This really great little video captures the unique qualities of Tatar-Style wrestling.
Here's what it says on the Bashkir-Unesco page:
The national wrestling “kuresh” is well-known in Bashkortostan from the ancient times. “Kuresh” or belt wrestling, as it is named in the international sports world, originated a long time ago. In remote ages many Turk nations held similar tournaments. This tradition came to Eastern Slavic nations from Turks. In the Middle Ages, belt wrestling was a typical element of military training for nomads. In the course of these trainings, warriors mastered the grips, with the help of which one was able to pull off a rider from the saddle. These grips were constantly perfected: wrestlers invented new and new tricks, trying to keep them in secret.
Now belt wrestling lives through its second birth as a kind of sports, considered rather perspective. Belt-wrestling is officially included in to the global network of non-Olympic sports and its International Federation successfully functions in the international arena: European and world championships and national championships are held quite regularly.
The main difference of belt-wrestling from other kinds of wrestling is that the wrestlers hold each other with the crossed clinch. In accordance with the international rules all actions are allowed in order to knock the opponent off his feet but one rule is obligatory – the wrestlers mustn’t loose the clinch. The wrestler, which is able to lay his opponent on the back, is declared the winner.
Belt wrestling (“kuresh”) in Republic of Bashkortostan is considered very popular and mass kind of sports and more than 20 thousand people are engaged in it at present time. From 2001 and up today more than 70 candidate masters, 22 masters and two international masters of sport are trained in this kind of sport.
World and European belt wrestling championships are held since 2003 and republican sportsmen regularly participate in these tournaments in national teams. Thus, the sportsman from Sterlitamak Yuriy Sabanov won the silver in world championships in 2003 and 2005 and in 2007 he managed to win the world championship. In 2005, he won a gold medal in the European championship. Rinat Enikeev from Oktyabrsky became the world and European champion in 2005.
At present time Ufa, Sterlitamak, Oktyabrsky, Sibay, Yanaulsky, Chekmagushevsky and several other regions of Bashkortostan are considered the main centres for development of mass belt-wrestling. For the last five years, more than 1300 competitions of different level with participation of more than 80 thousand wrestlers have been held. Our hospitable republic received participants of
Russian championships in 2002 and 2005, all-Russian tournaments, devoted to the 250th anniversary of Salavat Yulaev-the national hero of Bashkortostan, and many other tournaments
Ufa has passed one more exam. For the first time our republic was entrusted to hold a world belt-wrestling championship, during the days of the 450th anniversary of Bashkiria free-will joining the Russian state. Within the framework of the championship the UNESCO conference “The problems of national sports development” and the Congress of the International Belt Wrestling Federation were held. In the days of the championship participants of UNO environmental program (UNEP) making efforts to prevent the global climate change again officially appealed to all citizens of the Earth to make their contribution to our planet’s greening. 450 young trees were planted that day.
More than 400 strongest world wrestlers from 69 countries have taken part in the championship. Our republic is quite experienced in holding international competitions and the whole world knows such sportsmen as Yuriy Sabanov, Alik Yakupov, Vener Haibullin. They competed with the best wrestlers from Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Kazakhstan and other countries.