Georgian Wrestling: Chidaoba

Georgian Wrestling, or Chidaoba, is an ancient martial art form that has been practiced in Georgia for centuries. It combines elements of both wrestling and self-defense techniques to create a unique combat system.

Georgian Wrestling is known for its emphasis on technique over strength, with the goal of outsmarting opponents by using leverage and skillful maneuvering rather than brute force.

In this article, we’ll explain what Georgian wrestling is, its history, and why it remains popular today.

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Table of Contents

What is Georgian Wrestling (Chidaoba)

Georgian Wrestling is a combat sport that has been around for centuries and is still practiced today. It combines elements of wrestling and self-defense techniques to create a unique martial art form and is mostly influenced by Judo, Sambo, and Folkstyle wrestling.

The code of conduct associated with Chidaoba is founded on gallantry, and it’s not unusual for wrestlers to conclude the match by performing a Georgian folk dance. The intricate nature of this unique form of wrestling dictates that there are an estimated two-hundred holds and counter holds; as such, Chidaoba demands creativity from its participants.

Moreover, there are different types of Georgian Wrestling, such as Movludoba (called “free wrestling”), Soldatoba (military wrestling), and Rekviatura (stylized wrestling). Georgian Wrestling emphasizes technique and agility rather than brute strength, with the goal of outsmarting opponents with leverage and skillful maneuvers.

The Georgian Wrestling Federation is responsible for all regulations related to the sport such as rules and regulations, tournament formats, etc. The federation held its first national championship in 1991 and since then has organized several national and international tournaments. The federation also provides training programs for wrestlers to help them improve their technique and strategy.

The History of Georgian Wrestling

The roots of Georgian Wrestling go back to ancient times when it was passed down from generation to generation and was taught by village elders. Over time, Georgian Wrestling has been heavily influenced by Judo, Sambo, and Folkstyle wrestling, creating a unique style of combat.

In the modern era, Georgian Wrestling has become popular in the Olympic Games. In 1996, Georgian wrestlers won the first Olympic medal, as Eldar Kurtanidze won third place in the Freestyle light-heavyweight M category. Since then, Georgian Wrestling has gained more attention and recognition as a legitimate combat sport form.

Georgian Wrestling Rules

Georgian Wrestling is a sport governed by its own rules, which are designed to ensure the fairness and safety of all competitors. The rules are simple:

the match is lasting five minutes with almost no stops. The goal is to throw your opponent on the ground with his back and shoulders touching the ground simultaneously. If a contestant is unable to complete this in five minutes, then whoever has more points (awarded for successful holds) wins the match. The rules also dictate that all spectators must stay silent during the match, in order to not distract the wrestlers.

Georgian Wrestling Techniques


When performing the Sarma action, one will place their leg between both of their opponent’s legs and then use the heel to grab onto the back of each shin. There are also multiple forms of this technique such as flared, heeled, off-the-shoulder, and more that could be used with varying levels of success.


The wrestler tightens their grip by inserting one hand into the opponent’s ear and passing it around to their shoulder. They then insert the second hand in between their legs and wrap them around for stability before elevating with leg and hip thrusts. To complete the move, they pull towards themselves before throwing them off balance. Additional Kauri types are outer sleeve, knee-length middle, or closed middle.


The wrestler with the front part of the foot pushes the opponent on the shin from the outside, pulls him with one hand to the shoulders, and pulls the opponent off balance with the other. It also has its options by pressing the elbow, or by putting the hand on the shoulders, etc. 


Ghodjuri is when the wrestler wraps his arms around the opponent’s waist, pulls him towards him, grabs him, and, turning his body to the left or right, throws him onto the track. Types of Ghodjuri front, rear, and side.


When the wrestler puts his hand on the opponent’s belt and ear, puts one leg forward, the other behind, balances on the front leg, bends a little at the knees, turns around, slips his side under the opponent’s stomach, and pushes him in. It will be held with the knees, it will carry and throw the opponent. The types of grapples are short, arm-locked, deep, long monad, etc.

Hip Holding

When the wrestler puts his hand on the opponent’s crotch and belt, shifts the balance to the front leg, steps the back leg between the opponent’s legs, bends a little at the knees, leans the hip against the opponent’s thigh, and pushes the hip. It will be held on the knees, pulled by hand, and thrown on the hip. The hip also has variations: bilateral hip, hand-bent hip, inverted hip, etc.


Kikulni is when the wrestler puts his hand in the opponent’s and with a false movement takes him out of balance, quickly turns around, slides his shoulders and hips to his stomach and shoulders, gets on his knees, and grabs the opponent’s back, bends forward, throws him down by carrying his neck.


Is when the wrestler can lift an opponent with their hands and feet before throwing them back. There are several types of turns that can be used in this style of wrestling including outer turn, hand-passed middle turn, etc.

Georgian Wrestling Uniforms and Gear

Georgian wrestlers usually wear traditional leather belts and shorts. The belt is mostly black or brown but sometimes features decorative patterns. Wrestlers may also wear headgear to protect their heads during the match.

Shin guards and ankle braces are also recommended for protection against injuries. Nowadays, many Georgian wrestlers are influenced by modern wrestling and therefore wear a wrestling singlet, a BJJ gi, or training shorts.

Is Chidaoba Useful for Self-defense?

Chidaoba is very useful for self-defense, unlike other types of wrestling which are not recommended for self-defense (freestyle, folkstyle, Greco roman). It relies heavily on joint manipulation, balance disruption, and throws and takedowns pretty much like Judo and Sambo.

This makes it suitable for self-defense in almost all kinds of situations.

The throws and takedowns allow you to take your opponent down and control them, while the joint manipulation techniques can help you to control or disable your opponent. It also has practical applications in law enforcement and military training, as it teaches the necessary skills to effectively and safely handle violent situations.

Is it similar to Sambo or Judo?

There are some similarities between Sambo and Judo, as well as Chidaoba. Both Judo and Sambo rely heavily on throws and takedowns, as well as joint manipulation techniques.

However, Chidaoba is a more aggressive form of wrestling, and the techniques are focused on attacking and taking down an opponent as quickly as possible. The throws and takedowns tend to be quicker, more dynamic, and have a much higher level of control.

It is also quite different from Sambo and Judo in terms of the rules and regulations, as it allows more contact than either style. But as mentioned, all three have a lot in common in terms of throwing techniques and locks.

Is wrestling popular in Georgia?

Wrestling has a long and proud history in Georgia and is still very popular today. It is a national sport, and there are many tournaments held throughout the country each year. Wrestling is also a popular part of the school system, and many children learn wrestling as part of physical education classes. It is also common to see wrestling matches held at festivals and fairs.

Overall, wrestling is an important part of Georgian culture and heritage and continues to be popular today.

Why does Georgian Wrestling Remain Popular Today?

The success of Geno Petriashvili in Tokyo 2020, winning the silver medal in the heavyweight freestyle category, has certainly helped to bring more attention and recognition to Georgian Wrestling. More and more athletes and wrestlers understand the unique techniques and skills of Georgian Wrestling and appreciate its effectiveness in competition.

In addition, the traditional style of wrestling is still popular among the general public in Georgia, who continue to watch and enjoy it. The culture of wrestling in the country is very strong and it is seen as a way of connecting with Georgia’s past.

Lastly, Georgian Wrestling remains popular today due to its unique techniques and balance of athleticism, power, and control. It is a versatile style that can be applied to various situations in both competition and self-defense. This makes it a very attractive option for many wrestlers and martial artists.


Georgian Wrestling is a unique and powerful style of wrestling with a long history in the country. It is highly effective for both competition and self-defense and offers a balance of athleticism, power, and control.

It is also still very popular today due to its unique techniques, the success of Geno Petriashvili, and its connection with Georgian culture. For these reasons, Chidaoba is an excellent choice for anyone looking to learn a new style of wrestling.