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Wrestling Rules

Health & Safety
Wrestling is a contact sport. Wrestling rules are designed to ensure the health & safety of all wrestlers. The rules stipulate that it is illegal to manipulate your opponents joints in a direction they were not intended by nature to move. It is also illegal to purposefully injure your opponent. This makes wrestling a relatively safe sport. Whilst the chance of serious injury is relatively low, injuries can, and do occur. Most often these will be minor injuries, such as bruises and scrapes. A good warm-up at the start of each training session warms up the muscles and reduces the chances of injury. It is therefore important you arrive ready for the 6:30pm warm-up. If you turn up late for training, it is expected that you do some warm-up exercises before you join training.

Part of the warm-up involves neck strengthening exercises (primarily bridging exercises). Neck exercises such as bridging and neck presses can also be done outside of training days to strengthen the neck. Forward, backward and shoulder rolls are also part of the warm-up. In wrestling it is important to know how to fall correctly. Doing exercises such as rolls will give you the skills to be able to fall properly.

It should be noted that beginners starting wrestling for the first time will experience muscle soreness for a few days after initial training. Just like any other exercise, muscle soreness will reduce with regular wrestling.

It is advisable to invest in a pair of wrestling shoes to protect injury to toes and prevent blisters from mat friction. Some members also find knee pads protect the knees from bruising.

Mouth guards can be worn for training and competitions. It is best to get a properly fitted guard from your dentist. If you have private heath insurance, they will refund a significant part of the cost. Otherwise, mouth guards available from pharmacies are suitable for basic protection.

To prevent injury to your wrestling buddy, fingernails need to be cut short and all jewellery taken off before getting on the mats.

Important Points

  • Make sure you are sufficiently warmed-up to prevent injuries

  • Wrestle at around 80% effort when training

  • Do not put up too much resistance when training so people can learn technique

  • The aim of freestyle wrestling is to pin your opponent’s shoulders to the mat, therefore you want to avoid being on your back 

  • Do not go out to deliberately hurt your opponent whether in training or in competition

  • No choke holds, eye gouging, or twisting joints against their natural alignment

  • Make sure your fingernails are clipped short and all jewellery taken off

  • Bring a sweat towel and wipe down regularly so you are not slippery

  • As a sign of respect, shake your opponents hand before bouts

  • Train with different people at each training night to get used to diverse wrestling styles

  • Watch videos on youtube to expand on your technique and get good pointers


Competition Wrestling Overview
There are two styles of Wrestling: FREESTYLE and GRECO-ROMAN. Harbour city Wrestling Club concentrates on Olympic Freestyle wrestling. The difference between Freestyle and Greco-Roman is basically that in Greco-Roman no holds are permitted below the waist, while in Freestyle holds below the waist are common. The wold-wide governing body for both types of Olympic Wrestling is the Federation Internationale de Lutte Amateur.

The aim of both Greco-Roman and Freestyle wrestling is to pin the opponent’s shoulders to the mat for long enough to be in control. In Freestyle a wide range of tactics and holds are permitted above and below the waist. However, using the legs in a scissor fashion are not allowed. It is not permitted to speak to your opponent.

Matches begin with opponents standing facing each other. A bout lasts up to six minutes with compulsory 30 second time out for both wrestlers after each period of 2 minutes wrestling. A bout can be won by pinning an opponent’s back or shoulders to the mat until the referee awards a pin. This can be for as little as half a second. The referee and judges decide if a pin has occurred. If a pin does not occur, a bout can be won on points accumulated. Points are awarded by gaining advantages over an opponent (gaining points by advantage will be outlined below). A match is terminated by the referee when one wrestler scores 10 points in excess of his opponent. Otherwise, the wrestler with the highest accumulated points total wins.

It is illegal to manipulate your opponent’s joints in a direction they were not intended by nature to move (i.e. no submission holds). It is also illegal to purposefully injure your opponent. This makes wrestling a relatively safe sport.


In competition, wrestlers are required to wear a one piece, close fitting garment (Wrestling singlet) in RED or BLUE. The colour is assigned as part of the draw at each bout. A handkerchief must be carried by wrestlers during all bouts at tournaments. This is to wipe sweat and any blood from minor injuries and from the mat. Light knee guards are permitted. Shoes specific to wrestling and are soft with no nailed soles or buckles. They are heavily laced.
Wrestlers must present themselves before a match at the Mat. They must be DRY, with short fingernails, their shoe laces must be short (or taped). Beards are permitted providing there are not spikey. A handkerchief must be carried within the singlet.

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