Wrestling is a form of fighting, both playfully and as a sport, between two opponents without weapons who grab each other's body and/or clothing (grappling, as opposed to punching, striking, kicking and pinching). The term "wrestling" is also used figuratively, as in "wrestling with a problem".
Wrestling as a sport
Most wrestling is an amateur sport but some forms, such as sumo, have long professional traditions. (Note: The term Professional Wrestling is most often used to refer to a form of entertainment that simulates a sporting event.)
Wrestling is often categorized as one of the martial arts. It is one of the oldest types of sport; there are wall-paintings more than 15,000 years old depicting men wrestling.
There are almost as many wrestling styles as there are nations. Some samples are sumo in Japan and Yağlı Güreş (oiled wrestling) in Turkey. In the example of oiled wrestling, the wrestlers wear tight knee-length leather trousers and cover themselves with diluted olive oil. A noted oiled wrestling tournament, called Kirkpinar, has been held annually in Edirne, Turkey since 1362; it is the oldest continuously-running, sanctioned sporting competition in the world, and in recent years this style of wrestling has also become popular in other countries, most notably the Netherlands and Japan.
There are two internationally recognized wrestling styles performed in the Olympic Games under the supervision of FILA (Federation Internationale de Lutte Amateur or International Amateur Wrestling Federation): Freestyle and Greco-Roman. Freestyle is possibly derived from the English Lancashire style. A similar style, commonly called Collegiate, or also Folkstyle, is practiced in secondary schools, colleges, and younger age groups in the United States.
Freestyle and Greco-Roman differ in what holds are permitted; in Greco-Roman style, the wrestlers are permitted to hold only above the waist. In both Greco-Roman and Freestyle, points can be scored the following ways:
- Takedowns: Gaining control over your opponent from a neutral position.
- Reversals: Gaining control over your opponent from a defensive position.
- Escapes: Escaping your opponents' control.
- Exposure: Exposing your opponent's back to the mat.
- Lifting: Successfully Lifting an opponent in the defensive position and exposing his back
A match can be won in the following ways:
- Win by Fall: A fall, also known as a pin, occurs when one wrestler holds both his opponents' shoulders on the mat simultaneously.
- Win by Technical Fall: If one wrestler gains a ten-point lead over his opponent at any point, the match is declared over and he is the winner. (In Folkstyle and Collegiate wrestling, technical falls occur when one wrestler gains a fifteen point lead.)
- Win by Decision: If neither wrestler achieves a Fall or Technical Fall, the wrestler who has gained more points during the match is declared the winner. If the wrestlers have gained the same number of points, a panel of judges decides the winner based on aggressiveness and effectiveness.
- Win By Major Decision: This is when the scores are within four points of each other
- Win by TKO: TKO stands for Technical Knock Out; if one wrestler is knocked out and unable to wrestle, the other wrestler is declared the winner.
In some countries, people engage in simulated wrestling matches as performance. See professional wrestling.
Famous amateur wrestlers
- Kurt Angle (an Olympic gold medalist in freestyle wrestling before becoming a professional wrestler)
- Bruce Baumgartner
- Dan Gable
- Rulon Gardner
- Alireza Dabir
- Frank Gotch
- Alexander Karelin
- Alexander Medved
- Cael Sanderson
- Werner Seelenbinder
- John Smith
- Pat Smith