|Cornish Wrestling was at one point extremely famous across Europe for being one of the primary examples of Western Martial Arts. Unlike its more violent neighbour Devonshire wrestling, Cornish wrestling is based on skill and balance and in many ways in its conception is not disimilar to Judo.
17th century, historian Richard Carew wrote of Cornish wrestling.
“Wrastling is as full of manliness, more delightful and less dangerous (than hurling) for you shall hardly find an assembly of boyes in Devon and Cornwall, where the most untowardly amongst them will not as readily give you a muster of this exercise as you are prone to require it
Each contestant wears a canvas jacket which is the wear the majority of holds are placed.
The objective of Cornish Wrestling is to throw your opponent and make him land as flat as possible on his back. Three Sticklers (referees) watch and control each bout whilst also recording down the score of points achieved in play. Four Pins are located on the back of a wrestler, two at the back of each shoulder and two either side just above the buttocks. If a wrestler manages to throw his opponent flat onto his back, simultaneously scoring with all 4 pins they score four points in that single throw and this is called a “Back” to which the bout is then finished and the throwing wrestler is the winner. The Sticklers will each raise their sticks when they perceive a “Back” has been achieved. If two sticklers raise their sticks but one does not a back is still awarded.
The official website of the Cornish Wrestling Association can be found here including places to see Cornish Wrestling bouts.
A video of Cornish Wrestling follows.