Young Mongolian archer at Nadaam festival in Tsagaannuur, Mongolia. Naadam is properly know as “Eryn gurvan naadam," after the three manly games of wrestling, horse racing, and archery making up the core activities of the National Festival. It is the most important festival of the year.
From the steppes of Inner Mongolia to the national stadiums of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolian wrestling has been practiced, largely unchanged, for more than 7,000 years. The ancient sport is known as Bökh, from the Mongolian word for “durability.” In the courts of nomadic khans, the sport was considered (along with archery and horsemanship) to be one of the “three manly arts,” and valued as a way to prepare young soldiers for the physical and mental experience of warfare. In a typical Bökh match, eac