WRESTLING SPORT RULES


WRESTLING  rules title

OBJECTIVE OF WRESTLING: Pin the opponent’s back against the ground for at least two seconds, or accumulate more points than the opponent by the end of the match.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 players

MATERIALS: Singlet, ear guards, knee pads, mouthguard, wrestling shoes

TYPE OF GAME: Sport

AUDIENCE: 4+


OVERVIEW OF WRESTLING

Wrestling is a martial art and combat sport that features two opponents grappling and attempting to wrestle each other to the ground. Unlike most other combat sports, wrestling is entirely based on takedowns, meaning intentional punches, kicks, or other strikes are not allowed.

As a primitive activity seemingly ingrained into adolescent boys’ DNA, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to hear that wrestling is widely considered the world’s oldest sport. This ancient sport, which is also said to be the first recreational form of combat, likely dates back 15,000–20,000 years, based on preserved drawings in southern European caves.

More substantial evidence of wrestling can be found in Ancient Egyptian and Babylonian drawings, some of which clearly depict holding techniques still used by wrestlers today. Furthermore, there is even a passage in the Old Testament referencing Patriarch Jacob (Israel) “wrestled” with an angel.

Unlike many ancient sports that seemingly disappear for a considerable period, wrestling is well documented in just about every single point of history. This includes Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, the Middle Ages, and even among the earliest British settlers in America, who found that the Native Americans already had strong wrestling traditions.

In the modern day, wrestling has continued with its immense popularity. Wrestling has been featured at every Olympics since 1904. Moreover, wrestling is a competitive sport offered by most American high schools and colleges offer today.

SETUP

WRESTLING match

EQUIPMENT

  • Singlet: A traditional one-piece uniform worn by wrestlers. Singlets are tight-fitting and often made of spandex or nylon.
  • Ear Guards: Headgear that provides ample protection to both of a wrestler’s ears. A lack of ear protection can lead to “cauliflower ear”.
  • Knee Pads: Competitors wear knee pads if their wrestling style involves them sliding around on the ground a lot.
  • Mouthguard: A general safety precaution taken to protect the teeth and mouth.
  • Wrestling Shoes: High-top shoes designed to provide the wrestler with extra traction and ankle support. These are often meant to be as minimally intrusive as possible, meaning they are extremely light and flexible.

WRESTLING MATCH FORMAT

Wrestling matches consist of two 3-minute rounds, totaling 6 minutes. Depending on the competition level, an overtime period may ensue if no winner is declared after the second round.

Most wrestling competitions are tournaments that are either done in a traditional bracket-style elimination or round-robin format. This way, the top two competitors in each weight class eventually meet in the final round for the gold medal.

To start a match both wrestlers will start at a neutral position. An incorrect starting position can create a false start, which can penalize you and team scoring.

WRESTLING STYLES

There are two main styles of modern wrestling: 

  • Freestyle wrestling 
  • Greco-Roman wrestling

Both of these styles are featured in the Olympics and possess many of the same methods of scoring and winning. However, Greco-Roman wrestling focuses on upper-body wrestling and forbids attacks below the belt. Meanwhile, freestyle wrestling allows the use and targeting of the legs.

GAMEPLAY

WRESTLING gameplay

WAYS TO WIN

In both Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling, an athlete can win a match in six different ways. These include:

1. FALL

Also known as a “pin”, a technical fall is scored when a wrestler is able to pin their opponent’s two shoulders or shoulder blades against the mat for at least two seconds. This results in an immediate victory.

2. TECHNICAL SUPERIORITY

An athlete can win by technical superiority if they amass ten or more points than their opponent at any point in a match.

3. DECISION

If no other win condition is met by the end of a match, the wrestler with the higher point total is deemed the winner.

4. DEFAULT

Default is a victory that results from an opponent’s forfeiture or withdrawal from a match. This includes if they never show up to the match.

5. INJURY

Wrestlers can win a match if their opponents are injured and unable to continue. This can include instances where the opponent takes too many injury timeouts or is bleeding too much that it becomes a hazard. However, keep in mind that an injury that occurs as the result of an illegal or dangerous maneuver disqualifies the offending athlete.

6. DISQUALIFICATION

Wrestlers can be disqualified if they accumulate three cautions in one match or commit flagrant misconduct. This results in the other athlete winning the match.

HOW POINTS ARE SCORED

To achieve a win by technical superiority or decision, an athlete needs to score a number of points. Here are the different ways you can score points in wrestling:

  • Takedown (2 to 5 points): A move that brings the opponent to the ground and allows the wrestler to take control of them. The highest amount of points is scored for throws of “great amplitude” that result in the opposing wrestler landing in a position of “immediate danger”. Fewer points are awarded for moves that bring an opponent to the ground, but not usually on their back or in a position that places them in immediate danger of being pinned.
  • Reversal (1 point): A move in which a wrestler in a defensive position is able to “reverse” their situation by gaining an advantageous position over their opponent.
  • Near fall (2 to 3 points): Also known as “exposure”, near falls are when a wrestler nearly pins their opponent by getting them on their back and meeting partial criteria for a pin. The longer this exposure lasts, the more fall points the wrestler wins.
  • Escape (1 point): One point is awarded for escaping a defensive position on the ground by getting back on two feet.
  • Penalties (1 to 2 points): Minor infractions result in the offending wrestler’s opponent gaining penalty points. Each penalty also carries the citation of a “Caution”. If 3 “Cautions” are given, the match is forfeited, and the opponent wins the match.

WRESTLING RULES AND PENALTIES

Here are the rules and penalties that result in the opponent getting 1 or 2 points.

  • Calling an injury timeout (except in the case of bleeding)
  • Intentionally striking the opponent
  • Using moves intended to injure the opponent
  • Using illegal holds
  • Purposefully going out of bounds
  • Grabbing the opponent’s clothing
  • Being overly passive (first comes with a warning)
  • Flagrant misconduct (immediate ejection and a three team point deduction of team points)

For the first two penalties an athlete commits in a match, 1 point is awarded to their opponent. The third penalty carries a 2-point penalty, and the fourth penalty results in disqualification.

END OF GAME

The athlete who successfully pins their opponent or scores the most points by the end of the final round is the winner of the match.

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