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Understanding Different Wrestling Styles: Folkstyle, Freestyle, and Greco-Roman

Wrestling dates back thousands of years and is one of the oldest combat sports. Various nations have created their wrestling styles throughout history, each with skills, strategies, and rules. Different wrestling styles formed as the sport progressed and spread globally, responding to the strengths and preferences of the athletes and cultures they represented. This article will look at some of the most well-known wrestling styles worldwide, emphasizing their distinguishing traits, historical relevance, and impact on modern wrestling.

Greco-Roman Wrestling: Maintaining Ancient Traditions

Greco-Roman wrestling is one of the oldest and most well-known styles, with roots in ancient Greece and Rome. Greco-Roman wrestling primarily focuses on throwing, takedowns, and grips using the upper body and arms. Techniques like the suplex and gut-wrench are standard in this form, which differs from freestyle wrestling in that competitors cannot strike or grip their opponent’s legs.

This historical style was preserved because of its inclusion in the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. It has been an essential element of the Olympic program ever since, attracting athletes worldwide. Greco-Roman wrestling is a complex and captivating sport to watch and play because it needs a combination of strength, technique, and mental fortitude.

Freestyle Wrestling: An Athletic Display of Power

Freestyle wrestling, like Greco-Roman wrestling, has ancient beginnings, but it achieved great recognition and popularity during the nineteenth century due to the efforts of numerous nations. Unlike Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling allows competitors to execute maneuvers with their upper and lower bodies, such as leg assaults and grips.

Including freestyle wrestling in the Olympic Games, 1904 was one of the most significant advancements in the sport. Including freestyle wrestling in the Olympics highlighted its fast-paced and dynamic nature, appealing to a broader audience and leading to its global popularity. Because freestyle wrestling emphasizes agility, speed, and adaptation, it is both an entertaining spectacle for spectators and a stern test of athleticism for wrestlers.

Japanese Sumo Wrestling: An Ancient Tradition

Sumo wrestling, which has its roots in Japanese culture, is one of the world’s most traditional and distinct wrestling forms. It has been practiced for millennia in Japan and is firmly entwined with religious and ceremonial components. Sumo wrestlers, or “rikishi,” engage in a ” dohyo ” ring to force their opponent out of the ring or have any part of their body other than their feet touch the ground.

Sumo wrestling has a cultural significance visible during tournaments, where elaborate rituals and ceremonies are performed before each fight. Wrestlers must undergo intense training and follow tight diets to reach the enormous size and strength required for success in the sport. Sumo wrestling is a treasured aspect of Japanese culture, but it has also acquired international acclaim, attracting fans and wrestlers worldwide.

Lucha Libre: The Wild Mexican Wrestling

Lucha Libre: The Wild Mexican Wrestling

Lucha Libre, which translates as “free fighting,” is a Mexican wrestling style known for its lively and dramatic displays. While comparable to traditional wrestling forms, Lucha Libre is distinguished by its colorful masks, high-flying acrobatics, and exaggerated characters known as “luchadors.”

Wrestlers utilize masks to conceal their identities and create a mystery surrounding their personalities in Lucha Libre. Lucha Libre wrestlers display their agility and originality by performing risky maneuvers such as “huracánrana” and “suicide dive” to thrill the audience and provide an element of unpredictability to the matches.

Pehlwani: An Ancient Indian Wrestling Tradition

Pehlwani, known as Kushti, is a centuries-old wrestling style practiced in India. It is deeply rooted in the country’s cultural and religious traditions and is frequently associated with physical and spiritual discipline. Pehlwani emphasizes physical strength, endurance, and technical development.

Pehlwanis have traditionally wrestled on a clay surface, applying various concoctions to their bodies to preserve grip and decrease the chance of damage. Wrestlers undergo hard training under the supervision of expert trainers, adhering to stringent food and lifestyle regimens. Although Pehlwani’s popularity has waned in recent years, efforts to conserve this ancient form continue, and it still has a devoted following in India.

The British Contribution to Catch Wrestling

Catch wrestling, commonly regarded as the progenitor of modern professional wrestling, originated in the United Kingdom and prospered in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. It has diverse holds, submissions, and joint locks, making it a very technical and strategic style. Catch wrestling was essential in the history of professional wrestling, laying the framework for today’s entertainment-driven model.

Despite its historical significance, catch wrestling is more commonly practiced than once but continues to impact grappling and submission-based tournaments. Some of its methods have been integrated into MMA and submission wrestling, demonstrating the British wrestling style’s long-lasting influence.


Wrestling is a global sport reflecting human history’s diversity and richness. From the ancient traditions of Greco-Roman and Sumo wrestling to the dynamic flair of freestyle and Lucha Libre wrestling, each style offers something new, exciting spectators and motivating athletes worldwide. We may look forward to watching the continuous heritage of this ancient combat sport, which is forever entrenched in the tapestry of human civilization, as these wrestling styles continue to evolve and intertwine.

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