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On The Mat: Wrestling Styles

By Jerry Chavez | Chavez Photography

It can be argued that wrestling is the original sport. It is certainly one of the oldest and most respected sports, dating back to the 708 BC. Wrestling is defined as "a sport in which 2 opponents struggle hand in hand in order to pin or press each other's shoulders to the mat or ground, with the style, rules and regulations differing widely in amateur matches". Wrestling is similar to jiu-jitsu and boxing in that the ultimate victory is a stoppage of the match or fight. In wrestling that stoppage is a pin or fall, in jiu-jitsu a submission and boxing a knockout or technical knockout. Wrestling and jiu-jitsu are also similar in that if there is no stoppage to the fight points are used to determine the winner. The skills tactics and techniques used to score and prevent points in wrestling are often extremely useful and helpful to becoming a successful MMA fighter.

There are 3 distinct styles or sets of rules for wrestling.

Folkstyle wrestling is the style wrestled in American high schools and colleges. The rules in folkstyle wrestling place a greater emphasis on controlling the opponent and even include a point for riding or controlling the opponent for over 1 minute more than he controls you.

Freestyle wrestling is 1 of the 2 Olympic styles of wrestling. Freestyle wrestling allows leg attacks and emphasizes scoring for high amplitude throws and exposing the opponent's back to the mat. Control is less of a priority and a pin or fall in freestyle can be earned by getting the opponent's back to touch the match for a millisecond or touch fall vs needing 2 seconds for the fall in high school and 1 second in college.

Greco Roman wrestling is the other Olympic style of wrestling. The rules are the same as freestyle with one huge notable exception. Grabbing the opponents from the hips down is prohibited and using your own legs to trip, sweep, hook etc is also prohibited. Greco Roman wrestling emphasizes proper position in the clinch and the ability to lift and throw the opponent in a high amplitude fashion.

In the coming months ahead we will discuss how wrestling is a key component of MMA, how wrestling can help prepare someone to be an MMA fighter and many other topics. But I want to use this column to ask everyone to help save wrestling as an Olympic sport. Wrestling is 1 of 7 sports that are applying for reinstatement to the 2020 Olympic Games. If wrestling does not win reinstatement it is in danger of being permanently eliminated from the Olympics. For many of us wrestling helped make us who we are. Wrestling teaches discipline, accountability, the value of hard work, making sacrifices, dealing with victory and well as loss and so many more life lessons. Whether a wrestler was an Olympic champion or a JV wrestler for his or her high school, he or she is part of a fraternity. Even bad wrestlers are tougher than most people who have never wrestled. Wrestling is a sport like MMA where the combatants are literally almost naked. It is hand to hand combat. One person wins, the other loses. No excuses, no teammates to blame. The lessons learned from wrestling are invaluable for later in life, helping our society produce important and valuable members of society.

Wrestling needs your help to be reinstated. Please take a moment and go to From there you can like the facebook page, make a donation or join the email list. Thank you so much for taking the time to support wrestling.

In wrestling,
David Mirikitani

David was a 2-time All American which included a National runner-up finish. He was also selected to represent the USA in international competition and placed 2nd in the Canada Cup and 6th in the Austrian Grand Prix. Additionally he earned 6 more All American honors in Freestyle and Greco Roman, 3 in each style.

If you have questions for David or are looking to setup lesson contact him on Facebook or call: (314) 550-4186.