Kyun (Myanmar)

Kyun (Myanmar)

  • Name of sport (game): Kyun - Rakhine (Arakan) wrestling
  • Place of practice (continent, state, nation):

    Myanmar, (Arakan) Rakhine

  • History:

    A traditional sport, Kyun, is very popular for Rakhine people in Myanmar. This sport began from the reign of former Rakhine kings in history. Figure of Kyun sport can be seen on the walls around the cave of Shaitthaung Temple built by King Mong Bar Gri reigned in Mrauk-U in A.D 1531.

  • Description:

    Kyun - It derives from Kyar–Yun. Kyar” means “tiger” and “yun” means “quick”. Therefore, the complete meaning of “Kyun” is the quick tiger. The Rakhine wrestler can be called as a quick tiger because of his ability in wrestling movements and techniques.
    In this competition, there are two steps. A new one can compete only in the step of silver gong (Nge-maung-dan) and a successful and well-experienced one can continue to compete in the step of golden gong (Shwe-maung-dan). Famous Rakhine wrestlers are Nyalar U Tun San Phyu, U Lun Hla Oo (Nyalar U Tun San Phyu's elder son), U Kyaw Min (Nyalar U Tun San Phyu's younger son), U Shwe Aung, U Maung Phyu Thee and U Maung Ni widely known in Myanmar.
    There are 28 ways of Kyun wrestling and its 23 rules to follow. In Kyun wrestling, of two rivals, one is catcher and the other is defender Kyun wrestlers gird their loins wear a white belt and a black belt each. Their upper bodies have no clothes and are barefoot. This competition is done in the smooth and wide fields.
    While competing, the catcher wrestler has to try to control the other three times. If he does not win even in the third chance, the defender becomes the catcher again. They use the ways of grappling, grasping, kicking, (leg)-putting, (leg) hooking and (leg) twisting in trying to make the rival fall down and win. There are two Kyun referees to watch carefully and make a decision whether two wrestlers use the right and systematic wrestling methods or not. The two referees' active movement is called Kyarlar.
    Rakhine traditional Kyun wrestling was held in royal occasions in the reign of former Rakhine kings. Today, it is accompanied with pagoda festival, hoisting Hti (umbrella), funeral, Thingyan water festival and boat racing. If there are many competitors in Kyun wrestling, it takes for three days to select the winner. The last day of final match is for silver gong match and golden gong match. The winner or the loser can be awarded from the audience. The prize golden gong or silver gong is quite purely made of gold or silver and weighs one or two hundredth of a viss.
    In the former days, precious diamond gong used to be in the central part of the golden gong. A famous Kyun wrestler's pleasant mind in his success makes him strong and confident for his future life.

  • Current status:

    Practiced. The “Kyun” wrestling is usually performed at the pagoda festivals.

  • Importance (for practitioners, communities etc.):

    Rakhine people have a long tradition of holding wrestling competitions during the annual festivals in their towns and villages. It is one of the Rakhine traditional sports which mainly based on physical ability to uplift the happiness and physical prowess. It’s a kind of martial art. The skill of wrestling and making one’s rival fall on to the ground while avoiding hid attack is called “Kyun”.
    Kyun sport, Rakhine wrestling, is a physical art for men Rakhine men are trained this art starting from childhood. The strong man who can wrestle well is regarded and honoured as "Kyun than" in Rakhine. Rakhine kyun sport is similar to wrestler in some way but it is quite different in rules and methods. A famous and outstanding Kyunthan had many difficulties to face and win rivals and matches.

  • Sources of information :

    Aung, Myar. Famous Monuments of Mrauk-U, (2nd ed.). Yangon, Myanmar. Middle Line.



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