Wrestling: history, rules, equipment


In the article “Wrestling” you will learn the history of the development of combat sport, the basic rules of Greco-Roman and freestyle, talk about equipment for athletes.

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Wrestling is an ancient and fascinating sport that combines physical strength, agility, tactics and strategy. This sport has a rich history going back to ancient times, when wrestling was not only a way of entertainment, but also an important element of military training.

Wrestling history

Wrestling is believed to have appeared in what is now Iraq as early as 2600 BC. In some Egyptian tombs, drawings of wrestlers performing modern wrestling moves have been preserved. The approximate age of the drawings found is 4,500 years old.

Wrestling history
Wrestling history

Wrestling was also mentioned by the Greek poet Homer. Pindar, another famous poet, described how Zeus and Kronos, the gods of Greek mythology, wrestled for the universe. Competitive wrestling was first documented at the Ancient Olympic Games in 708 BC.

A famous Greek wrestler was the philosopher Plato. His real name was Aristocles, but he was called Plato because of his broad shoulders and wrestling victories. Greece is officially the country where this martial art was invented, as they were the first to develop this form of fighting for their soldiers against the Romans.

Wrestling was registered as an official sport in France in 1830. Professional athletes traveled all over Europe and put on entire shows. In 1848, Jean Ecbroy, a French showman, pioneered the modern circus group of wrestlers and created a style of flat-handed wrestling that meant participants could not perform grapples below the waist.

Interesting Fact! Wrestling was very popular in the Middle Ages in Europe, and King Henry VIII of England challenged King Francis I of France to a wrestling match, which Francis I won.

Wrestling was presented at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 in Greco-Roman style. At the 1904 games, athletes wrestled freestyle. In 1908 both styles were recognized as part of the Olympic program.

Wrestling appeared in Russia thanks to French athletes who traveled around Europe with their shows, and it became firmly rooted in the country’s circus program. The first professional wrestling club appeared in St. Petersburg in 1895 with Dr. V.F. Kraevsky.

There have been many famous athletes in Russian history whose names have been remembered for their victories. One of the most famous professional wrestlers is Ivan Poddubny, who for 40 years of participation in competitions did not suffer a single defeat. His life and achievements are depicted in the movie “Poddubny”, where the main role was played by Mikhail Porechenkov.

Aleksandr Karelin
Aleksandr Karelin

Aleksandr Karelin, known as the greatest Greco-Roman wrestler of the 20th century, has won three Olympic gold medals, nine world titles and twelve European championship belts. Aleksandr has the title of “Absolute World Champion” and is a Guinness Book of Records record holder (he remained undefeated for 13 years, and for 6 years in a row he did not concede a single point to his opponents).

Modern wrestling is represented by several styles: freestyle wrestling, Greco-Roman wrestling, belt wrestling and even underwater wrestling (aquathlon). Each of them has its own features and rules, but common to all is the desire of athletes to win, overcoming opponents and achieving sports excellence.

Freestyle wrestling differs from Greco-Roman wrestling in that holds and leg grabs are allowed. Belt wrestling, a global non-Olympic sport, includes a variety of holds and throws that allow the athlete to effectively control the opponent and win bouts.

Aquathlon resembles classic wrestling, only without a fulcrum and almost no air. Everyone takes it with him, exactly as much as he can breathe. Of the equipment is the bare minimum – swim trunks, fins and mask, and on the legs colored ribbons. The main task is to remove the ribbon from the opponent underwater, quickly surface and show the judge the trophy.

Basic rules of wrestling

The main goal in Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling is to win a clean victory over the opponent (pressing both shoulders to the mat for 2 seconds) or to win the fight on points.

Any fight consists of two periods of 3 minutes each with a break of 30 seconds. Points are awarded for takedowns and holds, and their number depends on the respective levels of difficulty of the takedown.

Wrestling mat
Wrestling mat

1 point can be earned if you push your opponent off the mat. You can earn 2 points if you move your opponent into a parterre (lying on your side, back, chest). If you hold your opponent in the parterre for a long time, you will get 1 more point.

4 points will be earned by the athlete who makes a throw in a dangerous position (on his back) or makes a beautiful throw with high amplitude. 5 points will be earned by the athlete who throws into a dangerous position with high amplitude.

The athlete who scores the most points wins the fight. Another way to win an unqualified victory in a bout is to achieve technical superiority or to record an 8-point advantage over the opponent (8-0, 9-1, etc.).

Moreover, a fighter can also win a bout if his opponent is disqualified, injured or does not show up for the bout at all. For example, Aleksandr Karelin was so feared by his opponents that they refused to fight him.

Wrestling shoes
Wrestling shoes

During the wrestling competition, the use of painful techniques is not allowed and biting, pinching, head or leg bashing, choking and talking are prohibited. Participants are strictly forbidden to apply ointments, gels or any other substances that may make their skin or wrestling tights slippery. For each violation the referee will issue a warning and may additionally award the opponent 1 or 2 points, and if the violation is repeated, the offender will be disqualified.

If during the fight a fighter behaves passively (he evades the opponent’s attacks and does not try to attack himself), the referee in Greco-Roman style immediately punishes the athlete with 1 penalty point, and his opponent is given the right to choose the position: standing or parterre.

In freestyle wrestling passivity is punished with a warning, in case of repeated violation is awarded 30-second activity, for which the offender must perform active actions. If the athlete does not perform active actions in the 30-second period, he is penalized with a penalty of 1 point.

Wrestling equipment

Wrestling leotard
Wrestling leotard

If you plan to wrestle, you will need a wrestling leotard. Wrestling leotards are made of polyester or nylon with elastane and Lycra. The fabric is lightweight and allows the skin to breathe freely, and it absorbs moisture well and wicks it away. The tights keep your muscles toned by keeping them cool.

For wrestling, you will also need wrestling shoes to protect your leg from various injuries, including ankle injuries. Wrestling shoes should be made of synthetic materials, as they are not subject to deformation and can withstand heavy loads.

Coaches advise giving a child to the wrestling section already at the age of 4-5 years, as he will get a good general physical preparation. In the process of wrestling training, muscles are strengthened, coordination of movements is improved, flexibility and endurance are developed. This sport helps athletes to form a strong body that can effectively cope with physical stresses and be ready for any challenge in the ring.

In addition, wrestling promotes the development of spiritual qualities in athletes. Participation in bouts and fights requires courage, bravery, focus and self-confidence from the participants. These qualities are important not only in the sports arena, but also in everyday life, helping athletes to overcome difficulties and achieve their goals.

Greco-Roman wrestling


This is due to repeated damage to the cartilage of the auricle as a result of blows or pressing against the surface of the ring. The cartilaginous tissue of the ears can form hemorrhages and bleeding, which leads to the formation of tumors and deformation of the auricle. As a result, the auricle can become hard, deformed and immobile, which creates a characteristic "wrestling" appearance.

Greco-Roman wrestling has its roots in ancient Greece and ancient Rome, where athletic competitions were strictly male events. In those times, societal norms and cultural patterns prohibited women from participating in such physical competitions.

In addition to historical and cultural reasons, women do not compete in Greco-Roman wrestling due to genetic features of the body (no strong upper shoulder girdle). However, nowadays they can take part in freestyle wrestling or a special discipline - "women's wrestling", a symbiosis of freestyle and classical style.

In freestyle wrestling, the absence of painful holds is due to the regulations and rules of discipline. Choking holds are also prohibited. The main attention in wrestling is paid to the technique, speed and physical strength of athletes, and victory is achieved through throws.

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