Indian mud wrestlers Kushti endure pain every day to train in the akhara practice rooms. They both nurture many great dreams.
The Indian and religious caste system is left at the door of the traditional wrestling academy of Kushti, where the pursuit of body beauty and strength becomes the path to escape poverty.
Amol Patil, 23, is a security guard, standing guard in a boot outside a company office in Mumbai. His muscular arms and legs bounced inside the uniform with polyester fiber. In the evening, he stepped into sacred mud holes, where he could unleash his strength.
Kushti is the traditional form of Indian wrestling. The winner of Kushti is the one who puts the opponent’s shoulder on the front floor in many ways: throwing, locking, pinning or kneeling. The photo is a poster of American bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman.
Patil is a wrestler on the traditional mud arena of India, a wrestler Kushti. This type of wrestling appeared from the Mughals and was passed from generation to generation. Kushti is practiced in akhara, or the wrestling academy, which sets strict and encompassing principles of a suffocating, painful atmosphere. “My father and grandfather are Kushti wrestlers in Kohlapur village, where we live. But they are too poor to pursue this,” said Patil. “They don’t have money to pay for expensive foods and fruits. I started training when I was 10 to complete their glory dreams.”
Kushti opens a path of fame and wealth for Indian boys from poor families. Patil is lucky because when he started training, his brother had a job in the police industry. “That means we have money to buy almonds, milk, eggs, lamb, butter and fruit, the things I need in my diet,” he said. Kushti practice, according to Patil, is torture. “What I hate the most is that my father used to wake me up at 4:30. I hate him.”
“When the weather is cold, there is a monsoon, I have to run for hours in the fields, then go back to practice and do weight training. Then I go to school again, go home and start practicing again. Any joy or relaxation, “Patil shares the austere Kushti practice. Patil is the lowest and lightest person in the group. His father had to urge him to wrestle with bigger and healthier boys. Gradually, his body grew and stamina increased. “The feeling is great when you know your body is in the best state and can handle anything,” Patil said.