circles of 15 and 17 metres each. Each team is has 12 wrestlers. Opponents face three rounds or “bregas”, and the winner is the one that is able to knock down their adversary twice. The winning team is the one with the most undefeated wrestlers.
In the old days, fights were either spontaneous confrontations in the rural areas after a hard days work or took place in the towns that were equipped with a proper arena for it. In this way wrestlers started fighting either individually or in groups and eventually travelled to other neighbourhoods, towns or islands to compete. The “First set of rules of Canarian Wrestling” goes back to 1925. However, it was only in the 1940s when the formalisation of the sport began with the creation of the first Canarian Wrestling Federation, This was based in Tenerife, and is a branch of the Spanish Federation of Wrestling. In 1947 it was split into two to cover the two provinces, thus originating the federations of Tenerife and Gran Canaria. Finally, in 1986, all existing sets of rules were put together resulting in the “United Rules of Canarian Wrestling”.
Nowadays, Canarian Wrestling is deeply rooted throughout the islands and is ruled by an independent Regional Federation of Canarian Wrestlers, with headquarters in all the seven islands. Many followers of the sport are also sponsors.