Wrestling: Combat or Sport?

Topics: Wrestling, Amateur wrestling, Freestyle wrestling Pages: 5 (1820 words) Published: May 12, 2013
Nearly 3000 thousand years ago, in the ancient world, wrestling was considered the sport of champions. Greece, Egypt, France, and nearly every other ancient civilization shared this belief (Columbia Encyclopedia). These days however, wrestling is seen by people only as a combat form or martial art. While wrestling is an excellent form of combat, it should also commend respect as a challenging physical sport, and as a life changing recreational activity. To start with, it is very obvious that wrestling is a famous, effective, and perhaps even the first form of combat (Columbia Encyclopedia) . Cave paintings in France, Mongolia, and Greece illustrate naked or lightly clothed men grappling with each other ( McNab). In fact in ancient Greece, the Spartans used wrestling as the primary form of training for their soldiers. Spartan soldiers were taught to not only take their opponents down to ground, but also choke and gouge out their eyes. Coincidentally, as brutal as their wrestling was, the Spartans used many of the modern day holds and throws practiced today ( Blakemore). While of course other cultures also used wrestling as a combat form, the Spartans are perhaps the most famously known for combative wrestling. Amazingly, the Spartans success of using wrestling as combative training inspires even today's modern day military. Wrestling is effective combat training, but just how effective can it really be? The best way to answer this question is to look at a real, modern day military that uses wrestling as combative training, such as the US Army. The exact institutional date of wrestling in the Army is unknown, however it is believed to have been probably somewhere around the 1800's (Columbia Encyclopedia). Real first hand information from actual Army soldiers such as PFC Nelson Tate, PFC Harry Gordineer 2 Williamson, and Sgt. Todd Spears tells how and why the Army implements wrestling as combative training: “ The reason why the Army teaches wrestling in BCT (Basic Combat Training) is simply because it is effective. There is just so much discipline and hard work that goes into it, and it's very similar to what the Army is all about. The basic idea of taking someone down to the ground is the perfect method of winning a combative struggle. It's proven that most fights are won on the ground and they are won by the man that can control his opponent on the ground.” (Interview 10/14/12) The statements of these soldiers not only reinforce wrestling's undeniable effectiveness as a combat, they also explain why it is used as a combat and also why wrestling deserves respect as a sport. Transitioning from combat, wrestling is a very difficult, yet underrated, sport that is also fairly simple to comprehend. Rules for a meet vary depending on style as there are dozens of different forms and variations of wrestling. The most known and easiest rule set is that of the collegiate rule in the USA for both colleges and high schools. Each meet consists of three 2 minute rounds, or a beginning 3 minute round for college, with about an 8 second break between rounds as required for positioning. The primary objective for winning is for one wrestler to pin the other wrestler on their shoulders for two consistent seconds. There is also a scoring system in place in case a pin or fall, the official term, is not achieved. Now that the rules are understood, to call wrestling, “ just another way of winning a struggle” would offend many wrestlers, if not all of them. Wrestlers are not just athletes, they are proven to be the elite among athletes in any sport (Askren). The wrestlers of today, on average, go through more conditioning than any other athlete for any other sport, even football. Though it is true a wrestling meet only lasts for just a few minutes, bout times...
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