Wrestling is one of the world’s most ancient combat sports and was one of the sports in the ancient Olympic Games. Recently, wrestling was unceremoniously eliminated from the modern Summer Olympics. A huge outcry followed this decision and after months of protest, the sport was reinstated. This popular sport comes in a variety of forms and styles.

There are many kinds of wrestling, but just a few are displayed at the Olympics, including Greco-Roman and Freestyle wrestling. At first glance, the two look similar, but there are actually some very important differences. Freestyle wrestlers, for instance, are allowed to takedown a foe using their legs and they are also can hold and grab opponents below their waist. Neither of those moves, however, is allowed in the realm of Greco-Roman wrestling.

Another difference is that freestylers can throw an opponent down and then apply some type of hold, but Greco Roman wrestlers must stay in contact with their opponent during the takedown and then place their opponent in a hold. If they fail to do this, the hold will not count. While it would be wrong to say that freestyle wrestling is easier than Greco-Roman, freestyle wrestlers do tend to have more options available to them while Greco-Roman wrestlers tend to rely more on upper body force and strength.

When the modern Olympic Games came into existence in the 1890s, all of the ancient sports were included in the new games with the exception of pankration. This sport, which combines elements of wrestling and boxing, is quite similar in many ways to today’s mixed martial arts. Those practicing this combat sport could grapple, punch, kick, strike, throw an opponent down, employ chokeholds and just about anything they wanted in order to overwhelm an opponent. Only biting, nail scratches and eye gouges were not allowed. While it is not part of the modern games, pankration is recognized by FILA, the main governing body for all forms of wrestling.

Another type of wrestling that has many similarities to MMA is FILA grappling, although in this combat sport, striking is not allowed. Elements of wrestling, sambo, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu and American folk wrestling are all seen in FILA grappling, which has two categories, No-Gi or Gi, depending on what the fighters wear. The emphasis on grappling stresses the importance of strong groundwork skills and fighters spend a great deal of their time perfecting submission holds, such as chokes and joint locks.

These are just a few of the many forms of wrestling you can find all over the globe. There are few countries or cultures that do not have their own form of wrestling. In the Soviet Union, sambo was created and has continued to gain in popularity. This sport contains elements of Judo as well as wrestling. If you live in the nation of Turkey, you probably are quite familiar with grease wrestling, which is just about what it sounds like. Wrestlers coat themselves with olive oil and try to gain a hold of one another. While baseball might be the national pastime in America, in Turkey, it’s grease wrestling.

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