Skip to main content
Select Source:

wrestling

wrestling The modern sportive form of wrestling, an individual weaponless combat activity, probably developed in prehistory from survival fighting, when it became convenient to replace death or serious injury with a more symbolic victory. There is considerable evidence that wrestling existed in all early civilizations, although it was in ancient Greece that it really developed into a sport, and was included in the Olympic Games in 704 bc.

There is not one form of wrestling which is common throughout the world, but several different styles, which can be categorized into three basic types: belt-and-jacket styles, in which the clothing of the wrestlers — belt, jacket, or trousers — is used for grips; catch-hold styles, in which the wrestlers are required to grip each other prior to, and usually throughout the contest; and loose styles, in which the wrestlers, who can take any grip, apart from on clothing, are separated prior to the contest.

Wrestling styles can also be categorized according to five basic criteria required for a win. Break-stance involves forcing an opponent to relinquish a position; toppling involves forcing an opponent to touch the ground with a part of the body apart from the feet; touch-fall involves forcing an opponent into a specified position, usually supine, for a brief period; pin-fall involves holding an opponent, once thrown, in a specified position for a certain period of time; and submission involves forcing an opponent to admit defeat.

There are a number of notable national and local styles of wrestling. Glima, from Iceland, and schwingen, from Switzerland, are both belt styles, requiring toppling for victory; kushti, from Iran, is a catch-hold style, requiring a supine touch-fall; yagli, from Turkey, is a loose style requiring a supine touch-fall; sumo, from Japan, is a loose style requiring toppling; Breton wrestling, from Brittany, is a jacket style requiring a touch-fall. In Britain there are two notable local styles. Cornish wrestling is a jacket style requiring a touch-fall; Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling is a catch-hold style requiring toppling.

In international competition, there are only three styles of wrestling recognized by the Federation Internationale des Luttes Amateurs (FILA). Both freestyle and Graeco-Roman wrestling, which are the only styles fought in the Olympic Games, are loose styles requiring a touch-fall for victory. They differ in that the former allows any fair hold, throw, or trip, whereas the latter does not permit wrestlers to hold below the hips, nor to grip with the legs. There are ten weight divisions in both styles for international competition; light flyweight, flyweight, bantamweight, featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight, heavyweight, and super heavyweight. The third style recognized by FILA is a synthesis of styles native to the former Soviet Union called sambo; the word is composed of the first three letters of the word samozash-chita (self defence) and the initial letters of bez oruzhiya (without weapons). It is a combination of loose and jacket styles requiring a submission for victory.

There are two further styles of wrestling worthy of note. Inter-collegiate wrestling, which is practised only in American colleges, is broadly similar to the freestyle and Graeco-Roman styles, apart from the points system. Professional wrestling, based on freestyle, is more accurately defined as a form of entertainment, rather than a sport, owing to its ‘choreographed’ moves.

M. Tripp

Bibliography

Arlott, J. (1976). The Oxford companion to sports and games. Oxford University Press, Oxford.


See also boxing; martial arts; sport.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"wrestling." The Oxford Companion to the Body. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"wrestling." The Oxford Companion to the Body. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wrestling

"wrestling." The Oxford Companion to the Body. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wrestling

wrestling

wrestling, sport in which two unarmed opponents grapple with one another. The object is to secure a fall, i.e., cause the opponent to lose balance and fall to the floor, and ultimately to pin the supine opponent's shoulders to the floor, through the use of body grips, strength, and adroitness.

One of the most primitive and universal sports, wrestling was probably known in prehistoric times. In ancient Greece, wrestlers were rated second only to discus throwers as popular Olympic heroes. The Greeks practiced two forms of wrestling—upright and ground. Wrestling was also included in the pentathlon and the pankration (combined with boxing); the most famous Greek wrestler was Milo of Crotona. Homer's account of the match between Ajax and Ulysses (Iliad, XXIII) is one of the world's greatest wrestling stories. Wrestling tournaments were held in medieval Europe, and the sport has remained popular throughout history.

Distinctly different styles of wrestling exist today. In Japan, for example, two types of wrestling styles are popular—sumo and jujitsu (see judo). Sumo, in which the object is to force the opponent out of the ring, is quasireligious in nature and involves much ritual. Most of its participants weigh 300 to 400 lb (135–180 kg). For centuries wrestling has been the center of life for the Nuba in Africa, who wrestle only after covering themselves with symbolic ash. In the traditional Turkish style of Pehlivan, wrestlers wear leather breeches and cover themselves with oil; the Shwingen style of Switzerland and the Glima of Iceland feature grips on the opponent's belt; the Cumberland-Westmoreland style from Britain relies on holds that bend opponents backward; in Central Asia, wrestlers still compete in Kuresh wrestling passed down from the Turkmen centuries ago.

Nearly all nations embrace the two types of wrestling contested in the Olympics: Greco-Roman and freestyle. Greco-Roman, most popular in continental Europe, prohibits tripping, holds below the waist, and the use of one's legs. Freestyle wrestling is most popular in the United States and E Europe. This form permits tackling, tripping, and leg holds. High schools and colleges in the United States employ a style that approximates freestyle. In nonprofessional wrestling, contestants are classified by weight. Wrestlers earn points for certain maneuvers and the highest accumulated total wins if there is no pin during a match. Professional wrestling in the United States, which is a form of entertainment rather than a sport, has enjoyed several periods of popularity; it relies on colorful showmanship and media exposure.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"wrestling." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"wrestling." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wrestling

"wrestling." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wrestling

wrestle

wres·tle / ˈresəl/ • v. [intr.] take part in a fight, either as a sport or in earnest, that involves grappling with one's opponent and trying to throw or force them to the ground: as the policeman wrestled with the gunman a shot rang out. ∎  [tr.] force (someone) into a particular position or place by fighting in such a way: the security guards wrestled them to the ground. ∎ fig. struggle with a difficulty or problem: for over a year David wrestled with a guilty conscience. ∎  [tr.] move or manipulate (something) in a specified way with difficulty and some physical effort: she wrestled the keys out of the ignition. • n. [in sing.] a wrestling bout or contest: a wrestle to the death. ∎  a hard struggle: a lifelong wrestle with depression. DERIVATIVES: wres·tler / ˈres(ə)lər/ n. ORIGIN: Old English, frequentative of wrǣstan ‘wrest.’

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"wrestle." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"wrestle." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wrestle-0

"wrestle." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wrestle-0

wrestling

wrestling Sport in which two unarmed opponents try to throw each other to the ground or to secure each other in an unbreakable hold, by means of body grips, strength, and adroitness. The two major competitive styles are Greco-Roman (most popular in continental Europe), which permits no tripping or holds below the waist, and freestyle, which permits tackling, leg holds and tripping (most popular in Britain and the USA). A match consists of three periods of three minutes each; points are awarded for falls and other manoeuvres. Competitive wrestling originated in ancient Greece, where it was regarded as the next most important event after discus-throwing in the Olympic Games. Wrestling has been an Olympic event since 1904. See also sumo wrestling

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"wrestling." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"wrestling." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wrestling

"wrestling." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wrestling

wrestling

wrestling is one of the oldest sports in the world and has always had a large number of local and national variants. It was included in the Olympic Games in 704 bc. In Britain, Cumberland and Westmorland, and Cornwall and Devon, developed their own versions, and it formed an important part of the Cotswold Games which flourished at Chipping Campden in the 17th cent. Wrestling was introduced into the revived Olympic Games in two forms—the Graeco-Roman and the free-style. Sumo-wrestling and judo are Japanese variants, the latter of which has become widely popular. Professional wrestling on TV had a considerable following in the 1970s but the bouts became so ludicrous that its appeal wilted.

J. A. Cannon

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"wrestling." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"wrestling." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wrestling

"wrestling." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wrestling

wrestle

wrestle OE. *wrǣstlian (implied in late OE. wræstlung), corr. to MLG. worstelen, wrostelen. (M)Du. worstelen; cf. OE. wraxlian.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"wrestle." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"wrestle." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wrestle-1

"wrestle." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wrestle-1

wrestle

wrestlehassle, Kassel, passel, tassel, vassal •axel, axle •cancel, hansel, Hänsel, Mansell •transaxle •castle, metatarsal, parcel, tarsal •chancel • sandcastle • Newcastle •Bessel, nestle, pestle, redressal, trestle, vessel, wrestle •Edsel • Texel •intercensal, pencil, stencil •pretzel • staysail • mainsail • Wiesel •abyssal, bristle, epistle, gristle, missal, scissel, thistle, whistle •pixel • plimsoll •tinsel, windsail •schnitzel, spritsail •Birtwistle •paradisal, sisal, trysail •apostle, colossal, dossal, fossil, glossal, jostle, throstle •consul, proconsul, tonsil •dorsal, morsel •council, counsel, groundsel •Mosul • fo'c's'le, forecastle •bustle, hustle, muscle, mussel, Russell, rustle, tussle •gunsel • corpuscle •disbursal, dispersal, Purcell, rehearsal, reversal, succursal, tercel, transversal, traversal, universal •Herzl

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"wrestle." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"wrestle." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wrestle

"wrestle." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wrestle

wrestler

wrestlerAllah, calla, Caracalla, Haller, inshallah, pallor, Valhalla, valour (US valor), Whyalla •gabbler, tabla •ambler, gambler, rambler, scrambler •Adler, saddler •handler •angler, dangler, strangler, wrangler •tackler • trampler • antler • dazzler •Carla, challah, Douala, gala, Guatemala, Gujranwala, impala, kabbala, Kampala, koala, La Scala, Lingala, Mahler, Marsala, masala, nyala, parlour (US parlor), Sinhala, snarler, tala, tambala, Uppsala •garbler • chandler • sparkler •sampler •a cappella, Arabella, Bella, bestseller, Capella, cellar, Cinderella, citronella, Clarabella, corella, Daniela, Della, dispeller, dweller, Ella, expeller, favela, fella, fellah, feller, Fenella, Floella, foreteller, Heller, impeller, interstellar, Keller, Louella, Mandela, mortadella, mozzarella, Nigella, novella, paella, panatella, patella, predella, propeller, queller, quinella, repeller, rosella, rubella, salmonella, Santiago de Compostela, seller, smeller, speller, Stella, stellar, tarantella, teller, umbrella, Viyella •Puebla •assembler, dissembler, trembler •medlar, pedlar •ländler •fin de siècle, Hekla •Kepler •exempla, exemplar, Templar •tesla, wrestler •embezzler • Rockefeller •knee-trembler • saltcellar •bookseller • storyteller

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"wrestler." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"wrestler." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wrestler

"wrestler." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wrestler

wrestling

wrestlingbrambling, rambling •hatchling • brandling •gangling, wrangling •crackling • sapling •fatling, Gatling •mantling, scantling •darling, sparling, starling •sampling • starveling •dwelling, misspelling, self-propelling, spelling, swelling, telling, upwelling •trembling • vetchling • fledgling •nestling, wrestling •storytelling •failing, grayling, mailing, paling, railing, sailing, tailing, unavailing, veiling, wailing •changeling • boardsailing •parasailing •appealing, ceiling, Darjeeling, dealing, feeling, Keeling, peeling, revealing, self-sealing, shieling, wheeler-dealing, wheeling •reedling, seedling •weakling • Riesling •deskilling, filling, grilling, killing, Pilling, quilling, Schilling, self-fulfilling, shilling, Trilling, unfulfilling, willing •sibling • kindling • piffling •inkling, sprinkling, tinkling •Kipling, stripling •princeling • witling •brisling, quisling •painkilling •filing, piling, reviling, tiling, unsmiling •motorcycling • hairstyling • rockling •gosling •calling, Pauling •lordling • porkling •cowling, fowling •foundling, groundling •ruling, schooling •intercooling • wirepulling •grumbling •buckling, duckling, Suckling •youngling • coupling • dumpling •puzzling • swashbuckling •shearling, yearling •hireling •towelling (US toweling) •gruelling (US grueling) •babbling, dabbling •marbling • scribbling •mumbling, rumbling •sanderling • middling • doodling •underling • rifling • shuffling •strangling • fingerling •enamelling (US enameling) •rustling • rattling •bitterling, chitterling •titling •sterling, Stirling •nurseling, nursling •earthling

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"wrestling." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"wrestling." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wrestling

"wrestling." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wrestling