What Are the Different Forms and Styles of Wrestling?

The three primary forms of wrestling contests are belt-and-jacket, loose, and catch-hold styles. Wrestling activities in which the wrestlers’ clothing serves as a major tool for gripping the opponent are known as belt-and-jacket styles. This is often a special belt worn by both wrestlers; however, in others, it can become a unique belted jacket with special pants.

Loose forms of wrestling are used in current international competitions. They begin with the wrestlers separated and free to take whatever grip they like, except such clothing grips or dangerous grips like a stranglehold. In the catch-hold style, combatants must assume a certain grip before the fight begins and must be maintained throughout the match.

Other forms include freestyle, Greco-Roman, grappling/submission, beach, pankration, traditional or folk wrestling, and Athlima, which are amateur wrestling styles.

Main Competitive Amateur Wrestling Styles

Amateur wrestling is the most common and widely practiced type of wrestling. It is an Olympic sport with various forms performed worldwide. However, only two forms are officially acknowledged as Olympic styles. They are the Freestyle and the Graeco-Roman. Although other wrestling styles are largely practiced, they lack formal international recognition. 

These wrestling styles appeared in some parts of history, but let us take a deeper look at them.

  • Greco-Roman Wrestling

The Greco-Roman wrestling method began in the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and has appeared in several summer Olympic games since 1904. This wrestling approach varies from freestyle wrestling, the other Olympic wrestling format because it prohibits holds beneath the waist. This constraint encourages grappling throws since a wrestler cannot use trips to take an opponent to the ground or dodge throws by hooking the opponent’s leg.

  • Freestyle Wrestling

Freestyle wrestling is the second most popular amateur wrestling technique in the world. Although fundamentally a freestyle wrestling form, American high school, and college wrestling follows various regulations and is referred to as collegiate wrestling. Greco-Roman wrestling is one of two wrestling styles featured in the Olympic Games.

Traditional wrestling, judo, and sambo forms are used in freestyle wrestling. The main aim in both forms is to throw and pin the opponent to the mat, resulting in an instant victory. Unlike Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling enables the opponent’s legs to be used in offensive and defensive situations.


Now that you know the different forms and styles of wrestling, you can appreciate the sports better. When you watch a style, you can know where it belongs and have an idea of its history and how much improvement has been recorded.