The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Sport wrestling

Andrell Durden (top) and Edward Harris grapple for position during the All-Marine Wrestle Offs. Durden and Harris were among the Marines selected during the wrestle offs to serve on the 2001 All Marine Wrestling Team.
Andrell Durden (top) and Edward Harris grapple for position during the All-Marine Wrestle Offs. Durden and Harris were among the Marines selected during the wrestle offs to serve on the 2001 All Marine Wrestling Team.
Two US Air Force members wrestling
Two US Air Force members wrestling

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 in the United States to refer to a form of sports entertainment - that is, a simulated sporting event; see also Puroresu.)

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 "international" wrestling styles performed in the Olympic Games under the supervision of FILA (Fédération Internationale des Luttes Associées or International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles): Freestyle and Greco-Roman. Freestyle is possibly derived from the English Lancashire style. A similar style, commonly called Collegiate or 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, the wrestlers are permitted to hold and attack only above the waist. In both Greco-Roman and freestyle, points can be scored the following ways, with analogs in folkstyle and collegiate:

  • 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. (The escape point is no longer awarded in the international styles.)
  • Exposure: Exposing your opponent's back to the mat.
  • Lifting: Successfully Lifting an opponent in the defensive position and exposing his back. (The lift point is no longer awarded under the rules changes adopted for the international styles in 2004-2005. Lifting has never been rewarded in folkstyle or collegiate, and rules against locking hands on the mat interfere with its practicality.)
  • Penalty Points: Various infractions (striking your opponent, acting with brutality or intent to injure, using illegal holds, etc). (Under the 2004-2005 changes to the international styles, a wrestler whose opponent takes an injury time-out receives one point unless the injured wrestler is bleeding.)

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, a technical fall occurs when one wrestler gains a fifteen-point lead.)
  • Win by Decision: If neither wrestler achieves either type of fall, the one 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 internationally. In folkstyle and collegiate wrestling, a tie results in an overtime period.
  • Win By Major Decision: In folkstyle and collegiate wrestling, a decision in which the winner outscores his opponent by eight or more points is a "major decision" and is rewarded with an additional team point.
  • 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. This is officially referred to variously as WBI (win by injury), medical forfeit or injury default in the international styles and folkstyle, in which knockouts are not encouraged and are treated as accidental. The term also encompasses situations where wrestlers become injured, take too many injury time-outs or cannot stop bleeding.

The countries with the leading wrestlers in the Olympic Games are Iran, United States, Russia (and some of the former Soviet Union republics), Bulgaria, Hungary, Sweden, Finland and Turkey.

In the United States currently there is a decline of wrestling programs in colleges and universities due to Title IX. When schools cannot accommodate and make a large enough female sport, many schools are forced to scrap their wrestling programs. This has caused controversy in recent years.

In some countries, people engage in simulated wrestling matches as performance. See professional wrestling.

See also

Famous amateur wrestlers

External links

Last updated: 08-17-2005 07:40:44