‘K-Ssireum’ started to change… Will there be a dedicated arena?

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Ssireum, a sport unique to the nation. It is pursuing changes in a wide range of areas, from player regulations to competition management and exposure to the public. Now, it contains the will to not be soaked in the nostalgia of the past heyday. We look at the steps taken by Ssireum to restore its symbolism as a traditional culture and its status as a popular sport.

■ Foreigners OK, Ssireum players who started opening doors for player registration Ssireum

players with different hair, eyes, and skin colors are expected to appear.

To the extent that it was designated as a national intangible cultural property in 2017, the perception that ‘ssireum is equal to national legitimacy’ has been strong.

Because of that, skin color, lineage, and nationality rather became barriers to entering Ssireum. Only ‘Koreans’ could register as official wrestlers in the Korea Ssireum Association. The Ssireum Association held ‘World Ssireum Exchange Exhibition’ in the past, but this had a strong feeling of emphasizing ‘our Ssireum using people from around the world’ rather than ‘Globalization of Ssireum’.

Elementary school player ‘Kim Wendy’ who can become the number 1 foreign wrestler
However, the bolt of our Ssireum, which had been tightly closed, was finally opened.

On the 16th, the Korean Ssireum Association held a board meeting and officially permitted foreigners to register as Ssireum players. It was limited to middle school students, but it is a big change that will be a turning point in our wrestling history, which emphasized ‘tradition’.

Beginning with ‘Wendy Kim, a 2nd-generation refugee wrestler’ whom KBS met and reported on, the number of foreign children entering wrestling is expected to increase. Maybe soon we will see a foreign player defeating a Korean player and holding a bull trophy at our wrestling ring.

It remains to be seen what impact and effect it will have on the domestic wrestling ecosystem, but it is clear that a fresh wind that has not blown in our wrestling has begun to blow.

■ Traditional ssireum that goes beyond the fence and approaches the public

On Children’s Day on the 5th, a wrestling arena was held inside the National Folk Museum of Korea in Seoul.

Numerous children and family visitors touched the loincloth on the wrestling board installed in the lobby of the museum, experienced wrestling themselves, and tasted the beauty of wrestling.

In particular, foreign visitors wearing hanbok looked at the wrestling with interesting eyes. A Japanese tourist who experienced wrestling in person said, “It’s similar to sumo, but I can feel the charm of wrestling. It’s fun.”

The Ssireum Association and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, which confirmed the positive response from the field, are determined to provide a venue for wrestling that continues to reach the public. On holidays such as Dano (June 18), which is the ‘Ssireum Day’, and Chuseok, ‘Visiting Traditional Ssireum’ events will be additionally held.

Like the sports entertainment program ‘The Joy of Ssireum’ that caused the wrestling craze, they are ready to actively produce wrestling content other than broadcasting.

■ Concerns about ‘Sports to Watch’

The focus of the wrestling world메이저놀이터, which pursues change and innovation, is ultimately on ‘recovery of value and popularity as a sport’.

With the judgment that it would not be possible to escape the existing frame only by advocating tradition and legitimacy, a strategy was set up to establish a so-called ‘premium image’ of wrestling by differentiating major competitions.

In particular, we plan to make the four biggest competitions (New Year’s Day, Dano, Chuseok, and Cheonhajangsa) into so-called ‘major competitions’ so that both participating players and visiting spectators can feel a different atmosphere than now. .

To this end, there is an urgent need to establish a stadium exclusively for wrestling, one of the wrestling world’s long-cherished projects.

If a dedicated wrestling stadium is created in major cities such as Seoul or metropolitan cities according to the ‘K-Ssireum promotion plan’ declared by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, both the targeted ‘major competition’ strengthening and public accessibility to ‘sports wrestling’ can gain momentum.

In many respects, Ssireum stands in front of the winds of change. Let’s pay attention to our ssireum’s move to rise again toward the national sport after a fierce ‘battle of loincloths’ after a long period of stagnation.

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