Since the dawn of time, humans have been fighting each other. Tribe against tribe, civilization against civilization, man against man. Lithuanians are no different, in fact, we are quite good at the art of war. It is embedded in our blood. Out of necessity Lithuanians had to fight virtually every other nation that surrounds them.

We fought Vikings, Teutonic Knights, Germans, Russians, etc. Today we fight a different war. A war for recognition. For a tiny country by the Baltic sea we are known all around the world for our Basketball players, laser technology, swimmers, rowers, you name it. Now, we are fighting our way to be recognized in the field of Martial Arts.

Did you know that Lithuanians have their own Martial Arts style called Ristynės (pronounced Res-TEE-nes)? Just as many other martial arts styles, Ristynės was born in the rural Lithuania, where locals could settle their arguments through a friendly match. It has a lot of similarities with other wrestling styles, emphasizing effective, yet simple, techniques that allows the practitioner to put their opponent to the ground. The rules are quite simple - you have to drop your opponent to the ground three times in order to win. Starting position is much like in popular Wrestling where both opponents meet at the centre of the ring, however, often times already in a locked position with hands clinching each other‘s clothing under their elbows.

Ristynės is finding its way back to the forefront of Lithuanian sports mainly due to demonstrations and wrestling competitions. Currently, the governing body for Ristynės could be identified as Lithuanian Wrestling Federation. Apart from that, there is no specific association charged with rejuvenating this ancient art.

Although the interest in Ristynės is rising, Lithuanian government must intervene and show support for this art. We are the kind of people who value their history and traditions. Ristynės is an important integral part of that history, more importantly, it is an art that could be demonstrated to others through friendly competitions. Much like Basketball, we have an opportunity with Ristynės, to show yet another layer of Lithuanian pride. We have an obligation, as a nation of fighters, to educate ourselves and others on our ancestral Martial Art – Ristynės.

Watch Ristynės in action

Haven’t thought of a Christmas gift yet? What about a Christmas gift as a subscription to the Lithuania Tribune - 50% discount, annual subscription only 29 EUR. Read more here

Martynas Karys has been practicing various styles of martial arts for over 12 years. His arsenal includes traditional styles like Chinese Kung Fu, Bushido Karate as well as modern styles of martial arts such as Taekwondo and Jeet Kune Do.

Leave a comment
or for anonymous commenting click here
By posting, you agree to terms
Read comments Read comments

All-time low: Lithuania drops to 145th place on FIFA rating

Lithuania's national football team dropped to an all-time low of 145th place on the latest FIFA...

MEP Guoga wants Lietuvos Rytas basketball club's CEO out over sponsorship (1)

Lithuanian MEP Antanas Guoga , also president of the Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius basketball club, says...

English football fan in custody in Vilnius after bar brawl

A drunk British citizen was detained in Vilnius in early hours of Sunday, local police said.

Lithuanian president congratulates Deaflympics delegation on 13 medals

Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaitė on Monday evening congratulated athletes of the...

Lithuanian basketball team to be headed by Gudelis, may be renamed Rytas

Lietuvos Rytas , a top Lithuanian professional basketball club, may be renamed Rytas in the future,...