Turkish Sport Matrak
Sports activities performed by Turks throughout the history
were generally intended for Battle/Combat practice. Traditional
Turkish Ancestral Sport Matrak was taught to the Janissary, Sipahi
and Ottoman public by Renowned Turkish scientist Matrakçı Nasuh
(1480-1564) as a Battle and Combat Art and practiced for centuries.
Matrak game is a sport adopted as a scientific branch in Turkish
history. Several of the Forgotten Turkish Sports such as Tomak
game, Muşt Zen and Leked Kup, Tulum game in addition to Matrak
Game, have been reorganized with rules and principles in line with
the present day’s conditions and have been re-established on 5th
September 2008 by Researcher Sportsman Matrakçı Efkan Çalış
with traditional structures under the title of Matrak. Matrak sport
possesses training formats containing Turkish Swords, Yatağan
Swords, Sword-Shield and other Combat Weaponry in addition to
unequipped combat and defensive methods. Matrak trainings are
as follows: 1-Matrak a) Matrak Shield, b) Double Matrak, c) Shield
Wooden Sword, d) Sword, e) Horseback Matrak Game, f) Matrak
Game with Wheelchair 2-Tomak 3. Tulum/Tuluk ( Pillow fight is

inspired by the Turkish ancestral sport overalls. Because there

is no such tradition in American history, this tradition exists in

Turkish history and it has historical records) 4- Cenk (Fierce Wrestling, Muşt
Zen; Ottoman Punching Art, Leked Kup; Ottoman Kicking Art) 5-
HIS- Defense For Everyone. Based on the social ethics structure in
Turkish culture, Matrak aims to raise Brave, Virtuous, Qualified and
Cultured sportsmen.
Matrak game was taught to Ottoman soldiers by Matrakçı Nasuh
with new technical games added. According to notes from the Travel
Book by Evliya Çelebi, Sultan Murad IV learned 70 techniques of the
game. With the reforms in the military system of the Ottoman army
in the 19th Century, the use of sword and old style Combat trainings
were banned (1826-Vaka-i Hayriye) and Matrak game was forgotten.
Matrak, Tomak and Cenk (Fierce Wrestling, Muşt Zen, Leked
Kup) constituted an important part of Janissary, Sipahi and Ottoman
court members daily practices. Re-animation and establishing
process performed by Matrakçı Efkan Çalış also received contributions
from Academics in Gazi University and Kırıkkale University
Eastern Languages and Literature, History, Turkish Folk Science
and Physical Education departments. Matrak, in its new format,
was associated with Federation of Turkish Traditional Sports Branches
thus becoming official on 15th June 2010. The first tournament
in Turkey was held in Ankara on 24-25 December 2011, receiving
attendance from 115 sportsmen from 5 provinces. On 9th January
2012, it was included in the Ministry of National Education, General
Directorate of Lifelong Learning curriculum and Matrak education
started in Public Education Centre Schools all over Turkey.
Matrak Materials
“Matrak” Stick, “Kalkan” Soft Pad Shield, “Miğfer” Helmet for
Head Protection, “Aba” Sportsman’s Dress, “Tomak” tool, “Tulum”
tool, “Kılıç” Stick/Machete with protection in the form of Turkish
sword, “Zırh” Body guard Armor, “Kolçak” Hand and Arm Protection
Armbands, “Dizçek” Foot and Knee Protection Knee Guard and
“Kagi” Groin Guard materials are utilized.
Sportsmen who receive Matrak training learn Turkish culture
and social ethics tenets within a natural learning process. Socializing
with an entertaining training method, sportsmen also receive
benefits to their mental development with creating tactics playmaking
structures existing in the Matrak teaching. Also, the sportsman’s
nerve – muscle coordination improves, providing positive
growth in psychomotor development. Matrak training increases
the overall muscle strength of the sportsman’s body; practitioners
of Matrak attain agility and swiftness as well as a willful spirit.
Matrak Competition Rules
General Rules; Club Registration, License, Visa and Health permit
documents of sportsmen participating in the competition shall
be checked prior to competition. In all games after the final checks
of pre-game checks by the referees, players bilaterally say “Benimle
Cenk Meydanına çıktığın için teşekkür ederim” “Thank You for
Taking to the Field With Me”. At the end of competition, they’ll say
“Kasıtlı ve kasıtsız hatalarımdan dolayı özür dilerim” “I Apologize
for any Intentional and Unintentional Faults”. The competition shall
begin with the command “Cenk” Fight and ends with “Dur” Stop
Matrak Games and Tomak Game Rules. Illegal Practices; In
Matrak and Tomak games, sportsmen pay two games within periods
determined in line with their class. Winning both games means
victory. In case of deuce, a third game is played. In Matrak Shield
game, the aim is to touch the opponent’s head with Matrak. Each
contact of Matrak on the opponent’s head brings one point. It is
forbidden to hit hard. In Shield Wooden Sword and Sword games, a
hit/slash on the head is 3 points, a body hit/slash is 2 points, a hit/
slash on the limbs 1 points. In Tomak game, each hit on the back is 1
point. Hits to body sections other than the back score no points. It is
forbidden to hit the opponent with the shield or to hit an opponent
who dropped their game tools or protective materials. It is forbidden
to intentionally drop or discard game tools and protective materials
during competition. It is forbidden to do head butt, slap or
punch, kick, knee or to utilize combat game knock back technique.
Cenk Game Rules and Illegal Practices; The aim of Cenk to
knock back the opponent using Muşt Zen- Hand Techniques and
Leked Kup-Foot Techniques as well as Fierce Wrestling, i.e. Cenk
knock back techniques and to make the opponent surrender during
struggle on the ground without harming the opponent. The victory
condition for Cenk is to make the opponent surrender within a period
defined for each class. In case of deuce, a score-based second
game is played for the same period. The active and clear hand and
foot techniques applied on the opponent’s head or body score 1 point.
Hits on the head using back techniques score 3 points. For clean
and obvious knock back techniques; 2 points for dropping opponent
facedown, 2 points for sideways take down and 3 points for
dropping on the back. If the second game ends in deuce, another
game is played in which the first player to score wins. It is forbidden
to hit any spots that may injure the opponent (back, groin, throat,
kneecap) It is forbidden to choke opponent with one or both hands.
It is forbidden to hit a downed opponent, to hit the opponent when
downed, to scratch and to knock down an opponent on their head.
Ladies conduct Combat Game without wrestling on the ground.
Score keeping in ladies game is as defined in (c) clause.
Penalties; It is forbidden to ignore the referee’s stop command
and to argue with the referee as well as any intervention by sportsmen
or trainers to referee or score referees. It is forbidden to constantly
leave the field or to run away. It is forbidden for the winning
player to do extreme displays of joy or the losing player to display
extreme disgruntlement or uproar. Players who perform the illegal
moves shall be warned cautioned twice. Receiving three warning
or caution in total leads to disqualification. Players who are observed
to intentionally perform illegal moves shall be disqualified. Any
unsportsmanlike action or behavior is strictly forbidden. If such actions
are performed, the trainer and sportsman shall be penalized
within the context of the regulations.
Classes and game Periods
Below are the classes and game periods for Matrak competition:
Minor Class: 09-12 years of age. Minor class game periods for Matrak
and Tomak games shall be 2 games and 2 minutes per game.
Cenk shall be 3-minute long single game. Stars Class: 13-15 years
of age. Stars class game periods for Matrak and Tomak games shall
be 2 games and 2 minutes per game. Cenk shall be 3-minute long
single game. Young Class: 16-19 years of age. Young class game periods
for Matrak and Tomak games shall be 2 games and 2 minutes
per game. Cenk shall be 5-minute long single game. Adult Class: Age
group shall be 19 or higher. Adult group game periods for Matrak
and Tomak games shall be 2 games and 2 minutes per game. Cenk
shall be 5-minute long single game. In Tomak games performed
during village wedding activities shall contain players aged 16 or
higher. Game period in Tomak game is 2 games and 2 minutes per
Cenk Meydanı / Combat Field
All Matrak competitions are performed in summer months in
open, turf fields. The inner circle diameter shall be 7 meters and
outer circle diameter shall be 9 meters in this field. There shall be
a 1,5 meter protection zone outside the outer circle. Boundaries of
turf field shall be determined using thick white paint. Traditional
canvas, dressing rooms, preparation and waiting areas for sportsmen
shall be established. Matrak competitions shall be performed
in sports halls on Matrak mats in winter months. Matrak mat shall
be 8×8 or 10×10 of size with 1 meter square of colored section on
the outside.
Cenk March
Mehter (Janissary) march or traditional Turkish march played
with drum rhythm shall be played in all competitions without affecting
the course of games.
In Matrak and Tomak game competitions, one referee and two
score keepers shall be posted in the “Cenk Meydanı” Combat Field.
In Cenk, one referee and three score keepers shall be posted in the
Combat Field. Scorekeepers comprise of One Fixture Referee, One
Timekeeper, One Announcement referee. A separate team of referees
and keepers shall be established for each mat.