Wrestling is part of the martial arts. A wrestling match consists of physical engagement between two people in which each wrestler strives to get an advantage over, or control of, the opponent. Physical techniques used, include clinching, holding, locking, application of leverage and takedowns. Today there are a wide range of styles with varying rules.
Particular wrestling styles, have particular rules. Also, one can distinguish between traditional and non-traditional styles of wrestling, and wrestling techniques found in military hand-to-hand combat and self-defence systems.
International disciplines (non-folk styles)
Wrestling disciplines defined by FILA, are broken down into two categories; International wrestling disciplines and folk wrestling disciplines. According to the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles, there are five current International wrestling disciplines acknowledged throughout the world. They are Greco-Roman Wrestling, Freestyle Wrestling, Grappling, Beach wrestling and Sambo.
Greco-Roman is an international discipline and an Olympic sport. "In Greco-Roman style, it is forbidden to hold the opponent below the belt, to make trips, and to actively use the legs in the execution of any action." Recent rule changes in Greco-Roman increase opportunities for and place greater emphasis on explosive, 'high amplitude' throws. Pinning ones opponent to the mat, is one way of winning. One of the most well known Greco-Roman wrestlers is Alexander Karelin from Russia.
Freestyle wrestling is international discipline and an Olympic sport, for both men and women. This style allows the use of the wrestler's or his opponent's legs in offense and defense. Freestyle wrestling, has its greatest origins in catch-as-catch-can wrestling and the prime victory condition in this styles involves the wrestler winning by pinning his opponent on the mat. American high school and college wrestling is conducted under different rules and is termed scholastic and collegiate wrestling. Outside the U.S., one can find professional wrestlers who compete by the rules of freestyle wrestling.
Submission wrestling is a wrestling style that consists of controlling the opponent without using striking and also includes the use of submission holds, it is also be referred to as grappling or “submission grappling.” It starts from a standing position or on the ground after a throw, and the goal is to make the opponent submit via the use of immobilization techniques such as locks. Grappling, differing from the FILA definition, plays an important role in the practice of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and can be used as a self-defence technique. It brings together techniques from Brazilian jiu-jitsu (no-Gi), Freestyle Wrestling, Folk American Wrestling (catch-as-catch-can), Sambo and judo.
Sambo is a martial art that originated in the Soviet Union (particular Russia) in the 20th century. It is an acronym for "self-defence without weapons" in Russian and had its origins in the Soviet armed forces. Its influences are varied, with techniques borrowed from sports ranging from the two international styles of Greco-Roman and freestyle to judo, jujutsu, European styles of folk wrestling, and even fencing. The rules for sport sambo are similar to those allowed in competitive judo, with a variety of leglocks and defense holds from the various national wrestling styles in the Soviet Union, while not allowing chokeholds.
Folk style disciplines
Folk wrestling describes a traditional form of wrestling unique to a culture or geographic region of the world. Examples of the many styles of folk wrestling, include Backhold Wrestling (from Europe), Catch-as-catch-can (from England), Kurash from Uzbekistan, Gushteengiri from Tajikistan, Khuresh from Siberia, Lotta Campidanese from Italy, Pahlavani from Iran, Pehlwani from India, Penjang Gulat from Indonesia, Schwingen from Switzerland, Shuai jiao from China, Ssireum from Korea, and Yağlı güreş (Turkish oil wrestling).
Folk wrestling styles are not recognized as international styles of wrestling, by FILA.
Collegiate wrestling (sometimes known as scholastic wrestling or folkstyle wrestling) is the commonly used name of wrestling practiced at the college and university level in the United States. This style, with modifications, is also practiced at the high school and middle school levels, and also for younger participants. The term is used to distinguish the style from other styles of wrestling used in other parts of the world, and from those of the Olympic Games: Greco-Roman wrestling, and Freestyle wrestling. Some high schools in the U.S. have developed junior varsity and freshman teams alongside varsity teams. Junior varsity and freshman wrestling teams restrict competitors not only by weight, but also by age and the amount of wrestling a competitor can partake in. For example, some junior varsity and freshman competitors are not allowed in tournament competition due to the amount of mat time a wrestler would accrue in a short time period.
There are currently several organizations which oversee collegiate wrestling competition: Divisions I, II, and III of the NCAA, the NJCAA, the NAIA, and the NCWA. NCAA Division I wrestling is considered the most prestigious and challenging level of competition. A school chooses which athletic organization to join, although it may compete against teams from other levels and organizations during regular-season competition. The collegiate season starts in October or November and culminates with the NCAA tournament held in March.
Mixed martial arts competition
Grappling and striking skills are both of importance in mixed martial arts competitions. Fighters who were accomplished wrestlers, gained respect during the early stages of MMA development. Some of these, went on to win several early Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12) and fighters from non-wrestling backgrounds had pursued wrestling training to complement their other skills.
Successful fighters in modern MMA who began their training in various forms of wrestling, include Brock Lesnar, the current UFC heavyweight champion who was a NCAA wrestling champion in 2000 and achieved 2nd place 1999, and former champions Dan Henderson, of PRIDE FC and Randy Couture, a multi-time UFC champion, both of whom competed extensively in collegiate and Greco-Roman wrestling before beginning their careers in mixed martial arts.
Wrestling is a strength sport that requires a large amount of muscle stamina. "Due to the high intensity and strenuous energy demands of a wrestling match, athletes must consume the needed nutrition requirements". Wrestlers who deprive their bodies of nutrients can lead to fatal affects. Unsafe practices including rubber suits and crash diets have been banned by some coaches and trainers in order to keep their athletes healthy.