Wrestling as a competitive sport has been around for centuries. That makes sense, as wrestling doesn’t require any specialized equipment other than your own body, and you don’t need to organize an entire team of people to participate. All you need to wrestle competitively is a worthy opponent and some knowledge of the basic styles of wrestling. Of course, the more practice you have under your belt, the better off you will be, as well.
People have used wrestling to establish dominance through competition at least since ancient Roman times, in the very first Olympics, and most likely even for centuries before that. Through all this time, these basic styles have actually changed very little.
This is the most traditional style of wrestling which has been used in competitive arenas throughout the ages. Greco-Roman wrestling involves strictly upper body moves. You are not allowed to do things like sweep your opponent’s legs out from under them; in fact, you are not allowed to even touch their legs. Upper body strength and maneuvers are the keys to victory in a Greco-Roman wrestling match. Spectators enjoy the throws involved with this type of wrestling.
This is the type of wrestling which is much more dominant in today’s realm of wrestling as entertainment for the masses. Pretty much anything goes in a freestyle wrestling match. Pins tend to happen quickly in this type of wrestling and the use of and attack on legs-or any part of the body-is allowed. Opponents are typically much more aggressive toward one another in freestyle wrestling than they seem to be in Greco-Roman wrestling.
Folk Style Wrestling
This is actually the style of wrestling people know best in America, as folk style wrestling is the model most followed in high school and college level competitive wrestling.
Folk style wrestling is very similar to freestyle wrestling, with a few notable exceptions in rules of play and scoring methods. For example, while both freestyle and folk use a point system in determining a champion, freestyle scoring awards wrestlers anywhere from 2-5 points for different types of throws, while folk scoring only awards points for pins. This important difference can greatly influence a wrestler’s strategy in securing a win. From a spectator’s perspective, this can make a significant difference in the sheer entertainment value of any given wrestling match.
Wrestling has withstood the test of time as both a competitive sport and a popular entertainment venue for several reasons. First of all, it is a sport that is based not on high-tech equipment giving one opponent an advantage over the other, but on sheer individual strength and skill. Greco-Roman still represents the sport of wrestling in its original form though it has evolved to include variations such as folk style and freestyle…even professional wrestling has its roots in ancient Roman times. Whether you are competing or watching, wrestling has been a part of human civilization since the beginning of history, and it’s a past time that’s likely here to stay.