single combat



Judo is the best tool for unbalancing someone. Breaking balance (kuzushi) is the aspect of Judo that sets it apart from other martial arts.
Ana Hormigo of Portugal (left), 2010 Euro Cup winner in the 52kg category, tries to unbalance her opponent. Marbell, Spain.
Photo by Jose A Dianes from his page in Flickr

'Upset her balance and take her down’

Truly women’s contest

Combative sports classification based on the balance contest

Balance, coordination, speed, discretion, quick wit, strength, grace and femininity!

Русская версия

Sumo is a straight balance contest
Francoise Harteveld of Netherlands managed to get Anna Zhigalova of Russia off balance
having thrown her on the dohyo in their women's open division match during the 16th Sumo World Championships on October 12, 2008, in Rakvere, Estonia
Photo by 'Getti Images' from the album Daylife

Gouren style of Brittany

Turkic belt wrestling Kuresh

Lucha Canaria

Mongol Boke
Mongolian wrestling Boke

Korean wrestling Ssireum

Iceland wrestling Glima

Freestyle wrestling. Takedown

Beach wrestling
Beach wrestling


Essentially standing contest, delicate struggling for keeping balance, with a substantial psychological component – this is just for us!
Amanda Bryant

Quick toe-to-toe strength and balance contest consisting in attempts to rock the other girl off her standing position. The main goal is to cause her to go off balance in order to make her touch the ground with any body part other than the sole of her feet (preferably by her back) or (in some styles) to push her out of the circle.

Spartans The first known official wrestling match happened at the 18th Olympic games in 708 B.C. There were two styles of Ancient Olympic Wrestling – ground style (‘Kato Pale’) and upright style (‘Orthia Pale’). The rules were the same except in the upright wrestling style a wrestler had to throw his opponent to the ground three separate times in order to win the match. The upright style was considered as more aesthetic and noble. By the way. ancient Spartan women wrestled just in the upright style.

As a matter of fact, the most of traditional wrestling styles all over the world essentially come to a balance contest. Whoever manages to drop the opponent having him/her touch the ground by any part other than a foot is a winner (or, in some styles to push the opponent out of the circle).

During past decades, just these wrestling forms became widely popular among women – both in form of official competitions of informal contests and tournaments.

The following combat activities and sports have to do with the category ‘Upset her balance and take her down’:
- Swiss wrestling Schwingen
- Celtic wrestling forms: Gouren, Backhold, etc.
- Iceland wrestling Glima
- Mongolian wrestling Boke
- Eurasian belt wrestling styles: Kuresh, etc.
- Lucha Canaria
- South American wrestling Huka-Huka
- Taraumara’s wrestling
- African wrestling styles: Bakweri tribal style (Wesuwa), Yakurr, etc.
- Korean wrestling Ssireum
- Contemporary “Beach wrestling” which essentially is a quintessence of all above mentioned styles

Japanese Judo wrestling which was the very first internationally accepted form of combative sports for women contains a few important elements, one of which is to force the opponent off balance and throw him/her down ending with an opponent largely on his/her back, demonstrating full control. This is the highest score a Judoka can achieve.

In other popular wrestling styles, such as freestyle, Greco-Roman and grappling, the main events occur on the ground but the phase of takedown is often decisive – a successful throw allow a wrestler to pin the opponent quickly or get a submission.

The contact sport style ‘Upset her balance and take her down’ seemed to be the form of contest precisely designed for women matching their psychology and physical nature. Competing in balance, coordination, speed, discretion, quick wit, strength, grace and femininity, women realize their natural desire for contesting (including physical) – without tough and brutal moves like punches to face, locking joints, squeezing the body, chokes, pain techniques, etc.

An amateur wrestling veteran said, "It should be an essentially standing contest, delicate struggling for keeping balance, with a substantial psychological component – this is just for us!"

The balance contest is quick, that’s why a contestant should sense the opponent’s intention, even hidden from spectator’s view, trying to sense her move even sooner than she did it. It is not just a physical but also an imperceptible psychological contest between two female characters.

Female matches in Schwingen, Sumo, Gouren and other ‘standing styles’ last just for seconds; they are full of not only physical but also psychological contest of two female characters. Even in the combative sports in which ground fighting is allowed, female standing contest and takedowns are the most impressive and gracious moments.

The strategy and tactics of a standing contest depend on rules and terms of a particular style, especially on admissibility of grasping the opponent’s attire. In some styles, wrestlers wear special belts (like Sumo, Kuresh, Ssireum) or combative shorts (Schwingen, Glima) or jackets (Judo, Boke, Lucha Canaria) as well as their combination (Gouren).In some styles a match begins in a given position (Sumo, Backhold). In other styles, wrestlers may grab each other by arms or torso (Wesuwa, Greco-Roman), in some – by legs (freestyle, beach).


A macthes in the Celtic wrestling style Backhold on the traditional festival in Scottlang highlands. A girl wrestle several guys - one after another/ And sometimes wins.

Episodes of the Celtic wrestling styles championships in 2009
Wrestlers start a match putting hands an the opponent's back
That's why one of the Celtic styles is called 'Backhold'

Peasant girls in Icelandic traditional attire wrestle in Glima style

Contest in Gouren, one of the most popular Celtic wrestling style

Wrestling matches on the Leboku festival in Nigerian city of Ugep

A wrestling match in the Wesuwa style in African tribe Bakweri, Cameroon
Stubborn furious struggle

Belt wrestling
A contest in the belt wrestling championship

A wrestling mathc in the Swiss style of Schwingen

Japanese wrestling Sumo

Swiss wrestling Schwingen

Celtic wrestling Backhold (Cumberland style)

Brazilian wrestling Huka-Huka

taraumara traditional wrestling. North Mexico

Wesuwa wrestling of Bakweri people in Nigeria

Japanese wrestling Judo. Photo from the website 'Fighting Style'

Ancient Viking wrestling in circle

Balance on one leg
One-leg balance contest

Upset her balance and take her down
Videoclips with some comments

Sumo wrestling is probably the most feminine combative sport - straight balance contest

Sumo Australian
SSRG Australian National Sumo Championship. Light category

Sumo Australian
SSRG Australian National Sumo Championship. Middle category

Sumo Australian
SSRG Australian National Sumo Championship. Height category in which not the heaviest win

Sumo Australian
Girls wrestle in a TV studio in Japan

Sumo matches on the 2009 World Game in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Height category
Mighty Estonian Kairi Kuur skillfully uses her huge mass but in the final match she will lose to another heavyweight, Russian Ekaterina Keib

Height category
Olessya Kovalenko has an excellent abilities to keep her balance while getting her opponent off it

Middle category
The most aggressive sumotori in the championship (in black) starts her attacks with butting her opponent body (which seems to be allowed by the rules)


Light category
Persistent fight of two slender girls for teh balance control

Balance struggle in various wrestling styles

Beach wrestling
Beach wrestling
2010 USA National championships
Brittney Geanng managed to defeate heavier Laurie Fisher

Fighting Style
Fragile Jeannett from the Fighting Style club posesses incredible sense of balance

Classic Ancient wrestling style tournament in Georgian University in 2008.

Amateur wrestling
Grappling contest in which everything is determined in the standing struggle

Balance contest in Judo, Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling styles
Although main events usually occur on the ground, success in standing and a good takedown are often decisive in a match

Ippon - decisive throw in Judo
All-Women championship in 2006

Greco-Roman wrestling
In a high school Greco-Roman wrestling match, the one wins who has better sense of balance

SFreestyle wrestling
Successful balancing in standing, throw and quick pin

Freestyle wrestling
One artful move and the heavier wrestler is instantly pinned

>> Combat Activities

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Last updated: December 1, 2010

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