Strong Wrist, Brave Heart: The Pehlivan (Wrestler)

Hamza nib is our father, Kel Alico, Koca Yusuf, Kurtdereli and Adali Halil are our masters, Kirkpinar is our field of contest for brave men. We do not worry about being under; we do not feel happy for being on top; our aim is to become the wrestling champion well deservedly…


The word Pehlivan is in Persian language. Although its real meanings are courageous, bold and brave, officer, governor, big and heavy and honest people are called as Pehlivan, too.

During the times of Seljuk, the warriors who showed heroism, the wrestlers and the shooters who went big were called as Pehlivan and also this name was used for only sportsmen at the beginning of the 16th century. This usage of the word Pehlivan continued until the end of the era of Sultan Mahmut the 2nd.

The wrestlers who attend the greased wrestling contests wrestle in these categories according to their height and age.

A) Little is divided into two according to its weight and appearance:
1- Little (between 8 – 10 ages)
2- Little (between 10 – 12 ages)

B) Encouraging
12 – 14 ages

C) Very Windy (Tozkoparan)
14 – 16 ages

D) Deck Small
1- 16 – 18 ages
2- Maximum 2 years experienced in wrestling
3- Maximum 70 kg

E) Deck Medium
1- 18 – 19 ages
2- Maximum 80 kg

F) Deck Big
1- 19 – 21 ages
2- Maximum 90 kg

G) For Small Medium Small, Small Medium Big, Big Medium, Steerage, Head, if the wrestlers above 21 are less than 65 kg; with the decision of the referee committee they can only wrestle in deck big.

The award which is given to the winner in the categories except head and to the wrestlers placed is an encouraging one. The wrestler’s award may be money or horse, ox, calf or ram. In old times, the champion wrestler was given a camel; the steerage wrestler was given a bull; big-medium was given a mare and the others were given similar things.

In historical Kirkpinar wrestling, the winners in steerage ascend to champion. The winners and seconds of the others wrestle in an upper category in the historical Kirkpinar wrestling.

Head wrestling


Attending to Kirkpinar, the heart of the Turkish wrestling, fore playing on the field of contest for brave men and wrestling are the reasons of feeling proud for all the wrestlers. The most exciting wrestling is done during head wrestling.

The first aim of the wrestlers who will wrestle for the championship is to become the champion wrestler in Kirkpinar. But the other aim of the champion wrestler is to have the Gold Belt forever by winning the wrestling 3 years successively.

Before the Republic, the most important famous Champion Wrestlers were Kel Alico, Koca Yusuf, Kurtdereli Mehmet, Adali Halil.

During the time of Republic, Ali Acar in Bandirma, Hüseyin Alkaya in Tekirdag, ibrahim Karabacak in Samsun, Aydin Demir in Karamürsel, Hüseyin Cokal in Denizli, Ahmet Tasci in Karamürsel stand out.

Except the wrestlers who are invited and who are the winners in steerage category, the wrestlers who can cover the requirements below can attend the contests in Kirkpinar.

National wrestlers in freestyle and Greco-roman categories who can attend Kirkpinar:

- The winners of European championships in freestyle and Greco-roman style in adult wrestling as 96 kg and 120 kg.
- People who are among the first three in the world championships and the Olympics.
- The winners of the World and European championships in young freestyle as 120 kg.

The sportsmen who are allowed by the Federation Technical Committee to join the national team wrestle for the championship provided that they get permission from the Federation.

Before and after the Republic, the Champion Wrestlers in Kirkpinar year by year are these.
Recap Kara from Ünye, Ordu, who won the 643rd historical Kirkpinar championship in 2004 when he was 22, is the youngest champion wrestler in the history of Republic.

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