Do you know your folkstyle wrestling history? There’s actually a chance that you do. But you might know it by another name since this wrestling style has been called many different things since its creation.
- Folkstyle wrestling is practiced mostly in America. At the collegiate level, it’s more often called collegiate wrestling. And at the high school and middle school levels, it’s often called scholastic wrestling.
- The history of folkstyle wrestling began back in the early colonial era, when settlers first began to arrive in North America. For many French and English settlers, wrestling was a popular pastime. It wasn’t long before each settlement had its own local wrestling champion. And, eventually, these local champions began competing against each other in regional contests.
- While folkstyle wrestling is considered a uniquely American form of wrestling, it was influenced by the wrestling styles brought by settlers from many different countries. While they started out practicing a style that was very similar to Greco-Roman wrestling, they soon started to prefer wrestling styles that were less restrictive. Irish immigrants brought with them “collar-and-elbow” wrestling, where opponents start out holding each other by the collar with one hand, and the elbow with the other. From Great Britain came “catch-as-catch-can” wrestling. While holds below the waste weren’t allowed in Greco-Roman wrestling, catch-as-catch-can wrestlers could catch and hold each other pretty much anywhere.
- By the 18th century, wrestling was seen as a legitimate sport in America. And as the nation grew and became more and more industrialized, the sport’s popularity grew and spread right along with it.