German women continue to have an impact in the competitive female grappling world.
The power and passion of super star tennis legend Boris Becker was my first introduction to elite German sports. I was just learning the sport and my instructor encouraged me to watch professional tennis on television so I could imitate the proper form.
The first tournament I watched was the 1991 Australian Open where Boris would meet returning champion Ivan Lendl in the final. After losing the first set 1-6, Boris was like a wounded animal in anguish, often screaming at himself on the courts. If he was trying self-motivation, it worked. By the second set he gathered his senses and reeled off three winning 6-4 sets to win the championship.
Our sport of interest here, female wrestling has been a part of German culture since the early 1900s.
The real explosion in competitive female submission wrestling began in the 1990s where the producers were limited by the constrictions of snail mail but bolstered by the high prices they could charge, sometimes easily $60 a tape; a very nice profit in the power of that decade’s dollar value.
Some of the producers of the day that featured lots of German girls were Beka Film, Festelle, the leader DWW and a little later AS Film. What was admired about the British and German producers was that the wrestling was fully competitive and the girls were well trained and treated with respect. Be that as it may, since they were erotic in nature, their marketing distribution was limited primarily to the fetish world.
There is a line of reasoning that much of western society feels that all female wrestling is a fetish but the form that most closely has been accepted by the mainstream is freestyle women’s wrestling; participated in by women at the Olympics.
Regarding women’s wrestling in Germany, the site my-wrestling-guide.com explains, “The Wrestling Center Dormagen – AC Ückerath (in the district Nievenheim) is the current National training center for female wrestling in Germany. The corresponding club is the AC Ückerath.
In women’s wrestling, the Athletic Club was Ückerath pioneer and founded in 1982 the first female wrestling group in Germany. Back then, wrestling was still a purely male domain, and official female fights were not allowed.
In 1992 the club began collaborating with the Scool (Bertha-von-Suttner-Gesamtschule in Dormagen-Nievenheim) with a wrestling project.
The wrestlers of the AC Ückerath won twice the Award by Dresdner Bank and the German Olympic Sports Federation (DSB) the “Green Belt of good talent in the club.” because of its outstanding youth in the female area.”
With a continued focus on fully competitive wrestling we turn our attention to a woman who is a dominant force in the submission wrestling world and her name is Anna Konda.
The news and entertainment site liveleak.com reports, “The only rule of Female Fight Club Berlin is that there are no rules, as demonstrated during an informal tournament which included wrestling, grappling and cat fighting matches. Fighters from Germany, Russia and Belgium held no-holds-barred contests of skill and strength in the group’s studio in East Berlin.
Club founder ‘Anna-Konda’, an experienced weightlifter and wrestler, began the venture to revive the tradition of women’s pugilism in the city.
Female wrestling master ‘Anna-Konda’ opened the first and only private female fight club in Berlin in 2010 after deciding to revive the traditional sport which had been very popular in Berlin’s Golden Twenties. The purpose of the club is not only to have fun and engage in athletic activity according to Anna-Konda, but also to dispel the patronizing cliché of weak women versus virile men.”
In the women’s freestyle wrestling world one of Germany’s greatest champions to make her mark was Brigitte Wagner.
“I was the very first athlete in East Germany allowed to go professional”.
The important information site Wikipedia shares, “Brigitte Wagner (born November 22, 1983 in Freising, West Germany) is a retired amateur German freestyle wrestler, who competed in the women’s flyweight category. Considered one of the world’s top female freestyle wrestlers in her decade, Wagner has claimed a gold and a silver medal in the 48-kg division at the World Championships, and seized an opportunity to compete for Germany at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
Throughout her sporting career, Wagner trained full time as a member of the wrestling squad for Siegfried Sports Club in Hallbergmoos, under her coach and four-time Olympian Jürgen Scheibe.
Wagner made sporting headlines, as an 18-year-old teen, at the 2001 World Wrestling Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, where she took home the bronze medal in the women’s 46-kg division. Wagner’s early success in wrestling blossomed her career, as she dominated both the 2002 World and 2003 European Championships with two unprecedented gold medals produced in her hardware.”
So much of the progress of women’s wrestling in any country is affected by how the greater society views women’s rights as a whole. After researching this important topic, given the progress that Germany has made, we found this subject to be too voluminous for our purposes here but a brief synopsis might provide some insight.
The site tatsachen-ueber-deutschland.de which among other things addresses women and men’s working life relates, “In Germany, as in other modern societies, there has been tremendous progress with regard to the equal rights for women stipulated in the Basic Law. As such, with regard to education girls have not only drawn level with, but have indeed now overtaken boys.
At grammar schools they account for 56 percent of graduates; the share of young women embarking on higher education totals almost 50 percent, and 42 percent of doctorates are awarded to women.[adToAppearHere]
Sophie Narr, German Director
One of the main obstacles to climbing the career ladder is the fact that on a European comparison the network of care facilities for small children still needs to be improved. With regard to the division of domestic labor as well, comparatively little has changed. Although 80 percent of fathers say they would like to spend more time with their children, even women in employment invest twice as much time looking after children.
To date it was almost exclusively women who made use of the new regulations governing parental leave. Though, following the introduction of parental support, the proportion fathers putting their career on hold to look after their child has risen to over 16 percent, most men (70 percent) only stay at home for two months.”[adToAppearHere]
Germany continues to be one of the more fascinating countries to visit, learn from and admire. At Female Competition International we would love to see more participation by German women in organized wrestling structures. We understand it’s a process but given the rich history of female grappling in Germany and the sports growing acceptance around the globe, the future looks bright for fully competitive grappling in beautiful Deutschland.
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Sources: brainyquote.com, Wikipedia, fciwomenswrestling.com, liveleak.com, my-wrestling-guide.com, tatsachen-ueber-deutschland.de, photos thank you Wikimedia Commo