Getting to know more about wrestling styles

There is more to wrestling than just grappling bodies on the floor. Considering its rich and long history, the sport has developed a lot of styles. Since lots of countries discovered the art of the sport, each one has shared its take on wrestling. Consequently, there are now various wrestling styles with different rules and mechanics in terms of winning. Get to know each one of them as you read through this article.

Greco-Roman wrestling

The first style of wrestling that entered the modern Olympic Games was Greco-Roman wrestling. This style is performed on a circular mat and wrestlers can only use or attack with their upper bodies. With a variety of movements, both contestants should compete for three rounds. Additionally, Greco-Roman wrestling has a scoring system that helps judges determine the winner. See the list below for your reference:

Takedown – This is when a wrestler brings their opponent down on the ground from a standing position. Judges can give a score from 2 to 5 points depending on the technicalities and situation.

Reversal – This situation occurs when a wrestler is in a defensive position on the ground but manages to use it as a way to attack. When this happens, that wrestler receives 1 point.

Exposure – When a wrestler exposes their opponent’s back on the ground, they can get 2 to 3 worth of points. However, this situation needs to follow certain conditions before it can be considered.

Penalty – A wrestler can get 1 to 2 points when their opponent calls a time out without any cause of bleeding. Moreover, doing prohibited moves is considered a penalty and the points will be awarded to the one who was on the ground.

Out of bounds – Wrestlers need to stay inside the circular mat and if one of them happens to go out of it, the other will receive a point.

Besides that, Greco-Roman wrestling has different categories of winning:

  • Win by pin/fall – A wrestler wins when they successfully pinned their opponent’s back on the floor for 1 to 2 seconds. 
  • Win by technical pin/fall – A wrestler garnering 8 points before any break in the action will win the match.
  • Win by judges’ decisions – When there are no pins or falls, the judges will crown the wrestler who has more points than the opponent.
  • Win by default – There are cases when a wrestler does not appear in a match. As such, this makes the one present the winner.
  • Win by disqualification – There are only three chances given per wrestler, and if they lose these due to fouls, they will be disqualified. Consequently, the opponent will be the winner.

Freestyle wrestling

Aside from the Greco-Roman style, freestyle wrestling is also present in the Olympic Games. Here, a match lasts for two matches periods with a 30-second break in between. Moreover, each period has a time limit of three minutes. Like Greco-Roman wrestling, the goal of the freestyle version is to pin the opponent’s back on the floor for a short time. 

As people get strong during training, winning by fall is a rarity nowadays. That is why there are other ways to win a match, and they are as follows:

Victory by points 

Freestyle wrestling also has a pointing system that awards the more skilful wrestler. Wrestlers can get points by doing legal holds, back exposure, throws, takedowns or reversals. Aside from that, executing difficult moves perfectly is also a ground for gaining points during a match. Additionally, wrestlers creating penalties will get sanctioned by awarding their opponents with points.

In the case of a tie, the decision lays on the number of cautions that the wrestlers accumulated throughout the match. Whoever has the lowest number will win.

Other than that, here are other factors that differentiate freestyle wrestling from Greco-Roman style:

  1. Freestyle wrestling allows the use of lower limbs
  2. Wrestlers are allowed to let go of contact and re-establish afterwards
  3. The techniques of freestyle wrestlers usually involve the defence of the lower body
  4. Freestyle wrestling treats passivity as something wrong. When a wrestler is passive, they will get a verbal warning. After 30 seconds and they are still not moving, the referee will issue the judges a 30-second mandatory scoring window.

Shuai Jiao

Originating from China, Shuai Jiao is a style of wrestling that involves jackets and the wushu styles of Beijing, Tianjin and Baoding. When translated to English, Shuai Jiao means ‘to fall down’ and wrestlers need to make use of the jackets they wear. 

This wrestling style has 3 rounds lasting for 2 minutes each and there is also 30 second break time in between them. Aside from that, here are the allowable techniques in Shuai Jiao:

  • Throwing
  • Sweeping
  • Takedowns
  • Standing grappling
  • Shoot techniques
  • Using the opponent’s jacket, belt and limbs to execute a legal movement.

With that being said, judges determine the winner of Shuai Jiao through the accumulation of points of each wrestler. Whoever has the most points will win the match. As such, here is a breakdown of points in Shuai Jiao:

1 point2 points3 pointsNo point
A wrestler remains standing while the opponent touches the floor with a hand, elbow or knee.A wrestler remains standing while the opponent touches the floor with both hands or knees.A wrestler lands a successful throw and makes their opponent spin 180 degrees and land on their back.Both wrestlers fall on the floor or step out of bounds.
A wrestler sweeps or takes down the opponent and lands on top of their torso.A wrestler sweeps or takes down the opponent. The opponent should land on their chest or their bottom.
A wrestler pushes their opponent out of bounds or when the opponent falls due to imbalance. A wrestler throws their opponent and causes them to lie on their side or back.

As for the warnings and penalties, here are the following rules:

  • No point penalty
  • One point penalty
  • Disqualification.


The most famous form of martial arts in Japan is sumo wrestling. The goal of this sport is to push the opponent out of the playing rink. Besides that, all wrestlers can also make their opponents land on the floor and win the match. While this may sound easy, most sumo wrestlers use their heavyweight as a form of advantage. 

Back in ancient Japan, sumo wrestling was considered a spectacle instead of a sport. The wrestlers would perform delicate movements with the hopes of appeasing the Shinto deities. This explains the formation of white salt that serves as a boundary line. When it was recognized as a national sport, later on, almost all of the matches would last around a few seconds. It is rare for a sumo match to last around a minute or so.

During competitions, there are no weight classes compared to other wrestling styles. This means that anyone, despite their size, can compete. That is why sumo wrestlers need to gain lots of weight to let the odds be in their favour.

Sumo wrestling appears like a sport that is easy to understand and execute. Although, it also has a set of forbidden rules like the following:

  • Hair pulling
  • Eye gouging
  • Hitting with closed fists
  • Choking
  • Grabbing the crotch area.

Lucha Libre

In Mexico, they have a style of wrestling known as Lucha Libre, and it is translated as freestyle wrestling in English. The concept of Lucha Libre is the same as the freestyle version where you need to pin your opponent’s back on the floor for a few seconds. However, the difference lies in the persona of wrestlers or the Luchadores.

The Luchadores are masked people with menacing characters that are usually based on their personal stories. Aside from that, their masks are majestically designed in a way to represent themselves in the ring. Moreover, Luchadores can create families and take in recruits to represent the branding.

These masked individuals are enigmatic, but people are so into the idea of how these wrestlers are considered superheroes. That is why the Luchadores would completely take a different personality as soon as they wear masks and execute signature moves that the audience would love.

Watching wrestling matches

In the United States, there are a lot of wrestling matches that are available for you to attend. Moreover, almost all wrestling styles have tournaments, which you can reserve tickets for! The most popular wrestling matches are the ones that WWE hosts every year. Here, you will see the high-performing professionals who are ready to give you entertainment.

If you want to start small, Peach State Wrestling Alliance has weekend matches that are available for you to see! Just book the tickets at the website to secure a seat in the stadium. 

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