Buzkashi EXPLAINED! A Detailed Look at Central Asia’s Most Dangerous Sport in Xinjiang, China | Ep 3
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Buzkashi EXPLAINED! A Detailed Look at Central Asia’s Most Dangerous Sport in Xinjiang, China | Ep 3

August 17, 2019


Buzkashi. A famous central Asian game. A violent tussle on horseback. In this episode, I’m going to explain this
traditional Central Asian game where a dead goat is the ball and even the spectators are
at risk of injury. This is one you won’t want to miss. I’ve got to say, if you have a chance to
see Buzkashi when you’re in Tashkorgan, definitely take it. It was probably one of
the most exciting experiences – the top 5 experiences – that I’ve had traveling around
Xinjiang over the last decade so…it was good. Buzkashi is a game that’s not just for the
Tajik in Tashkorgan. It’s actually a very popular game all throughout Central Asia,
particularly in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan; many other ethnicities have different ways
of playing this game on horseback but the general gist of the game stays the same: people
on horseback – or in some cases yak back – are trying to take a headless, footless goat carcass
and put it either in a hole or around a flag or in a general area. For the Tajik here in Tashkorgan, the whole
goal is to actually get it into a hole or, in one case, a big tire. The footage that you’re going to see here
was taken from two different games that we witnessed: one on the grasslands near Tashkorgan and
another on the plains north of the city. For us, it all started with a phone call during
lunch. We took a small van up a rocky dirt road to a clearing near the Pamir mountains
where players were gathering with their horses and spectators were enjoying the occasion. The games are at times really fast paced and
other times really slow. Sometimes the horses are all in a scrum and sometimes they’re
chasing after each other at full gallop. It really depends on what’s happening at that
moment and it’s really exciting to watch. As a spectator, since there are no boundaries,
sometimes the horses are running straight at you. You really have no control. As you
can see here…yea, that’s my bag. My camera bag. Thankfully I had everything out of it but
it got trampled! It was muddy and dirty and if I’d had something in there and it got
broken I probably would have been pretty sad, but that’s just the nature of the game.
You as a spectator need to be on your feet and ready to move at any point in time. So to the best of my understanding, the games
are sponsored as part of a wedding. The father of the bride will put up a certain amount
of money and that money will be used to pay per point for the players. So let’s say
that he wants to put up 10,000 yuan where each point is worth 1,000 yuan. That means
that every time a player gets the goat carcass into the hole, he earns 1,000 yuan for himself.
At the end of the game the father of the bride will give away, let’s say a larger item
such as a TV or a washing machine, a refrigerator. Those type of items. So the number of points in a game or the number
of games being played on a certain day are all dependent upon how wealthy the father
of the bride is or how much money he’s willing to give away of his savings. I hope you enjoyed this video about Buzkashi.
I had a great time putting it together. I had a great time filming it! If you enjoyed
it, please give this video a thumbs up or comment and let me know what you thought and
subscribe to the YouTube channel for FarWestChina. I promise you – I’ve got a ton of great
videos coming up and I look forward to sharing them with you. Thanks!

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  1. Ancient games in a culture as old as the earth, always raw, and highly tribal, make me see humanity in its full expression. Thanks for this great footage of celebration in the old ways!

  2. Things I see wrong with this sport
    1. Horses are too small for people
    2. People are whipping horses
    3. Riders are pulling on horses mouths with severe bits
    4. Horse made to run into other horses and people

  3. Lol these guys look so unorganized and unauthintic Afghans do it way better real buzkashi with proper traditional cloths and calf not a goat

  4. National Sport of Afghanistan, a central Asian nation. Unfortunately everyone steals from the land called Afghanistan, and gives it a different title.

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