Wrestling is one of the world’s most ancient combat sports and was one of the sports in the ancient Olympic Games. Recently, wrestling was unceremoniously eliminated from the modern Summer Olympics. A huge outcry followed this decision and after months of protest, the sport was reinstated. This popular sport comes in a variety of forms and styles.
Of course, there are quite a few different styles of wrestling, but when we are thinking about Olympic wrestling, it’s either freestyle or Greco-Roman that is displayed. These two styles have similarities but also some fairly significant differences. For one thing, freestyle wrestlers are allowed to attack or hold an opponent below the waist, while contact below the waist is not allowed for Greco-Roman wrestlers. Use of the legs for takedowns also is forbidden in Greco-Roman, while freestylers can use their legs.
When Greco-Roman wrestlers take an opponent down they also have to stay in contact with the other person, while a Freestyler can throwdown their adversary and then they can apply some type of hold. While both types of wrestling are extremely tough sports, the Freestyle wrestler does have more options when it comes to holds and takedowns. Greco-Roman wrestling is primarily focused on use the hands, arms and upper body in order to overcome an opponent.
Another type of wrestling that was part of the ancient Olympics but not part of the modern games is called pankration. This is a combat sport that is basically a mix of boxing and wrestling. This is definitely more of a no-holds barred type of wrestling where few things, aside from eye gouging and biting, were not allowed. In many ways, this sport was much like modern MMA where opponents could utilize kicks, holds, punches, strikes and grappling techniques. This was actually the only ancient Olympic sport that was not reinstated when the modern games began, but it is recognized by FILA, which is the federation that governs most types of amateur wrestling
FILA grappling is yet another type of wrestling, which is similar in many ways to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo. It is basically a hybrid of the two aforementioned martial arts as well as wrestling and sambo. Again, it is quite similar to MMA, but striking is not allowed, nor is kicking and as the name suggests, the emphasis is on grappling skills. There are two styles of FILA wrestling, Gi and No-Gi, which simply means that either the fighters wear the Gi or they don’t.
These are just a few of the many forms of wrestling you can find all over the globe. There are few countries or cultures that do not have their own form of wrestling. In the Soviet Union, sambo was created and has continued to gain in popularity. This sport contains elements of Judo as well as wrestling. If you live in the nation of Turkey, you probably are quite familiar with grease wrestling, which is just about what it sounds like. Wrestlers coat themselves with olive oil and try to gain a hold of one another. While baseball might be the national pastime in America, in Turkey, it’s grease wrestling.