The word 'pehlivan' which refers to
'wrestler' is a Persian. Although it means brave (Şeci), stout hearted
(dili) according to Burhan-katia, also a determined, governor, bodily-built
and trustworthy person is called a Pehlivan (Wrestler) as well. For this
reason, it has been used for various meanings accordingly.
At the time of the Seljuks, the warriors, who behaved heroically, the
marksmen, the wrestlers and the mace men who gained success, were referred
to as "Pehlivans" as well. However, the most important is the
fact that this title has been used only for sportsmen since the beginning
of the 16th century. The usage of the word "Pehlivan" in this
meaning lasted until the end of the period of Sultan II Mahmut.
During the time of the Ottomans, the wrestling contests outside the palace
took place in fairgrounds, at weddings, in societies in the aid of charity
groups or in the private places and salons of organizers who had gained
a profession. In addition to this, there were wrestling contests as Wedding
Wrestling, Ramadan Wrestling, Wrestling for the Aid of Charities.