In India, a traditional form of ancient wrestling, known as ‘kushti’, has been practiced for some 3,000 years. The ‘Akhara’ is a wrestling school where men in their 20's and 30's dedicate their life to the sport. The wrestlers – who fight, sleep, and eat together - observe a strict life of abstinence. The tradition of wrestling in red clay pits is deeply rooted in the city of Kolhapur. They wake up at 3:30am each day to train for hours before eating and have another strenuous training session in the early evening under the supervision of a coach. This way of life may be changing soon for the wrestlers. The Indian Fighters Federation recently announced a ban on red soil fighting and advised wrestling clubs to instead train on mats to improve their chances of winning medals at the Olympics. Read the story.
(Photography by Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)