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Wrestling: information for grapplers

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About Wrestling

By Cathy Richey, the Cathy Factor

Thanks to television, the common idea of "wrestling" today is the theatrical WWE entertainment. Anyone who watches this for any amount of time can see the moves are staged and mostly choreographed. The moves aren't easy, and because the participants are usually very large and very strong, real injuries do occur.

WWE athletes do train hard and are typically of elite caliber. But they aren't wrestling. You don't do, for example, drop kicks in wrestling. And in a wrestling match, the contestants don't conform to pre-arranged outcomes, jump at each other off of ropes, or stand there waiting for the other person to complete a run and bounce from the ropes.

So what is wrestling?

Wrestling is a sport played between two players. Wrestling is a form of grappling type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws, take downs, joint locks, pins and other holds. The players fight unarmed with each other. In wrestling, a player is declared a winner when he pins the opponent down.

There are many different styles and forms of wrestling. Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling, judo and sambo wrestling are the four main forms of wrestling practiced internationally. There are two wrestling styles that are included in the Olympic program, they are freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling.

Olympic Wrestling

Wrestling was introduced to the Olympics' schedule as a men's event in the first modern Summer Games in 1896. Since then, wrestling has been held in every Summer Olympics except the 1900 Games. Women participated in the freestyle wrestling competition for the first time in the 2004 Summer Games. The rules in women’s Wrestling are similar to those used in men’s Freestyle Wrestling, but with some key variations – for example, double head-locks are not allowed.

Olympic Wrestling Styles

In Greco-Roman Wrestling, a wrestler may not attack his opponent's legs, nor use his own legs to trip, lift, or execute other moves. The wrestler must wrestle from standing. But he can't let the top of his head rest against his opponent’s chest. This is called passivity, and will result in a call of "CONTACT" by the official. The official will say "contact red" or "contact blue" before actually indicating passivity by holding an open palm hand in the air with the offender's color indicated. There is also a slight relaxation in not requiring a high arch by the attacker when a gut wrench is initiated on the mat, plus some modifications on hand attack when escaping.

In freestyle wrestling, both the arms and legs may be used to execute holds or to defend against attack. If legs are used as part of the attack by an aggressor, no points are scored and the wrestlers are returned to standing. Only one official needs to see the leg usage for the move to be nullified. If legs are used to prevent a move, the attacker receives whatever points are gained, a caution point (or points), and choice of position. If a throw from standing is blocked, the attacker receives 2 points plus the position choice. If a move on the mat is prevented, the attacker receives 1 point plus choice. In either case, the offender receives a single caution.

The ability to effectively execute wrestling techniques requires a combination of incredible strength, speed, and training. Wrestling stylists generally work to take their opponents to the ground and control them there by utilizing clinches, locks, take downs, and throws. From there, the goals of what wrestlers do tend to depend on the style in question.

Sometimes wrestlers may have the goal of pinning their opponent. Other times, they may hope to end the fight using a submission hold (for example, a submission choke hold as in MMA).

The majority of wrestling styles can be defined by techniques such as clinching, take downs, take down defense, holding, and more. Additionally, some wrestling styles, such as catch wrestling, utilize submission holds or techniques meant to force an opponent to give up or face the consequences of a joint lock or choke hold.

Four common wrestling moves:

  1. Body lock: A hold where a wrestler locks arms around the body of his opponent before taking him to the mat.
  2. Bridge: The arched position adopted by a wrestler to prevent his back from touching the mat.
  3. Pin: To force an opponent's shoulders to the mat.
  4. Takedown: To take an opponent from a standing position to the mat.


The above article was edited to include the WWE comments, which were not in the original piece.

About Cathy: She and her Doberman Trooper conduct research into all kinds of topics and produce articles like the one you see here. To contact Cathy, write to thecathyfactor@yahoo.com. Get the facts from Cathy, and let the Cathy Factor give you an edge.



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