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The rules of wrestling


Wrestling is the epitome of entertainment. If you’re thinking about immersing yourself in this world, we compiled a list with all the rules of wrestling to know before your lessons. This guide is comprehensive enough for you to get a global idea of what wrestling is and how it’s played.


The arena

Safety is essential in a sport like this. To avoid all accidents, the games take place on a thick mat made of rubber. It’s a material that is both resistant and soft.

And when it comes to high profile competitions, the rug has to be new and the size standardized. It’s nine meters and has a 1.5-meter border known as the protection area.

Inside the circle, there’s a red band of one meter which helps indicate passivity. The red area has the central wrestling zone of 7 meters, and this area has a central circle of one meter. The circle is surrounded by a band of 20 centimeters, divided in two by a red line.



One equipment is the singlet. It’s a one-piece garment that should be comfortable and tight. The nylon and lycra combo is seamless, so it doesn’t give the opponent anything to grab.

They also use shoes that have a particular design to allow for increased mobility when making different moves. Most of them are made of rubber soles, so the feet have a firm grip on the ground.

And let’s not forget about the headgear, designed to protect the ears of the wrestler – a bit that is optional in freestyle wrestling.


The match

A match follows two wrestlers that belong in the same weight category. In freestyle, the game is supervised by three referees that control the action. There’s also a chairman mat that keeps the scoring table.

In Greco-Roman and freestyle, a match has two three-minute sessions. The wrestler goes to his corner before each game begins, the referee calls them to the center, and the players shake hands, so the referee starts the match.

The rules of freestyle wrestling state that if no one wins any points in two minutes, the committee has to identify the player that’s been more passive, and they will give him a thirty seconds bonus to score points.


Match scoring

In freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, points are given based on explosive action and risk. When one player performs an ample throw, he is awarded the highest amount of points.

Scoring could be accomplished in two ways. The first is the takedown, and that’s when the wrestler take control over his opponent on the mat from a neutral position. There are different types of takedowns that are worth various points.

There are other moves like reversal that’s worth one point, exposure, penalty, out-of-bounds and passivity each with its own point system and relevance.

Basic Moves

Some of the basic stances in wrestling are the square and of course the staggered stance. In the first one your feet must be parallel with each other, so your weight doesn’t stand on just one foot. In the staggered position, you need one foot ahead of the other.

Another essential move is the penetrating shot. That’s when you go through your opponent’s defense moves.

You can also perform a lift, and you must know how to pin – the half nelson is usually used. And to finish off, you need to learn how to escape, to get from the bottom to a standing position.


How to win

What matters the most in freestyle wrestling is explosive action and not so much dominance and control. One could win a match in more than one way.

A win by the fall is the focal point of a wrestling match. A fall is when a wrestler has his opponent on the mat, and he is holding both his shoulders pushed on it at the same time.

A win by technical support is when a wrestler has a ten-point advantage over his opponent, and if neither makes a fall nor has technical superiority, the one with more points wins. Other ways to win are by default, by injury or by disqualification.


Types of wrestling

Freestyle wrestling, just like the Greco-Roman, is the most popular one and follows the rules of wrestling Olympics. It allows the wrestler use his or his opponent’s legs in offense or do defend. To win, the wrestler has to throw and pin his opponent on the mat.

The rules of folkstyle wrestling are different, but it is not a modern style but rather a regional type of grappling. This style is not recognized internationally.

The rules of Sumo wrestling say that a rikishi should try to force his opponent out of the circular ring or make him touch the ground with other parts of his body than the soles of the feet.



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