Armenian Martial Arts

During the Soviet Union, Kokh began to fall out of usage. Until at least 1988 Kokh has been practiced in the rural areas of Armenia. The popular Soviet combat system Sambo, was intensely influenced by the Armenian Kokh. Today modest attempts are made to preserve this ancient Armenian martial art.

There exist two main types of Kokh, one known as “Lori Kokh” the other “Shirak Kokh”. The main difference between the two styles concern grabbing rules and outfit. In Shirak Kokh wrestlers are topless wearing only traditional Armenian pants and are allowed to grab the legs of the opponent. In Lori Kokh, fighters wear traditional robes and have to grab the opponents robe to throw or push them out. In the ancient times Kokh was common during weddings. Two fighters from the sides of the bride and groom would wrestle each other.


The person who first throws the opponent on his back (thus performing the “kokh”) without boosting and/or turning him, wins. The victor has to hold the opponent to the ground by pressing with his knee. Pushing the opponent out of the mat, which has a radius of 7-9 meters,[5] also results in winning. Although there is no time limit, a Kokh fight usually lasts from 5 to 10 minutes. Every fight starts with a ceremonial warm-up dance, lasting for at least half a minute. The fights are always accompanied by traditional Armenian folk music. According to the rules, after a successful victory, on request of the public, judges and participants the winner has to perform a traditional victory dance.




Green, ed. by Thomas A. (2001). Martial arts of the world : en encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. p. 718. ISBN 9781576071502.

(Russian) Tyshler, edited by F.P Suslov, D.A. (2001). “Кох (Kokh)”. Terminologiia sporta : tolkovyĭ slovarʹ sportivnykh terminov : okolo 9500 terminov. Moscow: “SportAkademPress”. pp. 480. ISBN 5-8134-0047-8.

Wolfgang Decker, Wolfgang x (2007). Festschrift für Wolfgang Decker zum 65. Geburtstag.. Hildesheim: Weidmann. p. 224. ISBN 9783615003406.

Countries and Territories of the World: Volume II – Middle East & The Caucasus. p. 582

(Armenian) Ispiryan, Mikayel (1984). Մարզանունների բացատրական բառարան [Dictionary of Sports]. Yerevan: Hayastan. p. 68.


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