Collegiate wrestling

Two high school students competing in collegiate wrestling.

Collegiate wrestling (sometimes known as scholastic wrestling or folkstyle wrestling) is the commonly used name of wrestling practiced at the university level in the United States. A very similar style is practiced at the high school and middle school levels. The term is used to distinguish the styles of wrestling used in other parts of the world, and for those of the Olympic Games: Greco-Roman wrestling and Freestyle wrestling. There are currently several organizations which oversee collegiate wrestling competition: Divisions I, II, and III, of the NCAA, NJCAA, NAIA, and the NCWA. Division I of the NCAA is considered the most prestigious and challenging level of competition. A school chooses which organization to join, although it may compete against teams from other levels and organizations during regular-season competition. The collegiate season starts in November and culminates with the NCAA tournament held in March.

Wrestling as a martial art

Wrestling has gained respect among martial arts practitioners, especially with the advent of mixed martial arts competition.17 Early competitions (e.g. UFC 4 & 5) saw wrestlers defeat stylists from more traditional, striking-oriented styles such as karate and kickboxing. Randy Couture (current UFC heavyweight champion) and Dan Henderson (current PRIDE champion in both the 183 and 205 pound divisions) both competed extensively in collegiate and Greco-Roman wrestling before beginning their careers in mixed martial arts. Other fighters coming from wrestling are: Matt Lindland, Matt Hughes, Sean Sherk, Urijah Faber, Tyson Griffin, Kevin Randleman, Mark Kerr, Don Frye, Mark Coleman, Brian Vettel, Tito Ortiz, Quinton Jackson, Rashad Evans, Jeff Monson, Matt Horwich.

Many other prominent and successful fighters began their training in various forms of wrestling, and fighters from non-wrestling backgrounds often pursue wrestling training to complement their other skills.

Professional wrestling: World Wrestling Federation(WWE/WWF)

Professional wrestling has grown in popularity over the past decade. The basis for its growing popularity is not confined to simply wrestling. The main professional wrestling league is the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), formerly known as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Professional wrestling most closely resembles a soap opera, with well-defined characters that play to the audiences' emotions. The violence is rampant; while much of it appears to be scripted, with combatants hitting each other with metal chairs and slamming through tables. Professional wrestlers such as the Rock (Duane Johnson) have forged their way into the television industry simply due to their popularity. The WWE has taken its act to global boundaries, even having a WWE Japan, Frankfurt, Australia, and so on.

Wrestling glossary

  • Position-This term refers to your position in relation to your opponent. Being in a good defensive position is the most important skill in wrestling. Getting your opponent out of a good defensive position is the one thing that must first be accomplished to penetrate into your opponent.
  • Bottom/Down-You are under your opponent and he is in control of you. If you gain the neutral position, then you have "escaped." If you gain the Advantage/Top position then you have "reversed" your opponent.
  • Advantage/Top-You are on top and in control of your opponent. In "folkstyle" wrestling, this is the only time points are awarded. A defensive wrestler must score an "escape' or "reversal" in order to score points, except for illegal holds or for stalling.
  • Stance-Being in a proper stance is essential in wrestling. It most commonly applies to the neutral position, but is also applicable in the bottom and top positions.
  • Square Stance-This means that your feet are even in alignment when you are in a standing position.
  • Staggered Stance-This means that one leg is farther forward than the other foot.
  • Squat Back Stance-A stance used in the down/bottom position in wrestling. Your knees and hands are as close to the lines as possible, with your hips sitting down on your heels.
  • Tabletop Stance-A stance used in the bottom position. Thighs are essentially perpendicular to the mat, and your back is parallel to the mat like a "tabletop."
  • Violation of Position-This can apply to the Neutral, Top, and Bottom positions. There are certain positions, which are correct, and certain positions, which are incorrect. An incorrect position prevents you from defending actions by your opponent.
  • Hand Control-This means that you are holding one or both of your opponent's hands with your hands. It is generally preferable to grab your opponent's hand instead of his wrist. There are occasions when it is preferable to grab his wrist.
  • Elbows In-This maneuver is executed by keeping your elbows aligned with your body; however, it does not necessarily mean that your elbows are against the side of your body.
  • High Leg Over-When you are in the top position, there will be times that you need to turn your hips towards the ceiling temporarily. By stepping one leg over the other and putting your foot to the mat, you are executing a "High Leg Over."
  • Two on One-This means gripping an opponent's hand, wrist, or arm with both of your hands.
  • Bridge-Forming an arch "Bridge" with your back and legs, by supporting your body with only your head and feet on the mat.
  • Chop-This usually means to pull the opponent's near elbow towards the mat.
  • Step and Slide-This is how your move your feet in a circle or laterally. You step sideways with one foot (this is a small step usually 6" to 1', you then slide your other foot to keep an even distance between your feet.
  • Back Heel-This can be done from the neutral and top position. In the neutral position it means stepping your foot outside and placing it behind the opponent's foot. In the top position this usually occurs with your opponent in a standing position, with you standing behind him with your hands locked around his waist. You place one of your feet behind his heel, and then pull him over the foot you've blocked.
  • Limp Arm-This is a method to release an opponent's overhook/whizzer when you are in the neutral or top position.
  • Rip Back-This means you take the opponent's head backwards over his hips by rolling over your own when you are at a 90-degree angle to the opponent.
  • Underhook-A form of tie up in the neutral position. You drive your hand and forearm inside your opponent's arm, and raise your hand and forearm up under the opponent's shoulder.
  • Crossleg-This means' reaching under the opponent's chest/stomach and grabbing the knee/calf of the far leg.
  • Crossface-This will drive the opponent's head away from you, by pushing his head with you're the bicep portion of your upper arm to the side of his head. This is used typically to counter leg takedown attempts, and on top to apply a crossface or far side cradle.
  • Swisher-To swing your feet away (like a windshield wiper blade action) from your body when in a squat back or tabletop stance.
  • Belly Down-This means put your belly so it faces or is on the mat.
  • Cut Him Loose-This means let your opponent go when you are in the top position. Your coach may want you to do this for the following reasons:

-You are about to be reversed, therefore let him go and give up only 1 point. -You are about to be called for stalling because you can't break your opponent down. This action will save a penalty point, which you may be able to make up by scoring a takedown. If you don't let him go you'll be penalized, then if he escaped he has scored 2 points instead of the one you gave up when you "cut him loose."

  • Trap-To hold a part of the opponent's body with part of your body. You may "trap" or squeeze his head with your knees, trap an arm by squeezing your elbow to your side, and so on.
  • Flanker-When in the top position this means you take a foot and calf of your leg and place it inside your opponent's leg. If you use your outside leg it is an outside flanker, which is the most commonly used type of flanker. If you use the inside leg, it is usually because the opponent stepped over your near leg.
  • Double Top Stretcher-You overhook both of your opponent's legs below the knees while in a chest-to-chest position. Many high school wrestlers refer to this as a "Saturday Night Ride."
  • Daylight-This refers to the distance between you and your opponent. Defensively you want to create daylight; offensively you want to eliminate daylight.
  • Turn the Corner-This means going from a head-to-head alignment to a 90-degree or less angle to your opponent. It means you will wind up to one side of the opponent.
  • Back Door-To go between the opponent's legs from in front until you are behind him.
  • Block-To keep a certain part of the opponent's body from moving. For example, blocking the opponent's foot, and driving or pulling his body over that foot will cause him to lose his balance.
  • Whizzer-This is the same as an overhook of the opponent arm from the front or when you are parallel to him.
  • Straight-line Defense-This mean's you keep your body on the same alignment as the opponent's, only your body is above his body. This is a means of stopping his penetration on a leg takedown attempt. Hopefully you will be able to stop his penetration, get him extended, and score a takedown by getting behind him.
  • Pinch Head Lock-Secure and underhook with one arm, and grab the opponent' s head in a "collar tie" lock your hands together, place your forehead in the opponent's temple. After doing this simply drive him down to the mat and onto his back.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Michael B. Poliakoff, "Wrestling, Freestyle," Encyclopedia of World Sport: From Ancient Times to the Present, eds. David Levinson and Karen Christensen (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 1996).
  2. ↑ Sacred Texts, The Mahabharata. Retrieved January 15, 2009.
  3. ↑ Benny Peiser, "Western Theories about the Origins of Sport in Ancient China," Sports Historian (16): 117-139.
  4. ↑ Scott T. Carroll, "Wrestling in Ancient Nubia," Journal of Sport History 15 (2): 121-137.
  5. ↑ Historical Pankration, Wrestling. Retrieved January 15, 2009.
  6. ↑ International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles, Greco-Roman Wrestling. Retrieved August 9, 2007.
  7. ↑, Wrestling etymology. Retrieved January 15, 2009.
  8. ↑ Merriam-Webster, Wrestling. Retrieved January 16, 2009.
  9. ↑ Thesaurus, American Psychological Association (APA): wrestling. Retrieved March 23, 2007.
  10. ↑ FILA, International Federation of Wrestling Styles. Retrieved January 16, 2009.
  11. ↑ FILA, FILA-Greco-Roman definition. Retrieved January 16, 2000
  12. ↑ FILA, Freestyle definition. Retrieved January 15, 2009.
  13. ↑ FILA, FILA-Sambo definition. Retrieved January 15, 2009.
  14. ↑ FILA, FILA-Grappling definition. Retrieved January 15, 2009.
  15. ↑ FILA, Beach Wrestling Rules. Retrieved January 15, 2009.
  16. ↑ Gary Mihoces, Wrestling's New World Rises from Sand, USA Today. Retrieved January 15, 2009.
  17. ↑ Erich Krauss, Warriors of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (Citidel Press, 2004, ISBN 0806526572).


  • Poliakoff, Michael. "Wrestling, Freestyle." In Levinson, David, and Karen Christensen (eds.), Encyclopedia of World Sport: From Ancient Times to the Present. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 1996. ISBN 0874368197.
  • Poliakoff, Michael. "Wrestling, Greco-Roman." In Levinson, David, and Karen Christensen (eds.), Encyclopedia of World Sport: From Ancient Times to the Present. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 1996. ISBN 0874368197.
  • World Wrestling Entertainment. Homepage. Retrieved October 22, 2016.