The Hero with a Thousand Holds

Lavell Marshall is a world champion and 5-time US national champion in Shuai Jiao, a form of Chinese jacket wrestling. For the past year, he’s been living in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China, training and competing with the local Mongol people in their own native wrestling style – Bökh.

In this episode, I talk with Lavell about the culture and techniques of Bökh, the differences between Inner Mongolian wrestling and that of Mongolia proper, the strategies he uses to face off against 130 kg giants on a surface of bare grass and rock, and recent measures that the Chinese government have introduced in order to limit expressions of Mongol identity in this ostensibly autonomous region.

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