HISTORY OF KOKAWA GAME
Traditional wrestling is one of the oldest sports with a history dating back to the (beginning of recorded) time. Traditional wrestling was a past time that ancient men thought fit for the gods. Medieval men regarded it as the prerogative of princes. It has various names like ijakadi, Ngba, Gidigbo, Kokawa, Eke etc in various parts of Nigeria .
The wrestling contests were and are still staged during the day on sandy and sometimes during moonlight-night-sports plays. It is also staged as and at traditional festivals. There were variations in methods among the groups. But on the whole these, wrestling matches were and are still of varying social significance and similar application. TSFN endeavored to standardize styles for Nigeria as a sample for other African countries. Among the values of wrestling in our traditional settings are winning the hands of a lady in marriage, strength of the males are tested so as to prepare them for the inter-tribal wars or the likes. Good wrestlers are greatly respected in the society. Some of the wrestlers win awards while others are honoured with some traditional titles. In some ethnic groups the females do wrestle e.g. in Bayelsa State in Nigeria . In most cases musicians accompany their wrestlers. There are referees who make sure that the accepted rules are not violated.
Apart from the social importance, wrestling contests provide for recreating and healthy living among the people. In some areas there is no age, weight, or height limit. But the Association of Traditional Sports has made it possible for wrestlers to compete on weight categories with rules and regulations..
RULES AND REGULATIONS OF KOKAWA GAME
THE PLAY AREA
• The sport is played on a sandy circled surface measuring ten meters in diameter, excluding the officials and spectator’s stands. The total play area should measure 25 meters radius.
• Only players competing and the referee are allowed into the circled area during a competition.
• The circle shall be demarcated with visible artificial barriers considered not injurious to players and officials.
• There shall be five/ten categories with distinct weight classifications. A player is allowed to participate only in one category for which he or she has been duly registered and accredited. The categories are A or B grouping.
• National Festival Categories : (i) 45-55kg
All Africa Games categories: 51-60kg, 61-70kg, 71-80kg
• There will be weighing before fixtures.
• Referee will examine each player to remove injurious or magical wears.
• Only green and white playing pants duly certified by the referee, as not been injurious to players may be worn during the competition.
• Players to wear their National colours at All Africa Games.
• States to wear their states colours at National Sports Festivals.
STARTING A MATCH
• The contestants are spaced apart facing each other.
• The referee blows his whistle to start the match.
• Each player uses his tactics to attack and or defeat his opponent using only traditional wrestling methods accepted by the rules and regulations.
Three rounds of three minutes each and one minute interval shall constitute a bout. A bout could be terminated in less than the stipulated time by a knockout or submission.
A player can use any of the following to win his opponent
(a) By lifting up the opponent off the ground while standing firm on his feet and knocking the opponent down.
(b) By snatching an opponent’s leg or thigh and falling him down.
(c) By dodging the opponent, thereby leading to his complete fall or his hand(s) touching the ground to make a point.
(d) By throwing his opponent down.
(e) By diving and grapping/collecting an opponent’s leg, thigh and raising him up and falling him down.
(f) By flinging his leg to clear an opponent off the ground.
(g) By hooking/gripping an opponent from a standing position to submission.