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Cholitas – Women’s Bolivian Wrestling

Posted by on August 22, 2013
Cholitas - Women's Bolivian Wrestling

Do not mess with this woman. She might jump on you and not in a good way

It was time for something a little different, so one evening we went to see The Bolivian Wrestling Cholitas and they did not disappoint. This is held in El Alto every Sunday evening with the show lasting about two hours. El Alto itself has over 1,000,000 inhabitants and the city is relatively new, built only in 1983 and is an extension of La Paz city which has 2,000,000 people. La Paz is Bolivia’s largest city. El Alto looks like one big market from top to bottom, the streets hum with life and colour, crazy but fantastic being stuck in the middle of it all.

Cholitas are indigenous females, they arrive into the ring, amidst smoke and loud music dressed in all of their finery, bowler hat, jewelry and beautiful shawls. These are soon discarded once the action begins (for obvious reasons) and all you see is braided hair and multi-layered skirts flying around, quite a sight.

bolivian street scene

Bolivian women selling vegetables on the street

Every street like a market

Every street like a market

The Cholita wrestling was started ten years ago as a way for females who suffered from domestic abuse to protect themselves, and as it gained support from the local community it became a way for women to earn an income. Some of these Cholita’s also have other jobs, but do this for extra money, giving them a level of independence.

During the course of the evening, women fight women, men fight men, and then it goes all a little bit mad, women fight men, and even the referee does not escape! In fact I didn’t escape as “Red Mask Man” came flying out of the ring, over the barrier landing on my arm, all 15 stone of him!.

This was the build up to throwing the red mask guy out of the ring and onto Sarah

This was the build up to throwing the red mask guy out of the ring and onto Sarah

After landing on Sarah, The red Mask took a rest

After landing on Sarah, The red Mask took a rest

We were sitting in the front row, beside a lovely local family who shared their popcorn and coke with us, just like the movies ! It was an evening of pure entertainment and fun.

Cholitas - Women's Bolivian Wrestling

The poor old ref getting a low blow

referee bolivian wrestling Cholitos

Was the Referee Involved?

She is probably as light as a feather. Hoping for a Carlsberg moment.

She is probably as light as a feather. Hoping for a Carlsberg moment.

Gotcha

Gotcha

If interested in going you can get a tourist ticket from any of the offices near San Francisco Church in the center of La Paz, as El Alto is not really a place to wander about on your own after dark.

Chilitas and Sarah

Sarah with her new gang

Guess who wanted to jump off the ropes

Guess who wanted to jump off the ropes

3 Responses to Cholitas – Women’s Bolivian Wrestling

  1. Allie Diomede

    Good woman yourself Coopie!
    Just wondering, are the fights “staged” as the in the WWF or are they actually beating the bejeebies out of one another?

    • Merv

      Hi Allie,

      I think it is as serious as the WWF. ;-)

      It’s pretty well staged, but they take a bit of a beating too. I would not think it’s the easiest way in the world to make a living!

  2. Allie Diomede

    Oops think I meant the WWE. ha ha

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