FORGET everything you thought you knew about the honorable sport of womyns’ mud wrestling. Recency bias and unaccredited media are responsible for instilling the perverse idea that scantily-clad womyn cavort with each other in mud for the sole benefit of amusing drunken, testosterone-fuelled men. Nothing could be further from the truth, however, as we explain below.
The fact is that womyns’ wrestling (in general) has existed since the dawn of civilization. It is a combat sport as natural and normal an activity as just about any sport. Sources differ on the original purpose of womyns’ wrestling; some say it was a way of demonstrating physical prowess, others claim it was a means of preparing the female physique for the rigors of childbirth, or possibly as part of the ‘mating ritual’, others yet suggest it was how an ‘alpha female’ would assert herself and assume responsibility for her community – of both men and womyn.
Since around 700CE, mud has been employed in the wrestling contest as a means of leveling the competition and ensuring that the most skillful womyn wrestler would prevail. Until the introduction of mud, wrestling contests were usually won by the tallest or strongest womyn, who were able to overcome their more technically-gifted opponents with mere brute force. By adding water to baked earth, the wrestlers would soon lose balance and fall to the ground, resulting in close-quarters combat. Just like Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) today, on-the-ground wrestling (in mud) demands that the womyn wrestler uses all her courage, skill, determination, agility, and guile to defeat her opponent.
Of course, the addition of ‘mud’ to the wrestling contest was no mere accidental discovery. It was introduced to the sport by the tribes of Southern Sudan and Nubia, who had always followed ‘purist’ wrestling. These tribes had used womyns’ mud wrestling as part of a ceremonial initiation, usually buck naked. Theirs was a celebration of life, of the female physique, rejoicing in health an physical perfection.
So let us reclaim womyns’ mud wrestling for its feminist roots. It has a noble history and deserves to take front stage on stage and screen.