Lucha Canaria (Canary Islands, Spain)
Name of sport (game)
Name in native language
Place of practice (continent, state, nation)
Canary Islands (Spain)
Lucha Canaria comes from the Guanches, the earliest known natives of the Canary Islands, however, with limited contact between the archipelago, each island developed different rules.
In 1420, after the Spanish conquest, Alvar García de Santa María, first registered the wrestling techniques, including the use of referees. Only some of these early rules and techniques have survived to modern times. After the conquest, the sport became part of the islands’ tradition, usually being fought at celebrations or local festivals. The rules were established in 1872, making it one of the earliest defined forms of wrestling
The rules have been passed on from generation to generation for centuries. The genesis of discipline dates back to the earliest history of the archipelago. According to the chronicles, it appeared in the XV century during conquests. However, originally it was not the struggles of athletes, but one of the methods of resolving conflicts, which was based on respect for the opponent, or a good way to prepare for the war. Later, the fight became a part of religious ceremonies. During emigration, the inhabitants of Kanar spread it in Cuba and Venezuela. The key moment of the existence of sport was the establishment in 1943 of the Federación de Lucha Canaria.
In the 1940s several provincial federations were formed, leading to the formation of the Federación Española de Lucha in 1984. As it needs a sand circle, lucha is usually fought on special pitches, and important matches, particularly inter-island contests, are covered by local Canarian TV.
Homenaje a la Lucha Canaria by Juan Miguel Cubas, Avenida del Saladar in Morro Jable, Pájara, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
Players fight on a terrero, that is a round arena covered in sand. Teams consist of 12 people, and individual fights are in pairs. The goal of two players struggling with each other is to knock down the rival (it is enough to touch the ground with a different part of the body than the foot), for which one point is scored. The elimination is when the opponent is overturn twice. For this purpose, various techniques are used, such as donkey, cango, criminal throw, emptiness, tripping, muscle grip, toss, etc. The fight requires not only strength but also agility from the athlete. Tactical thinking, or even cunning, is important. Those who are able to defeat more than one opponent during the struggle are called puntales. A defeated player can offer his hand of the rival who escorts him from the ring in a respectful way, which also shows the nobility of the discipline.
Techniques using in Lucha Canaria:
Grasping: The wrestler may grasp any part of the opponent's body to try to unbalance and knock down the opponent.
Block: The wrestler can block a move by his opponent, and use his strength to unbalance his opponent.
Deflect: The wrestler can move his body to deflect a move by his opponent, and use the opponent's strength to unbalance him.
In recent years, the development of Canary stocks has been observed. There are various campaigns promoting programs supported eg by Cabildo di Tenerife. In particular regions and throughout the archipelago, there are numerous professions that the Federacion de Lucha Canaria is responsible for. Moreover, clubs participate in league and cup. Every club earns points in the general classification to reach the title at the end of the each season.
Federación de Lucha Canaria
Address: Callejón Cementerio, s/n - 38360 - Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Tel.: +34 922 251 452
Federación Insular de Lucha Canaria de El Hierro
Federación de Lucha Canaria de Gran Canaria
Address: Calle Fondos de Segura s/n, 35019 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Phone: +34 928 20 75 31, +34 928 20 75 30
Federación Insular de Lucha Canaria de Tenerife
Address: Call Adán Martin, 15; CP 38208, La Laguna, España
Tel.: +34 662 65 44; +34 922 25 72 55
Federación Insular de Lucha Canaria de La Palma
Address: C/ Francisca de Gazmira nº25 (2ºplanta) Edif. Usos Múltiples 38760, Los Llanos de Aridane, La Palma
Tel.: +34 922 46 18 61
Federación Insular de Lucha Canaria de Fuerteventura
Sources of information
• Alberto Orgaz Pérez, Ángel Palanco Aguilera, Manuel Porras García, Daniel Rivas Flores, Patrimonio Histórico Español del juego y del Deporte: Federación de Lucha Canaria, 2010
• Antonio Ayala, La lucha canaria, Mancomunidad de Cabildos de Las Palmas, Paln Cultural, 1977
• Francisco J. Antequera Amor, La lucha canaria en La Palma, Confederación de Cajas de Ahorros, 1989
• J. Morales Magyín, La Lucha Canaria, Ed. Centro de la Cultura Popular Canaria, La Laguna, 2004
• Joaquín Martínez del Reguero, La lucha canaria: una época dorada, Centro de la Cultura Popular Canaria, 1998
• José Hernandez Moreno, Lucha canaria: la preparación física del luchador, Dirección General de Deportes, 1989
• José Miguel Martin, La lucha canaria, sí, VeredaLibros, 2016
• José Peraza Lorenzo, Historia gráfica de la lucha canaria en Tenerife, siglo XX, Colectivo de Promotores de la Fundación Canaria de Lucha, 2007
• Juan Jeronimo Perez, Lucha Canaria, Santa Cruz de Tenerife: PEKIS, 1967
• Juan José Pacheco Lara (coordinator), Propuesta metodológica para la enseñanza de la Lucha Canaria en la educación básica, Gobierno de Canarias, 2010
• Pedro González Marrero, Iniciación a la Lucha Canaria, 1990
• Salvador Sanchez Garcia, Lucha Canaria, Teatro, Narrativa, Poesia, Ediciones del Cabildo Insular de Gran Canaria, 1995
History of Lucha Canaria - http://www.revistabinter.com/2016/11/02/historia-lucha-canaria/
Historia de Lucha Canaria - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTodHQK4q1c (Parte I)