Wrestling is a form of combat sport involving grappling type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds. A wrestling bout is a physical competition, between two (occasionally more) competitors or sparring partners, who attempt to gain and maintain a superior position. There are a wide range of styles with varying rules with both traditional historic and modern styles. Wrestling techniques have been incorporated into other martial arts as well as military hand-to-hand combat systems.
Wrestling is one of the oldest forms of combat with references to it as early as the Iliad, in which Homer recounts the Trojan War in the 13th or 12th century BC. The origins of wrestling can be traced back 15,000 years through cave drawings in France. Babylonian and Egyptian relief’s show wrestlers using most of the holds known to the present-day sport. In ancient Greece, wrestling occupied a prominent place in legend and literature; wrestling competition, brutal in many aspects, was the number one sport of the Olympic Games. The ancient Romans borrowed heavily from Greek wrestling, but eliminated much of its brutality.
During the Middle Ages (fifth century to fifteenth century) wrestling remained popular and enjoyed the patronage of many royal families, including those of France, Japan and England.
Early Americans brought a strong wrestling tradition with them when they came from England. The settlers also found wrestling to be popular among Native Americans. Amateur wrestling flourished throughout the early years of the country and served as a popular activity at country fairs, holiday celebrations, and in military exercises. The 1st organized national wrestling tournament was held in New York City in 1888, while the 1st wrestling competition in the modern Olympic Games was held in 1904 in Saint Louis, Missouri. FILA was founded in 1912, in Antwerp, Belgium. The 1st NCAA Wrestling Championships were also held in 1912, in Ames, Iowa. USA Wrestling, located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, became the national governing body of amateur wrestling in 1983. It conducts competitions for all age levels.