Originated and developed with the formation of the Korean nation, ssirum (Korean wrestling) came to become a typical event of the nation’s ancient sports.
Murals in tombs dating back to the period of the Three States have pictures that visually show the Korean wrestling.
Murals in assirum tomb (that dates back to the late 4th century) and another tomb (that date back to the mid-fifth century) in Ji’an in China’s Jilin Province show vividly scenes of sirrum matches in those days.
A mural of the ssirum tomb shows two wrestlers competing in strength, holding each other’s thigh band an elderly man standing as referee with the help of a stick near them.
This shows that at that time ssirum was a refined, high-level sport taking place moderately and as demanded by a referee and the relevant rules.
The sport spread widely across the neighbouring countries. Kyongdojapji, a bookwritten byRyuTuk Gong, a realist scholar in the 18th century, tells that Chinese people vyingly learned to play ssirum, calling it koryogi (skill of Koguryo).
History of Koryo Dynasty tells that ssirum was a popular sport that even kings of the dynasty enjoyed playing.
In Koryosirrum masters were called yongsa (warrior), and the sport often took place during a break of work or on folk holidays among the people.
During the feudal Joson dynasty the sport was widely spread among broad sections of Koreans.
Kyongdojapjidescribes the fact that sirrum matches took place grandly at that time and various movements of the sport, including the ones of hooking and pulling a rival’s left leg inwards by one’s right one, hooking and pulling a rival’s leg outside by one’s leg and grabbing a rival by the back of the neck while pulling oneself backward.
At the time, too, the sport took place a lot on holidays, and the one of Pyongyang in the northwestern part of Korea was famous nationwide.
The city witnessed a lot of relevant matches held grandly in the yard of Yongmyong Temple on Moran Hill and out of the south gate of the inner fortress in the Walled City of Pyongyang.
Tusionhae compiled in the 15th century andPakthongsaonhae in the 16th century have records on the sport, calling it sirum. And Muyedobothongjionhae (Muyedobothongjimeans Illustrated Book of Martial Arts) compiled in 1790 describes the sport as ssirum, proving the abovementioned fact.
Enriched with the formation and development of the nation, ssirumnow takes place widely as a typical national sport under the wise leadership of the Workers’ Party of Korea which stresses the need to maintain and actively encourage the culture of the nation and the tradition of national sports.