Art Sports: Wrestling

Wrestling is a sport involving two competitors competing to show their physical strength. This form of martial arts is as old as the mountains. Military are given training in wrestling as a part of self-defense systems. Folk people, who used lethal weapons as part of ritual fighting, also practiced it. Professional wrestling uses techniques like holding, clinching, leverage and locking.

The act of wrestling has been mentioned in many religious scriptures such as Old Testament Book of Genesis, where Jacob wrestles with the angel, The Mahabharata, where Bhima and Jarasandha wrestle. In recorded history, Chinese wrestling or Shuai Jiao is the oldest form of wrestling continuing since four thousand years, which the Yellow Emperor deployed to defeat rebel Chih Yui and his army. Both the armies wore horned helmet to aim with at the opponent. This early form was called Jiao Ti. Hands replaced the horns later. According to documented evidence on the tomb of the Old Kingdom philosopher Ptahhotep, Egyptians and Nubian wrestlers used to engage in wrestling for competitive purpose, around 2300 BC. Later during the Greek era, 1100 BC – 146 BC, Greek wrestling was practiced in competition where one wrestler would force his competitor to the ground and made him accept defeat or used to push him out of the boundary. When the Romans conquered Greece, they inherited the martial art and gave it their name, Roman wrestling.

Wrestling can be broadly divided into two categories, International wrestling and folk wrestling. International wrestling includes freestyle wrestling, sambo, Greco-roman wrestling, beach wrestling, judo and grappling. Freestyle wrestling is a part of the Olympics sports. It is a form of amateur wrestling where two wrestlers of the same weight class compete with each other. A wrestler is declared a winner when he defeats his opponent by five methods. They are winning by fall, winning by superiority, winning by decision, winning by injury and winning by disqualification. The basic rule is that a wrestler can hold the legs of his opponent and trip him. A good wrestler is quick and has good maneuvering skills. It is the only form of international wrestling meant for women.

In Greco-Roman style, a wrestler cannot hold his opponents leg and trip him and nor can he hold the opponent below his waist. It is also a type of amateur wrestling which is part of the Olympics. Grappling or submission wrestling involves no strikes, Gripping, handling and controlling defeats the opponent. There are many grappling techniques involved. Grappling can be practiced while standing or when on the ground. They are known as stand-up grappling and ground grappling respectively. The types of grappling are catch wrestling, luta livre, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, jujutsu, pankration and shoot wrestling.

Japanese martial art or Judo originated in the late nineteenth century, in Japan. The opponent is thrown to the ground and is forced to accept defeat by choking or joint locking.

The unique characteristic of beach wrestling is that the wrestlers wrestle inside a ring filled with sand. Heavy and light are the only two weight class categories. Wrestlers wearing swimsuits throw the opponent to the ground, to get on their backs. Women are also practicing this game.

Sambo is the modern martial art that developed in Soviet Union and is one of the amateur wrestling.

There are many versions of folk wrestling depending on the location of origin and culture in the specified area. Folk wrestling is yet to receive the status of International wrestling.

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