If you are a fan of the Korean variety show, Running Man, you may have seen a number of times that the MCs and the guests played ssireum (씨름) – Korean traditional wrestling in which two players compete by grabbing the opponent’s satba (샅바 – a cloth belt tied around the waist and thigh) and trying to knock the opponent down by using strength and techniques. You can watch this video for one of the episodes of Running Man in which ssireum was played.
In January 2017, the Korean Cultural Heritage Administration has designated ssireum as a national intangible cultural asset. An application has also been submitted to list ssireum as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO and the final decision will be made in 2018. Let’s talk about this traditional Korean sports in this post. Continue reading