How to Find Your Wrestling Style
We’ve all seen the movies: The year-708 BC, the place-Ancient Greece, the event-Wrestling at the Olympic Games. The scene begins with a pair of sleek, glistening figures slowly making their way into the arena. All eyes are on the muscular, well-defined wrestlers, as the main, long anticipated event is about to begin. Slowly and deliberately, they move into position, each one claiming victory in his own mind. Suddenly, a deafening silence permeates the arena as each opponent locks eyes with the other. This is it. This is the match that will crown one wrestler the victor and the best living example of superior human strength. Everyone has the same question on their minds-who will win?
The Significance and Definition of Wrestling
The term wrestle is used interchangeably; one describing the spiritual battles we humans experience during the course of our lives-the other is held in high regard as a great competitive sport. Wrestling is the physical contact between two opponents, both striving for dominance and the eventual win by scoring points. With both arms extended, they seize each other by the arms and collar area of the neck. Each wrestler has been training with the goal of grappling with an opponent in order to throw them down on the ground by tripping them up and getting him or her off balance. Every move has been studied and practiced for months, perhaps even years.
How the Sport of Wrestling Has Evolved
Sophisticated Techniques and Physical Prowess
From the time the first Greek coins were made immortalizing their heroes in action, the sport of wrestling has endured and evolved throughout the centuries. Wrestling rules and techniques are consistently being updated while the goal remains the same-overpower and gain control. And, in order to do that, the wrestlers who possess the ability to demonstrate the more sophisticated techniques, have the strength to endure and are physically fit are the ones who consistently end up winning the match. When a person finds themselves interested in becoming a wrestler, they should take the time to learn the various styles and rules for each one before creating a method of their own. The list below will give you a brief introduction into the world of wrestling-follow the steps for a clearer understanding of how the sport is run today:
Step #1: Greco-Roman
Ü Greco-Roman (United States) or Graeco-Roman (United Kingdom) wrestling is a particular style of wrestling that is practiced all around the world. It was initially introduced and contested at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Since then, it has been a featured event included in every summer Olympics held 1908.
o There are two three-minute periods where two wrestlers will be scored for their performance.
o The period can be terminated early by a pinning your opponent or, by making them fall.
o Greco-Roman Wrestling rules forbid holding below the waist; this is the main difference from freestyle wrestling, another form of wrestling taking place at the Olympics.
o As a result, there is an emphasis on throws due to the fact that a wrestler is not allowed to use trips in taking their opponent to the ground or,
o by grabbing or hooking their opponent’s leg.
o Greco-Roman Wrestling does allow arm drags, bear hugs, and headlocks, which can be found in Freestyle as well.
o A suplex is an offensive move used in both sport and professional wrestling. The suplex throw involves lifting the opponent and bridging or rolling so that you slam your opponent on their back. Although there are a variety of ways to perform the maneuver, the term suplex (without qualifiers) may also refer specifically to the vertical suplex. Even on the mat, a Greco-Roman wrestler’s focus must be set on finding several different ways to turn their opponent’s shoulders to the mat for a fall without legs.
o This style of wrestling includes techniques known as the body lock and the gut-wrench.
Ü According to United World Wrestling, Greco-Roman Wrestling is one of the six main styles of competitive amateur wrestling that are currently practiced in the world today. The other five forms are
o Freestyle wrestling
o Grappling/Submission wrestling
o Beach wrestling
o Pankration athlima:
§ Greek: παγκράτιον was a sporting event introduced into the Greek Olympic Games in 648 BC. It was an empty-hand submission sport with hardly any rules. The wrestlers incorporated boxing and wrestling techniques, as well as kicking, holds, locks and chokes on the ground. The only moves that were not acceptable were biting and gouging out the opponent’s eyes.
o Traditional/Folk wrestling
o Alysh/Belt wrestling
Step #2: Freestyle Wrestling
Ü In Freestyle Wrestling, all those competing enjoy much greater freedom. They are permitted to use their arms and bodies, as well as both legs. The goal is to take hold of their opponent anywhere on the body that will allow them to overpower and gain total control of them. Freestyle wrestling, like collegiate wrestling, has its roots in catch-as-catch-can wrestling. Both styles are similar in that the ultimate goal is to throw down and pin your opponent to the mat. The result is an immediate win. Freestyle and collegiate wrestling, unlike Greco-Roman:
o allow the wrestler to use their legs in offensive or defensive moves. This is also true with regards to the opponent’s legs.
o Freestyle wrestling combines elements of traditional wrestling, judo, and sambo techniques.
Ü According to United World Wrestling UWW, (the international governing body for the sport of amateur wrestling) freestyle wrestling is one of the four primary styles of competitive amateur wrestling that are practiced in the world today. The other main forms of wrestling are:
o Grappling (also known as submission wrestling).
o The UWW oversees the sport of wrestling at the Olympics. It sits in a position of authority for a variety of wrestling styles including:
If you’ve been into wrestling for awhile nothing thus far is new to you. Perhaps you even prefer the Greco-Roman or Freestyle methods and feel you’re in a good place. But, if you’ve read this far and still have a lingering hunger to find a wrestling style that suits you, a style that’s all your own-please stay tuned-there’s more to come.
Which Came First, the Style or the Wrestler?
The Grace to be Great
For the person seriously searching for that signature move, look or tagline-take a few pointers from those who have gone before you. Regardless of the sport, most legends gain notoriety and fame by simply “being themselves”. Well, sort of. There are many famous wrestlers whose names come to mind instantly, whether you’re a fan or not. The moment wrestling is mentioned certain names start to form, images appear, phrases are quoted and records are broken. But why, and how? Did these great and memorable wrestlers do anything different than the average athlete? Let’s start by looking at wrestling through the eyes of the athlete. First and most importantly, wrestling is not something you play. You can play basketball, baseball and football but wrestling is not a sport you play. Those who dedicate their talents and abilities to the sport of wrestling know it’s not a game-it’s a lifestyle. So, the first impression a wrestler makes is his or her ability to handle something so intimate, intense and demanding. Almost every country has wrestler’s they’re proud of. Men and women who worked hard and earned their place in history. Let’s take a look at some of their careers and the steps they took in developing their “style”:
Ü American Wrestler: His name was Gorgeous George and he was instrumental in making wrestling popular again after its decline in the early 1900’s.
o Fans showed up by the truckload—some hated him, but he never stopped boasting about how great he was. This journeyman wrestler was struggling during the Great Depression and times were so hard he marketed his talents by dyeing his hair peroxide blonde and he would show up to a match dressed to the nines, but not in the usual attire. Adorned in robes of pale pink silk, he entered the ring as if he was royalty. It is said that Gorgeous George directly influenced the great boxer, Muhammad Ali who created his own style of bragging and boasting after learning about him. Love him or hate him he will always be known as “The Outrageous Bad-Boy Wrestler Who Created American Pop Culture. The autobiography of Gorgeous George the wrestler would be a fascinating read for anyone interested in the history of the sport. It was written by John Capouya.
Ü American Wrestler: Joan Marie Laurer also known as Chyna was considered a true superhero in the world of wrestling. But her struggle was tough because she was larger in size than the other women she competed against in fitness competitions. Chyna’s refusal to surrender earned her the nickname, “Ninth Wonder of the World”.
o She was the first female wrestler to participate in the King of the Ring and Royal Rumble events.
o She also went on to win the WWE Women’s World Championship in 2001.
o She was also the first woman to hold the WWF Intercontinental Championship twice.
Ü French Wrestler: Jean Exbroyat earned the distinction of being the man to form the first modern wrestlers’ circus troupe in France in 1848. His claim to fame was managing the first wrestlers who would not execute holds below the waist — a “style” he named “flat hand wrestling”. This new style soon spread to the rest of Europe, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Denmark, Italy, and Russia under the names of Classic wrestling, Greco-Roman wrestling, or French wrestling. Towards the end of the 19th century, this modern “Greco-Roman” wrestling style gradually gained popularity until it became the most fashionable sport in Europe. In 1898 the Frenchman Paul Pons, “the Colossus” became the first Professional Greco-Roman World Wrestling Champion.
Ü Patricia Anne Stratigeas also known as “Trish Stratus” is a professional Canadian wrestler. Her career began as a fitness model and branched out into acting, television personality, fitness master and yoga instructor. She is retired now but during her career Stratus spent more and more time in the ring. People started noticing her apparent wrestling skills, and her popularity increased dramatically. Because of her commitment, she was named a one-time WWE Hardcore Champion, three-time “WWE Babe of the Year” and was proclaimed “Diva of the Decade, Stratus retired from professional wrestling at WWE Unforgiven on September 17, 2006 “. After almost seven years in the business and following the win of her record-setting seventh WWE Women’s Championship Trish Stratus retired. In 2011, Stratus was one of the trainers for WWE’s Tough Enough. In 2013 she was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as the youngest member in its history.
It would be impossible to list all the wrestlers who have created huge, iconic names for themselves. In fact, some have personalities that are so outrageous, it almost seems like they would have been successful no matter what field they got into. There are however several commonalities that become obvious after reading how these wrestlers made their way into the history books: 1) They were ready when the opportunity presented itself. 2)They kept training and competing after being discovered and 3) they weren’t afraid to leave their comfort zone. For some. the wrestling arena provides the spotlight that illuminates their talents, for others it is the springboard that catapults them into the record books. But, the reason we “remember” them is, they had “style” and they owned it.
Unleashing Your Wrestling Style
Discover, Develop and Dream
For many would be wrestlers, the journey begins while going to school. Whether high school or college, the sport is virtually everywhere-even the military. Every person who wants to find their wrestling “style” should start with the basic moves and techniques first. Once you’ve got those down, start tapping into and listening to your gut. Allow your instincts and perception to guide you, and, you’ll see your own personal style start to emerge. Let’s walk through the basic steps to discovering the wrestler inside you:
Step #1: The Double Leg
Ü Known as a very fast technique, the double leg shot is a very quick and easily executed takedown:
o The wrestler changes levels, driving forward off their back foot.
o Proceed to wrap the opponent’s legs, driving them sideways into the mat.
o Various “styles” of finishes can be implemented here but, they all use some variation of that particular move.
Step #2: The Single Leg
Ü Initially, the single leg motion is very similar to the double leg technique, with one exception; you’re only going to wrap one of your opponent’s legs, instead of both. The final moves made in a single leg takedown may vary even more than the finish to a double, but the most commonly used technique is performed by:
o Stepping back sharply once you have the leg secured and driving your shoulder into your opponent’s thigh.
o This style of finishing the move should lock out your opponent’s knee and force him straight to the matt.
Step #3: The Fireman’s Carry
Ü A very familiar and effective technique in wrestling is the Fireman’s Carry.
o The first step is to gain control of the inside of the opponent’s arm in the clinch.
o Then quickly change levels and wrap the leg on the same side securely to your shoulder, making sure their weight is firmly attached across both your shoulders.
o Driving upward using the leg that is on the same side as theirs while pulling down on their arm and shoulders.
o You will then be able to flip them over your shoulders onto their back.
Step #4: The Hip Toss
Ü Performing a hip toss is another type of clinch throw.
o While securing the opponent’s upper body, step through the space created between you and them to enable your opponent to be pulled across your lower back.
o Very quickly begin driving upwards with both legs while pulling your opponent down and across your body, tossing him over your back directly to the matt.
Step #5: The Sprawl
Ü The word sprawl is used to describe the move made in correctly countering your opponent’s shot.
o You should kick both of your feet back while driving your hips down into the mat just as your opponent shoots towards your legs.
o At this same time, use your lead hand (the hand that is on the same side as the targeted leg your opponent shot for first) to start pushing down on the back of your opponent’s head.
o This will result in driving his whole body down into the mat instead of forward and underneath you.
Step #6: The Whizzer
Ü A whizzer, also known as the overhook, is another variation of a clinch hold. It may be used for a variety of offensive moves and techniques, but one of the most important uses is its effectiveness when combined with a sprawl.
o If your opponent gets a tight grip on both your legs before you are able to sprawl on him, focus on getting a tight whizzer on one of your opponent’s arms and immediately turn your hips sideways. This will drive the opposition forward and past you. This maneuver should allow you the required space to complete a sprawl and escape the takedown.
To Be or Not to Be
For the Shear Love of the Sport
Not every wrestler wants to be famous. There are plenty of men and women dedicated to the sport just because they love it. And, from the physical standpoint, it appears that wrestling loves them right back. So many sports have the added benefits of better health, increased strength and boundless energy. It’s no wonder that a healthy lifestyle could be all that lies between you and your fitness goals. The steps below have been added because finding your wrestling style might just have its roots planted in your kitchen:
Ü Some people tout wrestling as the toughest sport anyone could possibly participate in.
o You might have to go for as many as 4-5 days without food.
o Two days without drinking water.
o Do your workouts inside a hot sauna after your normal exercise routine in order to qualify for a low weight class.
o Wrestle in matches that are extended from 6 minutes to 10 if there is overtime.
o No “time-outs” or slowing down as in other sports.
Ü In order to remain healthy and excel as a wrestler, it is critically important to:
o Give up all the unhealthy and potentially harmful foods and substances that will deplete your body.
o Be willing to train hard at least 3 times each day.
Are you getting the picture? This is war you are preparing for. The sport of wrestling is basically preparing one to fight against themselves. You’ll be matched with a person who is almost identical in size and stature to you, who has been training like a maniac with one thing on their mind-to take you down. They are willing to suffer injuries, go hungry, be thirsty and give up their social life just to train so they can beat you in the ring. Sound good? Great, let’s go!
Giving Props to the Promoters
Showcasing Your Style
Promoting wrestlers and showcasing their skills is an art form unto itself. Every event is perfectly orchestrated and meticulously choreographed to make every artist appear larger than life. All the elements for a great and thrilling show is ready to get underway. Let’s take a peek behind the curtain of one company who specializes in wrestling extravaganzas-the WWE; a company with a style all its own:
Step #1: WWE
Ü An American integrated media and entertainment company who is mainly known for promoting professional wrestling. It has branched out into other fields, including movies, real estate, and numerous other business ventures.
o As of 2018, it is the world’s largest wrestling promoter, holding over 500 events a year.
o The company’s global headquarters is located in Stamford, Connecticut, with offices in major cities across the world.
o WWE shows are not legitimate wrestling contests. They are founded on entertainment featuring scripted storylines, and choreographed matches. Even though the wrestlers are professionals that require training, athleticism and experience to perform moves, it often puts the wrestler at risk of injury if not performed correctly.
o This was initially acknowledged publicly by WWE’s owner Vince McMahon in 1989 to avoid being taxed by athletic commissions.
o Since the 1980s, WWE publicly has branded their product “sports entertainment”. By using this term, they acknowledge the product’s roots in competitive sport and dramatic theater.
Step #2: It’s Showtime!
Ü WWE makes all their production decisions including the entrances of the wrestlers based on television and storytelling. Sometimes the camera will show an entrance of a wrestler headed for a match and then suddenly cut to commercial. When this occurs it’s a clue to the audience that the wrestler can help keep the crowd tuned in during the commercial break. Additional components to setting up the perfect wrestling show include:
o A unique “style” of music is composed in-house depicting the story from start to finish
o The “sting” is a term describing the combination of music and production for example, a wrestler may record a phrase or sound effect which is played when they enter the arena.
o Camera work must be kept to the outside creating a “style” of photography resulting in the wrestlers always having to move in a counter clockwise direction.
o The wrestler works the left side of the opponent’s frame and when they rise after falling they must move counter-clockwise so that they face the section of the arena where the cameras are positioned.
o It is mandatory that a wrestler face the camera whenever they’re in a rest hold so their facial expressions are captured for the home audience.
o They must also correctly position themselves when working in between the ropes so the viewers don’t miss a thing.
o Producers need sound bites for marketing purposes so, if you think you’re headed into the spotlight start practicing your speaking voice during your takedowns.
o If your wrestling style gets you a television career, you are going to need an agent also known as a producer. The producer’s job is to help you win your match. They will help with promo material and coordinate matches. They agent you get is a key player both behind the scenes and while you’re in the ring, instructed the referee details regarding the match.
Everything you see on television has been extensively researched and placed for obtaining the maximum entertainment value the production can yield. The wrestlers are known for conducting meetings with their upcoming opponents to discuss and figure out what moves each one of them can do in the ring. They plan the whole match start to finish, find out their final moves, find out how much time they have to do everything and then start scheduling their spots. The meeting takes place to make sure there is no repetition of other matches or finishes. Whether your wrestling style takes you to the high school gym or to a worldwide television audience, you still have to have a solid foundation so you can bloom where you’re planted.
Only the last wrestler standing gets the win. Between here and there lie all the reasons why you should quit, take a break, try something else or just keep going. From the looks of it, wrestling gets into the blood and becomes the ultimate challenge for the many thousands who both love to perform or watch. Following a match, you’ll be overcome with exhaustion from giving it your all-and what about the days when there are multiple matches awaiting you? But maybe that is exactly what man and woman kind has been trying to understand as of 300 years BC-what am I truly capable of? Obviously, we can’t help ourselves, most people love, and I mean really love a good wrestling match as much as we love a wrestler with style.
http://www.mademan.com/mm/5-best-i-love-you-man-movie-quotes.html Basic Wrestling Techniques for the Beginner Joseph McAllister 2011-02-10 blog
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1778497-defining-the-wwe-style-and-what-separates-them-from-other-promotions Defining the WWE Style and What Separates It from Other Promotions Justin LaBar September 18, 2013