Ssireum

Ssireum

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer KimHyokyung(金孝慶)

A traditional holiday game pitting wrestlers against one another, passed down both as a form of entertainment during seasonal festivals, including Dano, Chuseok, and Baekjung, as well as serving as a physical fitness training sport for soldiers.

The origin of the word ssireum is believed to be the Korean verb ssirunda, meaning to confront each other, comparing strength. Gakjeo, Baekhui, and Gakgi are other names for this classic game, all denoting the same meaning to confront and fight. The first records of Ssireum in Korean history were found on wall paintings of two Goguryeo tombs, the Tomb of Ssireum (Gakjeochong), and Jangcheon-1ho Tomb, grounding the assumption that that Ssireum was a popular sport during the Goguryeo Period.

Ssireum was enjoyed by a wide range of people, from the yangban (the gentry of the Joseon Period) to commoners. The changes and developments that were made through social diffusion and being played intensively during certain times of the year, are the unique characteristics of Ssireum, while it has also become a seasonal custom of Korea, played on Dano, Baekjung, and Chuseok.

Traditional Ssireum competitions are generally held for three days, under one-round elimination rules. The final winner received a yellow cow as a prize. Given the fact that farming was considered a foundation of the nation in the past, the prize helped encourage more diligent farming.

The Korea Ssireum Association was founded on November 30, 1981, as a preparation agency for the professional Ssireum league. The first Cheonhajangsa Ssireum Competition was held on April 14, 1983, prior to Ssireum becoming the second most prominent professional sport of Korea. The Korea Ssireum Federation holds the Cheonhajangsa Ssireum Competition, Seollaljangsa Ssireum Competition, Chuseokjangsa Ssireum Competition and Jiyeokjangsa Ssireum Competition, and the grant titles of Cheonhajangsa, Baekdujangsa, Hallajangsa, Geumgangjangsa, and Taebaekjangsa, to the winners of the competitions.

Ssireum is one of the oldest customs of Korea, deciding a winner through a hand-to-hand competition of brute strength between two people. There were not many tools for entertainment in the past, and Ssireum was the easiest and most accessible, as it only required the use of one’s bare hands. It was an iconic game for everyone, from children and young adults to adults, in a society where people of every age group lived in harmony. Also, people could compare their strength through competition while naturally developing their physical fitness during farming’s off-season.

Ssireum

Ssireum
Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer KimHyokyung(金孝慶)

A traditional holiday game pitting wrestlers against one another, passed down both as a form of entertainment during seasonal festivals, including Dano, Chuseok, and Baekjung, as well as serving as a physical fitness training sport for soldiers.

The origin of the word ssireum is believed to be the Korean verb ssirunda, meaning to confront each other, comparing strength. Gakjeo, Baekhui, and Gakgi are other names for this classic game, all denoting the same meaning to confront and fight. The first records of Ssireum in Korean history were found on wall paintings of two Goguryeo tombs, the Tomb of Ssireum (Gakjeochong), and Jangcheon-1ho Tomb, grounding the assumption that that Ssireum was a popular sport during the Goguryeo Period.

Ssireum was enjoyed by a wide range of people, from the yangban (the gentry of the Joseon Period) to commoners. The changes and developments that were made through social diffusion and being played intensively during certain times of the year, are the unique characteristics of Ssireum, while it has also become a seasonal custom of Korea, played on Dano, Baekjung, and Chuseok.

Traditional Ssireum competitions are generally held for three days, under one-round elimination rules. The final winner received a yellow cow as a prize. Given the fact that farming was considered a foundation of the nation in the past, the prize helped encourage more diligent farming.

The Korea Ssireum Association was founded on November 30, 1981, as a preparation agency for the professional Ssireum league. The first Cheonhajangsa Ssireum Competition was held on April 14, 1983, prior to Ssireum becoming the second most prominent professional sport of Korea. The Korea Ssireum Federation holds the Cheonhajangsa Ssireum Competition, Seollaljangsa Ssireum Competition, Chuseokjangsa Ssireum Competition and Jiyeokjangsa Ssireum Competition, and the grant titles of Cheonhajangsa, Baekdujangsa, Hallajangsa, Geumgangjangsa, and Taebaekjangsa, to the winners of the competitions.

Ssireum is one of the oldest customs of Korea, deciding a winner through a hand-to-hand competition of brute strength between two people. There were not many tools for entertainment in the past, and Ssireum was the easiest and most accessible, as it only required the use of one’s bare hands. It was an iconic game for everyone, from children and young adults to adults, in a society where people of every age group lived in harmony. Also, people could compare their strength through competition while naturally developing their physical fitness during farming’s off-season.