Practiced in many different styles and iterations over various times and places throughout the world, wresting essentially involves forcing your opponent to make contact with the ground on an area of his body other than his feet or forcing him or her into a specific position for a certain amount of time.
Though countless iterations of wrestling exist today, they each stem from one of three basic branches of wrestling that can be traced back to antiquity:
- Belt-and-Jacket. These types of wrestling use the clothing of the wrestlers to get a grip on their opponent.
- Catch-Hold. This style incorporates a starting position for each segment of the match where one wrestler holds the other in a specified position.
- Loose. Used in modern international competitions, the loose style begins with both wrestlers separated and free to choose their own grip within specified guidelines.
A total body workout, wrestling is especially effective at improving balance, coordination, agility, and endurance.
The oldest and most widely distributed sport known to man, modern wrestling has many iterations that stem from various corners of the earth.
The true origins are likely as old as humanity itself, but the earliest works of art depicting wrestling come from Babylonia, Egypt, and Sumeria in 3000 BCE.
Documented in 1500 BCE is a form of loose wrestling in India, and Chinese wrestling dates back to 700 BCE.
Similarly, wrestling was likely the most popular sport of ancient Greeks, where men belonged to palaestras or wrestling schools.
Wrestling was introduced to the Olympic games in 776 BC.
How to Perform Basic Wrestling Moves:
There are seven basic moves in standardized US wrestling:
- Stance: Choose a square or staggered stance, making sure most of your weight rests on the balls of your feet and allowing for forward or backward movement.
- Motion: Learn to move quickly and fluidly when circling, attacking, snap-and spin, or sprawling in defense. Agility under pressure is a skill gained through practice.
- Level Change: Changing levels, or lowering the hips to shoot for a takedown while maintaining proper balance and posture is paramount to wrestling success. Sprawling to defend a takedown is also level-changing.
- Penetration: When taking down an opponent, after getting close enough to reach, you take what’s called a penetration step to drive through them, keeping your head up, our hips forward, and your spine straight.
- Lifting: When performing a takedown, a wrestler can lift his opponent off the mat. Maintaining proper lifting technique prevents both you and your opponent from suffering an injury.
- Back Step: Before executing a throw, a proper back step needs to be accomplished.
- Back Arch: When attempting to throw your opponent, you need to pop your hips underneath him or her.
Introducing wrestling into your training regimen holds the following benefits:
- Teaches discipline
- Elevates physical fitness
- Increases Agility
- Improves Flexibility
- Teaches Self-Defense
- Promotes Confidence and Mental Toughness
- Increases Endurance
- Encourages heart health
- Teaches proper nutrition
- Improved balance
- Enhances Coordination
Though there are many types of wrestling, there are three disciplines recognized by the Olympic Games:
- Greco-Roman Wrestling: This style of wrestling forbids wrestlers to hold their opponent below the belt or use the legs to execute any move.
- Men’s Freestyle Wrestling: Allowing the use of wrestler’s legs for defense or offense, this practice is standard in the US.
- Female Freestyle Wrestling: Though most countries allow females and males to wrestle each other, the Olympics splits up the sexes for competition.
Practice Wrestling to Condition Your Entire Body
No matter how physically fit you think you may be, if you don’t wrestle regularly, stepping onto a wrestling mat to face an opponent for six minutes of pure strain will leave you panting in exhaustion and sore in places you didn’t know existed for days.
If you want to seriously up your overall fitness level, while increasing balance, agility, and coordination, make wrestling your next hobby.