Grappling With Wrestling
By Timothy Wee
April 11, 2013
Last week, we pedalled our way through the world of Extreme Biking.
This week, we will throw you into the world of wrestling in our Alternative Sports series.
While your mind must be filled with images of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)’s flamboyant spandex tights, fancy finishing moves and dramatic storylines, we can assure you that those impressions of wrestling cannot be further from the truth. Let us tell you more…
Photos courtesy of diehardprowrestling.com, cybercomicsandtoys.com and whatculture.com
Wrestling is a combat sport which focuses on grappling techniques. The techniques employed in this unarmed sport include clinch fighting, throws, takedowns, joint locks, pins and holds.
Considered as one of the oldest combat sport, pictorial wrestling evidence can be found in Mongolian cave painting dated 7000BC. There’s also archaeological evidence of the sport in ancient Egypt. Hieroglyphics depicting wrestling matches shows the similarities to matches of today. But, it was the ancient Greeks who integrated wrestling into their culture as it took centre stage in their Olympic games.
Pictures courtesy of lucasfever.blogspot.sg and minervaclassics.com
Today, there are two categories of modern wrestling - international and folk wrestling. Each category has numerous forms of wrestling under its wing. However, it is the international wrestling disciplines such as Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling which enjoys the popularity rather than the folk style, oil wrestling. So it’s no surprise that both Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling are officially recognised Olympic sports.
Greco Roman, Freestyle and Oil Wrestling
Photos courtesy of washingtonpost.com, canada.com and yabangee.com
In a stark departure from the familiar WWE match format, Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling match consists of three, two-minute periods. The differences don’t end there. In Greco-Roman wrestling, competitors are prohibited from using their legs for offense.
The two wrestlers tangle on a mat with each trying to score a fall victory by pinning their opponent’s shoulders to the ground. If a pin is not achieved by either wrestler, the victor will be determined by a point system which rewards the competitors for every successful takedown, reversal or grapple attempted. In addition, points will be deducted whenever a wrestler strays out of the mat, flees from a grapple engagement or calls for a timeout.
Photos courtesy of lumixgexperience.panasonic.co.uk, fightwearasia.blogspot.sg and thehindu.com
As you can see, the sport of wrestling is a far cry from the shenanigans of WWE. It is a highly tactical sport which holds a rich heritage and demands the highest level of precision.
So if you feel like locking arms and executing complex holds, head down to your nearest athletics clubs.
You can also learn more about local wrestling from the Wrestling Federation of Singapore.