It is one of the oldest combat sports in the world.

The sport of wrestling is one of the most popular sports in the world. The origin of the sport can be traced back to around 15,000 years ago. Today various countries in the world have developed their versions of the sport.

All forms of wrestling involve numerous types of grappling techniques, clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, and pins. It is the art of gaining a superior position on an opponent and rendering them incapacitated by using one’s body weight as leverage. There are many different versions of wrestling depending on the culture it was developed in. In countries all across the globe, a unique version of wrestling can be found.

In this article, we will be listing down some of the most famous types of wrestling forms.


First on the list is one of the two wrestling forms that feature in the Olympic Games – Freestyle. In freestyle wrestling, the goal is to throw and pin an opponent to the mat, which of course, results in an immediate victory. One unique characteristic of freestyle wrestling is the use of a wrestler’s legs in both offence and defence. The sport is also contested at a wide variety of weight levels including light flyweight, flyweight, bantamweight, featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight, heavyweight and super heavyweight.

The rules are as follows –

  • An athlete is forbidden from locking in a leg scissor move to the head, neck or body of their opponent. Scissor moves on the legs or arms are, however, allowed.
  • If a wrestler is considered to be passive, they will be placed on a 30s shot clock. If neither athlete manages to score any points during those thirty seconds, the opponent is awarded a point. The passive athlete will also be given a caution.
  • If a wrestler receives three cautions during a fight, they will be disqualified from the contest.


It’s a wrestling style that was introduced in the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and has been included in every edition of the Summer Olympics since 1904. Greco-Roman wrestling, in contrast with freestyle wrestling, does not allow holds below the waist, or the use of the legs in offence and defence. This ruleset allows emphasis instead on throws, because it prohibits trip takedowns, in addition to hooking or grabbing the leg. Many believe that Greco-Roman Wrestling is the oldest sport on the planet, with ancient cave drawings suggesting that competitions may have been held way back in 3000 BC. 

The rules are as follows-

  • Holds below the waist area are forbidden. This includes grabbing the opponent’s knees, thighs or legs.
  • Leg trips, kicks and knee strikes are also forbidden.
  • Each fight round is separated into three segments: one 60s segment for neutral position combat (on their feet), and two 30s sequences for ground combat (on the mat).
  • The wrestler who scores the most points in the 60s neutral position segment will be granted the on-top advantage for the ground combat period. If the wrestler on top cannot score any points, his opponent on the bottom is awarded a point for good defence. The wrestlers then switch positions to allow both athletes a chance to earn points on top.
  • If neither wrestler scores any points during the first neutral position segment, the officials flip a coin to determine who begins the ground combat sequence on top.
  • The aim is to collect as many points as possible during every segment, as this gives the wrestler the best possible chance of claiming a victory on points if a fall cannot be attained.

Belt Wrestling Alysh

The word “Alysh” meaning “fighting to determine the strongest” finds its roots in ancient Turkish and was chosen by the International Federation of Wrestling on Belts to embody the bringing together of all belt wrestling styles throughout the world.

The belt wrestling matches take place over 5 minutes for men and 4 minutes for women. The competitors wear white trousers and either a blue or a green jacket held tight by a red belt. While holding each other’s belts, they try to throw their opponent to the mat. The technical points are awarded according to the kind of the throws: One point if the opponent lands on a knee or buttocks, two points if the opponent lends sideways or on a hip, and six points if the opponent lends on the back. The first competitor who scores six points wins the match. The rules adopted are simple so that all national belt wrestling styles can express themselves within a generic form of the kind.

The technical points are awarded according to the amplitude of the throws: one point if the opponent lands on a knee or his or her buttocks, 2 points if the opponent lands sideways or on a hip, and 6 points if the opponent lands on his or her back. The first competitor who scores 6 points wins the match.


The word Pankration comes from the Greek words “Pan” and “Kratos” meaning “the one who controls everything”. It is a world heritage martial art with the unique distinction of being the only martial sport in existence that can trace its roots to the ancient Olympic Games from 648 BC to 393 AD. Today, pankration is developed by United World Wrestling as a mild form of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). It forbids hitting the head. Pankration is practised both by men and women, according to the same rules.

In addition to individual competition, pankration includes two forms of choreographic team events that can be showcased with or without weapons. “Palaismata” takes place between two athletes and aims at assessing their level of knowledge. Whereas “Polydamas” takes place between one defendant and three attackers to simulate a dangerous situation to be overcome by the athlete. A pankration is an efficient form of self-defence that can be used for police and security training.

The rules are as follows-

  • Pankration competitions shall be held inside a ring or cage or on mats of adequate size. Competitions not held in a ring or cage must have a safety mat surrounding the competition area of at least 2 meters on all sides.  
  • The enclosure’s components, including all side protections and ropes, must be inspected for suitability and safety before the first match. 
  •  If a ring is used, each side of the squared boxing ring (the length of the rope on one side) should be a minimum of 4.5 meters and a maximum of 6.00 meters. It shall consist of at least five ropes for a pankration match.  
  • The minimum diameter of each of the five ropes shall be 2.5cm (1”).  
  • The lowest rope must be placed 20cm (8”) above the platform, while the top rope must be placed no more than 1.30m above the platform.  
  • All ropes must be covered with soft tightly fitted materials.  
  • The four corners must be made of metal. The diagonal distance between opposite corners must not exceed 10.6 meters (outside measurement). 
  • The height of the corners must not be more than 1.30 meters (52”) above the platform of the ring. 
  • All corners and protrusions in a ring or cage must be adequately covered to avoid possible injuries. 


The origin of “ Pahlavani wrestling “ goes back to ancient Persia. It was said to have been practised by mythological Iranian heroes in battles. Pahlavani wrestling was originally used to train warriors. It combines martial arts and wrestling technics, callisthenics, strength training and epic music. It is recognized by UNESCO as among the world’s oldest forms of sport.

The person who ever was well trained and defeat others would call Pahlavan or hero. The Pahlvani heroes are popular among people.
This style of wrestling confronts two competitors trying to take control of each other by throwing him back on his shoulder.
In Pahlavani wrestling, wrestlers wear a pant which extends from the waist to below their knees that contains a belt to hold the pants.
In this style, a wrestler is allowed to use or grab pants or a belt as a grip. Also, the wrestler can use legs, waist, clinch, leg trips and more likely lift and throw.

Unlike mat-based wrestling, there is no point scoring system; a win is achieved by pinning the opponent’s shoulders and hips to the ground simultaneously. Although a victory by knockout, stoppage or submission is also possible. In some variations of the rules, only pinning the shoulders down is enough. Bouts are overseen by a referee inside the ring and a panel of two judges watching from the outside.

Beach Wrestling

Beach wrestling competitions are conducted on beach sand. It is a standing-up position style of wrestling, where no moves happen while on the ground. The sport is practised by both men and women in many countries around the world.

The rules of beach wrestling are pretty simple. The first wrestler to three points wins. The matches take place on the beach in a seven-meter diameter circle and one point is awarded for a takedown or a pushout. If there is a feet-to-back takedown, then two points are awarded. Matches are one three-minute period with no overtime. There is no wrestling on top or bottom either. Once a takedown has occurred, the wrestlers are stood back up.

If the score is tied after three minutes, the winner is based on criteria. The first set of criteria looked at is the highest value action. So if the score is tied at two, and one man had two one-point takedowns and the other guy had a feet-to-back takedown worth two points, the second wins the match. If this set of criteria does not apply to the match, the last person to score would win. 

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