The term wrestling is an Old English word that originated some time before 1100 A.D. It is perhaps the oldest word still in use in the English language to describe hand-to-hand combat. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines wrestling as "a sport or contest in which two unarmed individuals struggle hand-to-hand with each attempting to subdue or unbalance the other".
· Shuai Jiao, a wrestling style originating in China, has a reported history of over 4,000 years.
· In Pharaonic Egypt, wrestling has been evidenced by documentation on tombs (circa 2300 BC) and Egyptian artwork (2000-1085 BC).
· Greek wrestling was a popular form of martial art (about 1100 to 146 BC).
· Roman Wrestling: After the Roman conquest of the Greeks, Greek wrestling was absorbed by the Roman culture and became Roman Wrestling during the period of the Roman Empire from 510 BC to AD 500.
· Arabic literature depicted Muhammad as a skilled wrestler.
Greco-Roman wrestling and modern freestyle wrestling were soon regulated in formal competitions.
· Greco-Roman wrestling became an event at the first modern Olympic games, in Athens in 1896. Since 1908, the event has been in every Summer Olympics.
· Freestyle wrestling became an Olympic event, in 1904. Women's freestyle wrestling was added to the Summer Olympics in 2004.
Since 1921, the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) has regulated amateur wrestling as an athletic discipline, while professional wrestling has largely become infused with theatrics.
Amateur wrestling is the most widespread form of sport wrestling. There are two international wrestling styles performed in the Olympic Games under the supervision of FILA: Greco-Roman and freestyle.
Freestyle wrestling is an 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 and the prime victory condition in this style involves the wrestler winning by pinning his opponent on the mat.
Points can be scored in the following ways:
· Takedown: A wrestler gaining control over his opponent from a neutral position.
· Reversal: A wrestler gaining control over his opponent from a defensive position.
· Exposure or the Danger Position: A wrestler exposing his opponent's back to the mat for several seconds, also awarded if one's back is to the mat but the wrestler is not pinned.
· Penalty: Various infractions (e.g. striking the opponent, acting with brutality or intent to injure, using illegal holds, etc.).
A match can be won in the following ways:
- Win by Fall: A fall, also known as a pin, occurs when one wrestler holds both of his opponents' shoulders on the mat simultaneously.
- Win by Technical Superiority: If one wrestler gains a 6-point lead over his opponent at any point in the period, the current period is declared over, and he is the winner of that period. Also, if a wrestler executes one 5-point throw or two 3-point throws in a single period, the current period is declared over, and he is the winner of that period by technical superiority. If a wrestler wins two out of three periods in this way, he is then the winner of the match by technical superiority.
- Win by Decision: If neither wrestler achieves either a fall or technical superiority, the wrestler who scored more points during the period is declared the winner of that period. If the wrestlers have gained the same number of points at the period's end, then the winner is determined in the following order:
- 1. The number of cautions given to each wrestler for penalties
- 2. Most three-point moves
- 3. Most two-point moves
- 4. Most one-point moves
- 5. Last technical point scored.
· Win by Default: If one wrestler is unable to continue participating for any reason or fails to show up on the mat after his name was called 3 times before the match begins, his opponent is declared the winner of the match by default, forfeit or withdrawal.
· Win by Injury: If one wrestler is injured and unable to continue, the other wrestler is declared the winner. This is also referred to as a medical forfeit or injury default. The term also encompasses situation where wrestlers become ill, take too many injury time-outs, or bleed uncontrollably. If a wrestler is injured by his opponent’s illegal manoeuvre and cannot continue, the wrestler at fault is disqualified.
· Win by Disqualification: Normally, if a wrestler is assessed 3 cautions for breaking the rules, he is disqualified. Under other circumstances, such as flagrant brutality, the match may be ended immediately and the wrestle disqualified and removed from the tournament.
In freestyle, if neither wrestler has scored a point at the end of the two-minute period then a procedure known as The Clinch is used to decide the winner. The referee flips a colored disk with a blue side and a red side. This determined which wrestler will take the opponent's leg while kneeling in front of his opponent. Once the referee blows his whistle, the kneeling wrestler has 30 seconds to score a point and win the period. If he does not score or his opponent scores first, then the wrestler whose leg was taken to start the period is declared the winner.
While there is not much equipment that a wrestler wears, it is still highly specialized. A wrestling singlet is a one-piece, tight-fitting, colored, lycra uniform. The uniform is tight-fitting so as not to get grasped accidentally by the opponent and allows the referee to see each wrestler's body clearly when awarding points or a pin. Women wrestlers wear a higher cut singlet usually with a sports-bra underneath.
Wrestling shoes are light, flexible, thin-soled, ankle-high sneakers that allow maximum speed and traction on the mat without giving up ankle support. The current rules call for laces (if any) to be covered so that they do not come untied during competition.
In American high school and college wrestling headgear is mandatory to protect the ears from cauliflower ear and other injuries. Headgear is made from molded plastic polymer or vinyl coated energy absorbing foam over a rigid hard liner and strapped to the head tightly. In the international styles headgear is optional.
Wrestling is conducted on a padded mat that must have excellent shock absorption, tear resistance, and compression qualities. Most mats are made of PVC rubber nitrile foam. Recent advances in technology have brought about new mats made using closed cell, cross-linked polyethylene foam covered in vinyl backed with non-woven polyester.
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