Canarian wrestling is without doubt the most popular local sport. The first records of its existence were made by chroniclers from the period of conquest of the archipelago. According to these historians, the island’s early inhabitants would settle their differences by challenging their opponent to fight as a sign of honour, skill, strength and valour. The loser would always respect the winner’s word.
This form of wrestling plays an invaluable role in the most traditional and important festivities celebrated in the municipality of Tías, the birthplace of many great wrestlers. Their attire, known as ‘ropa de brega‘ (literally meaning fighting clothes), consists of a loose pair of shorts that are tight at the bottom to help hold on to the opponent, and a short-sleeved t-shirt.
The ring is a round space with a floor made of volcanic sand on which the wrestling or ‘grabbing’ takes place. The aim is to knock down the opponent and make them touch the sand with any part of their body other than their feet. To do so, the wrestlers use a variety of techniques and tricks with very peculiar names such as burra (donkey), vacío (emptiness), traspiés (stumble), cogida de muslo(thigh grab) or levantada (lift-up). The teams are made up of twelve wrestlers who are disqualified after two falls. Each wrestler defeated represents one point. The trumps are wrestlers who, thanks to their technique or strength, provide most points for the team by bringing down more than one rival per round.