How to Find Your Wrestling Style

How To Find Your Wrestling Style in 2018 How to Find Your Wrestling Style

Wrestling has a long and illustrious history

Wrestling is one of the oldest combat sports in the western world. It was integral to the Roman expansion and helped found the Olympics back in 300 bc. Even today, wrestling is a mainstay of the Olympic games and pop culture. Competitions like the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) see wrestling as a core component of a well-rounded fighter.

Wrestling is one of the most technical and physically demanding sports today. As a martial art, it is primarily concerned with positional based grappling. Biting, strikes by hands, feet, knees, and elbows are all banned. Depending on the style, other moves are also banned. But there are a number of ways to score points during a match.

Families across the world enjoy participating in and watching wrestling. There is just something about watching two nearly identical fighters battle for supremacy in an epic competition of strength and skill. But being in the ring is a whole different story than simply watching.

Some people want to get into the sport but aren’t quite sure where to begin. They may have seen an ad promoting a fight or a class that offers wrestling. It’s best for prospective students to learn the basics of the sport. So here is a quick synopsis of the most common styles.

There are three main styles of wrestling

Wrestling can be divided into three main categories: Greco-Roman, Freestyle, and Collegiate. Each style has its own benefits and weaknesses. They also have different ways to score points and restricted moves.

  • Greco-Roman
    Greco-Roman wrestling is the best known and oldest style of the sport popular in the Olympic games. Only grabs and holds above the waist are allowed in this style and points are awarded for takedowns and reversals.
  • Freestyle
    Freestyle wrestling allows combatants to utilize their legs in attack and defense. In addition to takedowns and reversals, this style gives points for near falls. Freestyle wrestling is a core discipline of many Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters.
  • Collegiate
    Collegiate wrestling allows arms and legs but bans a significant number of locks and bars. This style is common in American schools and reflects the scholastic nature of the sport. It provides additional methods of scoring points like time advantage and penalty points. If a wrestler scores 10 points over an opponent (like scoring 12-2 in a match) they automatically win.

The point is to pin

Wrestling pits two similarly built people against each other in a ring. Contestants must throw their opponent out of the ring or pin them for two seconds.  If both of their shoulders or shoulder-blades are in contact with the floor, the wrestler is pinned.

To protect fighters, most wrestling requires a bit of gear. Equipment includes a tight singlet, shoes and certain styles also require head protection. The singlet ensures the ref can see a pin and prevents wrestlers from holding clothes. The headgear protects the ears from blunt trauma that can cause the cartilage to deform. This is commonly referred to as “cauliflower ear” and is permanent.

Collegiate wrestling is easy to get into

Just about every high school in America has a Collegiate style wrestling program. Children as young as 4 or 5 can begin training and competing. Although many parents wait for their child to get a bit older before enrolling them in classes. Starting young can help children develop better coordination and emotional maturity but benefits depend on their mental attitude.

This style is physically demanding but also requires a fast mind. The variety of throws and grapples that are legal make it imperative that fighters remember how to counter them. This sport is divided between 8-14 weight classes, so it’s highly improbable to fight a larger or smaller opponent. This makes technique and endurance key attributes for talented wrestlers.

Wrestlers engage in grueling training regimens with strict diet requirements. Unlike other sports, this one demands full commitment if the person is looking to compete and win. The sport focuses on physical strength, endurance and reaction speed. A match can be over in seconds or take minutes of extreme exertion.

Freestyle wrestling dominates MMA

By treating the entire body as a weapon, this style embraces locks and bars that disable an opponent in seconds. Arms and legs become vices and levers to punish their opponents. With so much force applied to joints and blood vessels, it isn’t hard to break an opponent’s bone or make them lose consciousness.

The brutal efficiency of this style makes it a major focus of many MMA fighters. It also makes parents look twice at before allowing their children to get involved with. So it remains primarily an adult combat skill that cage fighters need to be able to defend against.

Professional wrestling is a bit different

But modern day wrestling fans may be more familiar with the freestyle wrestling made popular in the 1970’s and 80’s on network TV. Hulk Hogan, Triple H, and Andre the Giant all made their names by participating in these staged fights. This style is “Professional” wrestling and has personalities that are larger than life. Primarily an adult competition, this style is often scripted and incorporates an entertaining show along with the featured matches.

The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is the most popular brand of this type in America. The multifaceted nature of performing essentially a strongman acrobatics show means professional wrestlers have to dedicate themselves to their art. Even when choreographed, it still takes significant skill and showmanship to pull off. The bigger the promoter or venue, the more skilled and talented the wrestler needs to be.

In addition to complex technical acrobatics, professional wrestlers need to be able to act. The better they are, the more fans can buy into their personas. The live nature also requires a quick wit for improv and interacting with fans. Without an engaged fanbase, professional wrestlers often disappear from the ring.



  1. – Pedro Olavarria – Greco Roman vs. Freestyle Wrestling: Which is the Better Base for MMA?
  2. – 2016 international Olympic Committee – Greco-Roman Wrestling
  3. – Chuck Barbee – 2017-18 and 2018-19 NCAA WRESTLING CASE BOOK
  4. – Jay Hammond – The History of Collegiate Wrestling
  5. – 2015 International Olympic Committee – WRESTLING: History of Freestyle Wrestling at the Olympic Games Olympic Studies Centre