In ancient Greecewrestling occupied a prominent place in legend and literature; wrestling competition, brutal in many aspects, served as the focal sport of the ancient Olympic Games. The ancient Romans borrowed heavily from Greek wrestling, but eliminated much of its brutality. The first organized national wrestling tournament took place in New York City in 1888, and wrestling has been an event at every modern Olympic Games since the 1904 games in St. Louis, Missouri (a demonstration had been performed at the first modern Olympics). Greco-Roman wrestling became an event at the first modern Olympic games, in Athens in 1896. Since 1908, the event has been in every Summer Olympics. Freestyle wrestling became an Olympic event, in 1904. Women's freestyle wrestling was added to the Summer Olympics in 2004. Since 1921, United World Wrestling (UWW) has regulated amateur wrestling as an athletic discipline, while professional wrestling has largely become infused with theatrics but still requires athletic ability. Today, various countries send national wrestling teams to the Olympics, including Russia, Iran, Turkey, Mongolia, Azerbaijan, Gambia, the United States and several ex-U.S.S.R nations.
Wrestling disciplines, as defined by UWW,
are broken down into two categories;
UWW currently recognizes six wrestling disciplines in all.
Oil wrestling (Turkish: yağlı güreş), also called grease wrestling, is the Turkish national sport. It is so called because the wrestlers douse themselves with olive oil. It is related to Uzbek kurash, Tuvan khuresh and Tatar köräş. The wrestlers, known as pehalvan meaning "champion" wear a type of hand-stitched lederhosen called a kispet, which are traditionally made of water buffalo hide, and most recently have been made of calfskin. Unlike Olympic wrestling, oil wrestling matches may be won by achieving an effective hold of the kisbet. Thus, the pehalvan aims to control his opponent by putting his arm through the latter's kisbet. To win by this move is called paça kazık. Originally, matches had no set duration and could go on for one or two days, until one man was able to establish superiority, but in 1975 the duration was capped at 40 minutes for the baspehlivan and 30 minutes for the pehlivan category. If no winner is determined, another 15 minutes—10 minutes for the pehlivan category—of wrestling ensues, wherein scores are kept to determine the victor. The annual Kırkpınar tournament, held in Edirne in Turkish Thrace since 1362, is the oldest continuously running, sanctioned sporting competition in the world. In recent years this style of wrestling has also become popular in other countries.
Collegiate wrestling (sometimes known as scholastic wrestling or folkstyle wrestling) is the commonly used name of wrestling practiced at the college and university level in theUnited States. This style, with modifications, is also practiced at the high school and middle school levels, and also for younger participants. The term is used to distinguish the style from other styles of wrestling used in other parts of the world, and from those of the Olympic Games: Greco-Roman wrestling, and Freestyle wrestling. Some high schools in the U.S. have developed junior varsity and freshman teams alongside varsity teams. Junior varsity and freshman wrestling teams restrict competitors not only by weight, but also by age and the amount of wrestling a competitor can partake in. For example, some junior varsity and freshman competitors are not allowed in tournament competition due to the amount of mat time a wrestler would accrue in a short time period.
There are currently several organizations which oversee collegiate wrestling competition: Divisions I, II, and III of the NCAA, the NJCAA, the NAIA, and the NCWA. NCAA Division I wrestling is considered the most prestigious and challenging level of competition. A school chooses which athletic organization to join, although it may compete against teams from other levels and organizations during regular-season competition. The collegiate season starts in October or November and culminates with the NCAA tournament held in March.
Sambo is a martial art that originated in the Soviet Union (specifically Russia) in the 20th century. It is an acronym for "self-defence without weapons" in Russian and had its origins in the Soviet armed forces. Its influences are varied, with techniques borrowed from sports ranging from the two international wrestling styles of Greco-Roman and freestyle to judo, jujitsu, European styles of folk wrestling, and even fencing. The rules for sport sambo are similar to those in competitive judo, with a variety of leg locks and defense holds from the various national wrestling styles in the Soviet Union, while not allowing chokeholds.
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Catch wrestling is a classical hybrid grappling style that was developed in Britain circa 1870 by J. G. Chambers, then later refined and popularised by the wrestlers of travelling funfairs who developed their ownsubmission holds, or "hooks", into their wrestling to increase their effectiveness against their opponents. Catch wrestling derives from a number of different styles, the English styles of Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling, Cornwall and Devon wrestling, Lancashire wrestling, Irish collar-and-elbow wrestling, Greco-Roman, Jujutsu, styles of the Indian subcontinent such as Pehlwani and Iranian styles such as Varzesh-e Pahlavani. The training of some modern submission wrestlers, professional wrestlers and mixed martial artists is founded in catch wrestling.