The following glossary provides a comprehensive list of terms commonly used in amateur wrestling. All wrestling terms highlighted with blue and underlined indicate that term is defined elsewhere in the glossary and by clicking on that link, the visitor will be taken to the linked glossary term.
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1 Step back then circle - When in the neutral position and in a tie up, an opponent will push into you. To maintain balance, take one step backward, then step and slide in a circular pattern away from their pressure.
2 on 1 - To grip an opponent's hand, wrist, or arm with both hands. Controlling an opponent’s arm with both hands.
2 nearfall points - Two points are given when near fall criteria is met for two to four seconds. Two points can also be granted in cases where a pinning combination is executed legally and a near fall is imminent, but the defensive wrestler is injured, signals an injury, or bleeds excessively before the near fall criterion is met.
3 nearfall points - Three points are given when near fall criteria is met for five seconds or more. After five seconds, the referee awards three points and stops counting. When a near fall criterion is met that is between two and four seconds, and the defensive wrestler is injured, indicates an injury, or bleeds excessively, three points are also awarded.
10-foot circle - Small inner circle on the wrestling mat that wrestlers must attempt to stay within to avoid being penalized for stalling.
Action - The referee's command to begin wrestling.
Angle - The term used to describe how you would position your shoulders/body to be at an angle to your opponent’s when in the neutral position. Creating an angle on your opponent limits him defensively.
Ankle lace - A hold in which the wrestler grasps the opponent by the ankles with his arms and exposes the opponent's back to the mat.
Ankle pick - A takedown, a lightning snatch, by a wrestler as he reaches out and grabs the back of the opponent’s opposite ankle (right hand, left ankle) and lifts it to his waist. From there, he can use the captured leg as leverage to trip the other wrestler to the mat. In both the single- and double-leg takedowns, the wrestler will shoot under the opponent’s hands and clasp one or both legs to his chest, and then lift and turn to force the other wrestler to the mat.
Anklet - A piece of equipment that is worn on the ankle and used to designate scoring in a match. These are typically colored either green or red.
Arm bar - A method of turning an opponent who has been broken down from stomach to back on the mat by wrapping an arm around the opponent's elbow and using the leverage of that hold to flip him over. The opponent using the arm bar gets his opponent's arm back and places that arm between his arm and back.
Armdrag - A technique typically used to set up another attack where one wrestler drags his opponent’s arm across his body.
Arm throw - A wrestling move in which a wrestler throws the opponent over his shoulder by holding the opponent's arm.
Attack - An offensive technique used to score points.
Backpoints - Match points gotten by having exposed an opponent’s back to the mat. In freestyle wrestling, any exposure leads to backpoints, while in folkstyle, or catch as catch can, the back must be exposed for a certain length of time.
Back-step - The action (footwork, level changes, etc.) taken to begin back-step throws (headlock, hiplock, etc.)
Back door - To go between the opponent's legs from in front until a wrestler is behind their opponent.
Back pressure - To drive your back into your opponent's chest.
Base - This applies only to the bottom position. It means a down position wrestler's body is being supported by their arms and legs that they are not being broken down onto their stomach.
Belly down - When a wrestler places his belly or stomach down on the mat.
Biting - Biting is an act of flagrant misconduct. If in the referee’s opinion, a wrestler
has bitten an opponent it will be flagrant misconduct.
Bleeding (Blood) time - If a wrestler is found to be bleeding he may have a bleeding time-out. Total time not to exceed 5 minutes for the match. No limit on how many times it may be taken.
Blood time - Time allotted in a match that allows a bleeding wrestler to recover, and for blood to be cleaned off of the mat and wrestler(s).
Body fat - Loose connective tissue that is composed of specialized cells that store energy in the form of fat.
Body lock - A hold in which a wrestler locks his arms around the opponent's body and takes him to the mat.
Body press - Occurs when one wrestler is trying to use all of their body weight to pin the other wrestler who is on their back.
Body throw - A move in which a wrestler locks his arms around the opponent's body and throws him to the mat.
Bonus points - Additional team points awarded when a wrestler wins by major decision, fall or technical fall.
Bottom position - In par terre, the wrestler who is on hands and knees is in the bottom position. Bottom position is one of two components of referee's position; the man goes down to his knees, his hands on the mat in front of him, sitting back toward his feet.
Boundary line - A 28-foot circle that marks the boundary. Wrestlers are in-bounds when at least one wrestler has his supporting points inside the outer circle. Control is important when this line is crossed, as it determines the starting position when wrestling resumes. If neither player is in control, wrestlers start at the starting line in the neutral position. However, if one wrestler is in control, he can choose to start in any position: top, bottom, or neutral. Wrestlers choose a position that suits their wrestling style.
Bout - A match between two wrestlers, which is made up of two periods of three minutes each. A bout ends before the regulation time in the event of a fall, a technical fall, an injury default, or a disqualification. If the bout is tied or neither wrestler has three points after time expires, there is an overtime period.
Bout sheet - This is a sheet of paper used to record the scores and result of an individual match.
Bracket - The physical organization of competitors in a tournament, used to determine who will wrestle and in what order.
Breakdown/Brokendown - The process of breaking an opponent beneath you to his stomach or side. This often makes turning him over for a pin easier.
Breakdown moves include the spiral ride, near arm crunch, tight waist to cheap tilt, Iowa ride, and crab ride among others.
Bridge - An arched position adopted by a wrestler, with his back above the mat, usually to avoid being pinned but sometimes as an offensive move. This movement includes raising the back and hips off the mat using only the wrestler’s head and feet.
Bridge out - An escape move in which a wrestler rolls from a bridge onto the stomach.
Bye - When there aren't enough wrestlers in a weight class to fill each line of a tournament bracket, one wrestler is given a bye and he automatically advances to the next round without wrestling.
Catch as catch can - Another name for freestyle or folkstyle.
Cauliflower ear (also hematoma auris or perichondrial hematoma) - A condition most common among amateur wrestlers, rugby players, mixed martial artists and grapplers. If the external portion of the ear suffers a blow, a blood clot or other fluid may collect under the perichondrium. This separates the cartilage from the overlying perichondrium that is its source of nutrients, causing the cartilage to die. This leads to a formation of fibrous tissue in the overlying skin. When this happens, the outer ear becomes permanently swollen and deformed, resembling a cauliflower.
Caution - Wrestlers who false start or assume an incorrect starting position will be warned up to 2 times then penalized 1 point for each violation. A wrestler cannot be disqualified on cautions.
Central circle - The inner circle, 1 meter in diameter, on the wrestling mat.
Central wrestling area - A circle, 8 meters in diameter, inside the passivity zone.
Chain wrestling -A series of techniques performed with each separate movement setting up the next technique or hold.
Changing levels - Raising and lowering the body to attack and defend
Chicken wing - A wrestling move where you capture the opponent's arm and pull it back to his side and then put your elbow in his back to pry his arm all the way up so that you can put in your arm. Once the opponent is immobilized, you can walk your hips around your opponent's hips as you pull your opponent onto his back. The Double Chicken wing is twice as deadly as the regular Chicken Wing and twice as painful. The Double Chicken Wing move starts by placing each of your opponent's arms in a chicken wing, and then you move around your opponent's head while posting your head to pull him onto his back. You must dig in both the chicken wings to keep control his arms as he is turned over.
Choice - The procedure in folkstyle wrestling that randomly allows one of the competitors to decide what position in which to start at the beginning of the second and third periods. The wrestler may choose to start neutral, on top or bottom in referee’s position, or elect to defer his decision until the third period. To ensure fairness, the wrestler that does not receive choice in the second period is given choice in the third period.
Chop - To pull the opponent's near elbow towards the mat.
Circle - The line drawn on a mat to designate the starting and out-of-bounds areas.
Classification points - In a tournament, wrestlers are awarded classification points for each bout won. The points are used to determine seedings in the final round. The following table is used:
The loser of a match by decision or technical superiority wins 1 point of he or she accumulated any technical points during the bout. In the case of an overtime period, the winner and the loser both receive the same number of classification points as the number of technical points in the bout.
Claw - This is a technique used when a wrestler is on top of or behind his opponent. It involves the top wrestler reaching an arm underneath his opponent’s armpit and across his chest in order to grip his neck/shoulder on the opposite side of his body.
Coach misconduct - Penalty following a conference with the referee to discuss misapplication of the rules when it is determined that the rules were properly applied.
Consolation bracket - The portion of a tournament bracket that features wrestlers who have lost at least one match, but have not been eliminated. Wrestlers in the consolation bracket cannot finish any higher than third place.
Contact - When the referee commands a wrestler to put both of his hands on the back of his opponent, who is knelling with his hands and knees touching the ground. Wrestlers in the standing position put their hands on the opponent’s shoulder blades.
Control - A wrestler who has a dominant position that restricts the opponent's mobility, usually, the one on top is the one said to be in control. In neutral position, neither wrestler has control until a takedown is achieved.
Cradle - A hold in which one arm is around the neck of the opponent, the other around the neck, with the hands gripped tightly together.
Crossface - A move in which the wrestler's forearm is pressed across the opponent's face to turn his head and maneuver him.
Crossleg - To reach under the opponent's chest or stomach, and grab the knee/calf of their far leg.
Crotch lift - A hold in which the arms are wrapped around the opponent's upper thigh, often used to turn the opponent over for a pin.
Cut - This term has two meanings in wrestling: 1.The process of losing weight. Weight loss in wrestling is often called "cutting weight," and the process of getting down to weight is often called "the cut." 2.To allow an opponent to escape when controlling him on top.
Cut back - In the bottom or down position, a wrestler turns their inside shoulder and head under the opponent's near shoulder.
Cut them loose - A term that means let your opponent go when you are in the top position. This may be done for a number of reasons: You are about to be called for stalling because you can't break your opponent down. This action will save a penalty point, which you may be able to make up by scoring a takedown. If you don't let them go you'll be penalized, then if they escape, they will scored 2 points instead of the one you gave up when you cut them loose. You are about to be reversed; therefore let them go and give up only 1 point. A coach may decide that you are better off to take your opponent down and let them go, and repeat the process, rather than trying to ride them.
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Danger position - A position in which a wrestler's back is at less than a right angle to the mat.
Daylight - This refers to the distance between you and your opponent. Defensively you want to create daylight; offensively you want to eliminate daylight
Decision - A victory in which the winner leads the opponent by 1 to 9 points. Compare technical fall.
Default - A default is awarded when one of the competitors is unable to continue for any reason. A default is worth 6 team points in duel meet competition. A win declared because of the opponent's disqualification or injury.
Defensive starting position - Wrestler who is on hands and knees in a par terre. From this position, the wrestler attempts to avoid being pinned, escape, or perform a reversal. Also called bottom position.
Defensive wrestler - The defensive wrestler is considered to be the wrestler who is in a position in which he is being controlled or restrained by his opponent. The defensive wrestler is often referred to as the "bottom man", the wrestler in the bottom position.
Defer - When a wrestler defers his right to choose top, bottom or neutral until the third period.
Disqualification - Losing by a referee's disqualification decision. Tyically, a wrestler may be disqualified for brutality or unsportsmanlike conduct.
Dictating the action - A wrestler who is moving their opponent, wrestling aggressively by trying to score a takedown, escape, reversal, or near fall depending upon their position.
Double Elimination - A common rule stating that, in tournament competition, any wrestler with two losses prior to the medal round is eliminated from that specific competition.
Double inside - Where both of the wrestler's hands or thumbs are inside of their opponent's elbows.
Double-leg tackle / double-leg takedown - A move in which a wrestler takes the opponent down by grasping both of the opponent's legs and pulling them.
Drag - To pull your opponent's arm towards you.
Draw - Occurs when two wrestlers have the same amount of points when the match is over.
Dual meet - A dual meet is competition between two wrestling teams and consists of wrestling matches in each of the state-certified weight classes. Each competitor will wrestle an opponent from the opposing team who is in the same weight class. Current Illinois high school varsity weight classes are 106 (pounds), 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220 and 285. Each match consists of 3 two-minute periods.
Dual tournament - A tournament in bracket format that is composed of numerous dual meets between full teams of wrestlers.
Duck-under - A takedown move in which the wrestler ducks under the opponent's arm to get behind him and then uses a lift, throw, or trip to take the opponent to the mat and complete the takedown.
Dummy - A piece of equipment that allows wrestlers to practice techniques without fear of injuring a practice partner.
Edge of mat calls - A wrestling move must be complete with either wrestler inbounds or the feet of the scoring wrestler finishing down on the mat inbounds.
Elbows in - To keep your elbows on the same alignment as the sides of the body; it does not necessarily mean that the elbows are against the side of your body.
Elevate - A move that is made when the wrestler is on their back, with their opponent on top of them, in order to raise the opponent's hips and legs further off of the mat. This can be done by using a neck bridge, hand, legs, and/or feet depending upon where the wrestler's body is in relation to your opponent. It can be done from the bottom position, or as part of a throw from the neutral position.
Elimination - During tournaments there are many rounds of competition. Generally, if a wrestler loses twice he is eliminated from the competition.
End-of-match procedure - The wrestlers will remain in the center circle while the referee verifies the score. The wrestlers will shake hands and the referee will raise the winners's hand.
Equipment (in wrestling) - Wrestling equipment is minimal. A wrestling uniform is a one-piece singlet. Wrestling shoes are light and heelless and are laced tightly to provide firm support for the ankles. A protective ear guard must be worn anytime wrestling takes place, usually of two main styles: traditional and halo.
Escape - If a wrestler frees himself from being under control in the bottom position and gains a neutral position, creates space, and faces the opponent, it is an escape, which scores one point.
Standups and the sit-outs are common escapes.
Exhibition - A featured match in a tournament or other meet used to display the skills of two wrestlers. An exhibition match may or may not be counted in a win-loss record or as a part of a specific competition.
Exposure - Having a wrestler’s back angled toward the mat at less than 45 degrees. This is 90 degrees in international wrestling styles. Turning an opponent's shoulders to the mat, thus exposing him to the possibility of a pin.
Face off - The ceremonial meeting in which opponents shake hands prior to dual meets and the finals of tournaments.
Facemask - A protective covering attached to a wrestler’s headgear to prevent injuries to the face.
Fall - A fall (or pin) occurs when both shoulders or scapula of either wrestler are held in contact with mat for two continuous seconds, in high school wrestling. Both shoulders or scapula must be inbounds. If a fall is awarded, the match ends immediately and the wrestler who is awarded the fall wins the match. In college wrestling, the pin must be held for one second.
Fall back - Occurs when a wrestler is able to score a takedown by holding the other wrestler from behind and then falling over backwards.
False start - Any movement or action that occurs before an official’s signal to start.
Finals - The term that describes the championship round of a tournament. See medal round.
Finish - The last step in executing a takedown or any offensive technique.
Fireman's carry - A takedown move in which the wrestler brings the opponent temporarily over his shoulders, similar to the manner that fireman carry people out of buildings, then to the mat.
Fish - This is a term used to describe wrestlers with very little skill or ability. This is because a fish essentially flops around when it's on the ground, very similar to a wrestler who doesn't know what he or she is doing.
Fish Bowl - This is an informal name for a "Hard luck tournament."
Five-match rule - A regulation in American high school wrestling that states a wrestler cannot participate in more than five matches in any one day of competition unless it is to determine a place in a postseason tournament.
Five point move - In folkstyle wrestling, it is a move, a reversal or a takedown, that will score five points if the opponent is taken directly to into a pinning situation and the 3 Point near fall criteria is met.
Flagrant misconduct - This will be called against competitors for such actions as striking, biting, butting, elbowing, or kicking an opponent. A flagrant misconduct can also called against coaches and team personnel for actions that warrant their removal.
Fleeing a hold - Occurs when one wrestler breaks contact with the other wrestler so the second wrestler is unable to get a desired hold.
Fleeing the mat - Occurs when a wrestler moves off the mat to get away from an attack by the other wrestler. This may result in a warning or, eventually, a penalty point.
Flip disc - A type of disc folkstyle referees use to determine choice. This is typically a thin, circular disc that is red on one side and green on the other to represent each wrestler. See choice.
Folkstyle - A style of wrestling generally used in high schools and colleges, which is similar to freestyle wrestling but with more emphasis on control and safety. It is also referred to as scholastic style.
Forfeit - A wrestler receives a forfeit when his opponent, for any reason, fails to appear for the match. A forfeit is worth 6 team points in dual meet and 2 in tournament competition.
Freestyle - A style of wrestling in which the legs may be used to execute attacks and the opponent's legs are a legitimate target for attack. Also known as " catch as catch can." It is contrasted to Greco-Roman wrestling. It is a style of wrestling emphasizing dramatic action and takedowns.
Freestyle start - A starting position in both freestyle and folkstyle, where the top wrestler places his hands on the back of an opponent to start the action.
Full nelson - A hold in which both of the wrestler's arms are passed under the opponent's armpits and both hands are on the back of the opponent's head. This hold is illegal in amateur wrestling. See also half nelson.
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Gassed - This is a common term in wrestling to describe a wrestler's energy level, typically used to describe the lack of energy or movement by a wrestler. Wrestlers often say, "That guy is gassed out. He's barely moving."
Get 90-Degrees - A term that means to create a right angle to the opponent with the body. This is especially important when applying a pinning combination, which requires the wrestler to be chest-to-chest to their opponent.
Get Inside their Hands - To position the hands inside the opponent's hands and remain in a good defensive stance.
Grand amplitude - Descriptive of a throw in which a wrestler lifts the opponent completely off the mat, sweeps him through the air in a curve, and brings him down in the danger position.
Granby (Granby roll) - A wrestling reversal named for Granby High School in Norfolk, Virginia, where it was popularized by teacher and hall of fame wrestling coach Billy Martin. A Granby roll is performed from an inferior position, usually when the top wrestler has a hold upon the lower wrestler's waist from the side or when moving to "take the back." The bottom wrestler rises slightly and cross steps under his own body, using it to post as they kick high with the other leg and perform a shoulder roll to the inside shoulder, either achieving an escape or an arm lock on the other wrestler.
Grapevine - A hold in which a wrestler wraps a leg around one of the opponent's legs, often preparatory to a throw.
Greco-Roman - A style of wrestling in which the wrestler may not attack the opponent's legs nor use his own legs to execute attacks. This places a great emphasis on throws.
Groom check - A procedure where officials check a wrestler’s body before competition. Typically officials check for skin diseases, length of nails, and body hair stubble, among other health risks
Guillotine - A wrestling hold named after the decapitation device, is a move in amateur wrestling that is mostly taught in high schools. It is a pinning move that is deployed from upper referee position. It is a combination of leg riding and an open side hook.
Gut wrench - A moved used when the opponent is face down on the mat. The wrestler puts both arms around the opponent's mid-section, gripping as tightly as possible, then goes into the bridge position and rolls the opponent over his own torso onto the back.
Half nelson - A hold in which the wrestler's arm is passed under the opponent's armpit and the hand is on the back of the opponent's head. This is an elementary maneuver used to turn over an opponent who has been broken down for a pin. See also full nelson.
Hammerlock - Pulling the opponent’s arm too high on the back or pulling the arm away from the back.
Hand control - To hold one or both of the opponent's hands with your hands. It is generally preferable to grab your opponent's hand instead of their wrist.
Hand fighting - The action of using your hands in order to control an opponent and set up an offensive maneuver. This involves attacking an opponent's hands, arms, and head.
Head position - The relation of a wrestler's head to that of their opponent's.
Head up - With very rare exceptions, a wrestler will always want their head up so that they can look directly ahead.
Headgear - Gear worn to protect the ears during wrestling.
Headlock - A hold in which an arm is around the opponent's neck and the hands are locked together. The opponent's arm must be gathered into the hold to prevent accidental choking.
High crotch - A single leg attack where the offensive wrestler controls his opponent’s leg above the knee. This attack is executed with the offensive wrestler’s head to the outside of his opponent’s body.
High-level attack - An attack that engages an opponent’s upper body.
Hip heist - A move where the bottom wrestler "flips" his hips from pointing down to the mat to pointing up to the ceiling and vice versa.
Hip lock - This position is used to execute many upper body throws such as: head locks and whizzers. The wrestler places their buttocks in front of the opponent's hip, and pulls the opponent's upper body forward to execute the throw. By blocking their hips, the opponent cannot maintain a good defensive position.
Hip pop - An explosion of the hips upward and forward into the opponent, creating a quick lifting action. A hip pop is necessary after the initial penetration of an opponent to finish the takedown attempt.
Hip position - One of the major sources for success or failure in wrestling is the ability to use the hips correctly and to take the opponent's ability to use their hips. The hips and thighs are the most powerful parts of the body. If a wrestler can drive forward or backward with their hips, they can move their opponent out of a good defensive position. All lifting in wrestling should be done with the hips and thighs, not the back.
Hip toss - One attacking is positioned in front of the other wrestler and the attacker will grab his opponent's right arm across the front of his body. The attacker then drops onto his right knee and moves his left hip into his opponent and then throws the other wrestler forward across his back into a pinning combination.
Hook - A move to hook an opposing wrestler under his arm or leg to execute a takedown.
Hydration - The level of water in one’s body. High school competitors must pass hydration testing to be eligible to compete
Illegal holds - Wrestling holds that are dangerous and can cause injury. Whenever a referee witnesses one of these holds being used, he awards one point to the offender’s opponent. Illegal holds include, but are not limited to full nelsons and body slams.
Inbounds - Wrestlers are inbounds if the supporting parts of either are inside the lines. Supporting parts are those parts of the body bearing the weight of a wrestler which generally include the knees, the sides of the thighs, the buttocks, and the hands. Wrestling continues as long as one wrestler is inbounds, if there is no action, the referee may stop the match & restart in the center. If the defensive wrestler is on his back while supporting points of either wrestler are inbounds, wrestling continues as long as there is the chance for the offensive wrestler to bring him back. Shoulders or scapula are supporting parts in this case.
Injury default - A win rewarded to a wrestler when the opponent cannot continue to compete because of an injury. Worth four classification points.
Injury time - A period during which a match is halted because one of the wrestlers is injured or bleeding. If the wrestler cannot continue within two minutes, the match ends with an injury default.
Injury timeout - Injury timeouts are 1-½ minutes and may be taken twice, provided the total time does not exceed 1-½ minutes. Treatment of previous conditions is injury time. If a second timeout is taken, the opponent will have choice of position on the restart.
Inside - Also known as Near. A term that is used to describe something that is closest to you. For example, if you are in the top position, and your body is located adjacent to the left of your opponent's body, then their left arm and leg and your right arm and leg are considered 'inside'.
Inside control - This is the term used to describe the placement of your arms when they are to the inside of your opponent’s arms when tying up. Essentially, achieving inside control allows you to assume the dominant position.
Inside position - A term that generally applies only when the wrestler is in the neutral position. It means that their hands and/or elbows are inside their opponent's hand and/or elbows. This is usually the dominant position when in the neutral position.
Invitational - A specific tournament or event that limits the numbers of teams or wrestlers that may enter
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Joint locks - Various moves including armlocks, leglocks, spinal locks, wristlocks, and small joint manipulation. Some can be illegal depending on the movement of the joint.
Junior varsity - The group of competitors that are not considered varsity starters. May also be known as a “B” team.
Lace cover - A piece of equipment used to keep a wrestler’s laces from becoming untied. Many wrestling styles require laces to be covered.
Lead leg - The leg that is forward in a staggered stance.
Leg bands - In tournaments, the contestants wear leg bands to identify which one is being scored as the home wrestler and which is the away wrestler. The green leg band is for home, the red for away. Scoring cards, when used, are also green and red. The referee's coin is green on one side and red on the other. It is used to determine which wrestler chooses the starting position at the beginning of the second period.
Leg attack - A takedown executed on an opponent’s legs.
Leg lace - A hold in which a wrestler traps his opponent by the ankles to expose his back to the mat. Sometimes known as an "ankle lace."
Leg shot - A quick move, involving an attempt to get a takedown where a wrestler changes levels and quickly thrusts toward an opponent's legs to gain a lock on one or both.
Level change - Bending at the knees to raise or lower the hips in order to get into a new position for a hold or takedown move.
Lift - A move used to take an opponent off the mat entirely (both feet). An efficient lift involves positioning the hips lower than the opponent's and using them to lift by arching into the opponent.
Live - The term used to describe competitive wrestling in a practice environment. It’s the equivalent to sparring in other sports, separate from drilling.
Limp arm - A method used by a wrestler in the neutral or top position to release an opponent's overhook or whizzer.
Locked hands -
Interlocking or overlapping hands, arms or fingers around the opponent's body is illegal, except when both wrestlers are on their feet or in a pinning (near fall) situation.
Loss of control - The term officials use when one wrestler loses control of his opponent. In folkstyle, either escape or reversal points are awarded when there is a loss of control.
Low-level attack - A technique that is executed on an opponent’s lower body.
Major decision - The outcome of a match in folkstyle wrestling when one wrestler wins by at least eight points and no more than 14 points.
Mat - The mat for international wrestling competition has a central wrestling area, 9 meters in diameter, with a center circle 1 meter in diameter. Inside the contest area is a red band, 1 meter wide, known as the passivity zone.
Mat time - This is a slang term for “experience,” literally referring to the time a wrestler spends on the mat.
Match - A series of matches between two teams, involving wrestlers from different weight classes or an individual competition between two wrestlers.
Medal round - The round in a tournament that determines who will earn each medal.
Meet - An organized competition involving wrestlers from two or more teams.
Mid-level attack - An attack that is targeted at the mid-section of an opponent’s body.
Motion - One of the seven basic wrestling skills, which consists of keeping proper position and balance when defending and attacking. Most of the time, it involves moving the feet in a circling or lateral direction.
Near arm - In the neutral position, this means the arm that is closest to you. This occurs only when you or your opponent is in a staggered stance.
Near fall - If a wrestler exposes the opponent's shoulders four inches or less above the mat or has one of the opponent's shoulders on the mat and the other at an angle of less than 45 degrees to the mat, it is a near fall, worth two technical points.
Near fall criteria/Near fall points - The criteria for earning a near fall is when the offensive wrestler has control of his opponent in a pinning situation and both shoulders or scapula of the defensive wrestler are held within four inches (or less) of the mat; or when a shoulder or scapula is touching the mat and the other shoulder or scapula is at an angle of 45 degrees (or less) with the mat. The defensive wrestler's shoulders or scapula must be inbounds to earn near fall points. If these criteria are met for two continuous seconds, two points are earned. If these criteria are met for five continuous seconds, then three points are earned. Near Fall Points are also called "back points". The half nelson, arm bar, cradle, and tilt leg ride often result in a near fall.
Neck bridge - A technique, used to defend against a pin, where a wrestler arches his back and uses his head to support his weight.
Neutral position - The neutral position is one in which neither wrestler has control; the wrestlers are both on their feet, opposite each other. The home wrestler has one foot on one starting line and the visiting wrestler has one foot on the other starting line, neither wrestler in contact with the other. This is also known as standing position.
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Offensive starting position - The offensive wrestler takes a position on either side of the defensive wrestler. He must place the palm of one hand on or above the elbow. One knee must be on the mat on the same side of the elbow being touched. The other arm is placed around the defensive wrestler’s body with the hand loosely on the navel. The order of placement is, feet/knees; belly; elbow. The head must be over the spine and the legs or feet of the offensive wrestler may not be touching the defensive wrestler.
Offensive wrestler - The offensive wrestler is the wrestler which maintains a position in which he controls and maintains restraining power over his opponent. The offensive wrestler is typically referred to as the "top man" or in the top position.
On deck - The term to describe the wrestlers who are set to compete after the match occurring at that time.
Open - A command from the referee telling a wrestler to change his position and adopt more open tactics. If the wrestler doesn't respond, the referee will issue a caution for passive obstruction.
Optional start - Instead of taking top position, a wrestler can choose this variation; the wrestler places both hands on the bottom man's back and leaves his knees off the mat. When this option is chosen, the referee must inform the bottom man so he may adjust his position. Optional start usually is used when you intend to let the bottom man go immediately, but not always.
Optional starting position - The defensive wrestler assumes his starting position. The offensive wrestler notifies the referee that he wants an optional start. The referee notifies the defensive wrestler of this choice and allows him to adjust, if needed. Then, when called by the referee, the offensive wrestler places his hands (thumbs touching) on the back (neck to waist) of the defensive wrestler. He may then stand or kneel any place in the area around the defensive wrestler from the front starting line on one side to the other. He may not straddle or place his feet or knees inside the feet of the defensive wrestler. The offensive wrestler may notify the official that he wants to release the opponent prior to the restart. An escape will be awarded, with 1 point, and the match will start in neutral.
Other illegal holds - These holds or movements include bending, twisting, or forcing the head, knee, or any limb beyond its normal limits of movement, pulling back the thumb or fingers, and any hold that is used as punishment.
Out of bounds - Out of bounds happens when each wrestler has a supporting point on or
outside the line.
Overhook - An overhook is a clinch hold that is used to control the opponent. An overhook is performed from any direction by putting an arm over the opponent's arm, and encircling the opponents arm or upper body. Having an overhook with one arm is called a single overhook, while having overhooks with both arms is known as double overhooks. Overhooks are typically employed in response to underhooks by an opponent.
Overtime period - If the score is tied or neither wrestler has three points when time runs out on a bout, a three-minute overtime period begins immediately. The first wrestler to score a point wins.
Par terre - A re-starting position in which a wrestler is on the mat, on hands and knees, and the other wrestler kneels beside him, with both hands on his back. (This term is French for "on the ground.")
Parallel - When a wrestler's body is on the same alignment as their opponent's body.
Passive obstruction - If a wrestler continually obstructs the opponent's holds, holds both the opponent's hands, continually lies flat on the mat, or deliberately runs off the mat, it is passive obstruction. The opponent is given three choices: 1) To place the offender in the bottom position in par terre; 2) To continue the bout from the neutral position; 3) To assume the down position in par terre.
Passivity - Another name for passive obstruction.
Passivity zone - The outer band, 1 meter wide, outside the central wrestling area.
Penalty points - Points used in a negative scoring system, under which the wrestler with the fewest points wins. They're essentially the same as technical points, but they go to the other wrestler. For example, the wrestler who suffers a near fall is given two penalty points.
Penetration - The distance covered when driving into an opponent for a takedown. Good penetration, getting in tight to the opponent, increases a wrestler’s chance of a successful takedown. Many wrestlers mistakenly think they are penetrating by getting their head closer to their opponent without moving their feet. However, penetration is accomplished only by stepping forward with a foot and moving the hips forward.
Period - A specific portion of a wrestling match regulated by time. Number and duration of periods depends on the level and style of competition.
Pick up an ankle - A term that applies when a wrestler is on top and behind their opponent. They reach under and grab the part of the opponent's foot where the shoelaces are, and lift it upward.
Pigtail - This is a less formal term for the "out bracket" in tournament competition. Pigtails are an extra bracket used when the regular bracket is full. Wrestling must win their pigtail match before advancing into the actual tournament.
Pin - Forcing both of the opponent's shoulders to the mat for a specified period of time. The result is a fall, which wins the match. In both international wrestling styles, this is for any instant. In college wrestling, the specified time period is for one second and in high school wrestling it is two seconds.
Pinch head lock - To carry out this move, secure and underhook with one arm, and grab the opponent's head in a 'collar tie'. Lock your hands together, place your forehead in the opponent's temple, and then simply drive the opponent down to the mat and onto their back.
Pinning combination - A term used to describe any hold that turns a wrestling opponent during an attempt to complete a pin. In folkstyle competition, these are the only instances when a wrestler is permitted to lock his hands together.
Plane - The theoretical flat surface used to determine scoring. It’s composed of the wrestler’s back in accordance to the mat. When the wrestler’s back breaks a 90-degree angle in this plane, scoring of back points occurs.
Points - The system used to determine the outcome of a match based on scoring techniques.
Post/Posting - To place a body part onto a mat; in most cases this will be a head or foot.
Posture - A basic wrestling skills, which consists of having good body position in stances and during moves and counter-attacks.
Potentially dangerous holds - Any hold that puts a body part at the limit of normal movement or that can cause injury is a potentially dangerous hold. The wrestler using the hold shall be verbally cautioned against turning it into an illegal hold. If the offensive wrestler turns the hold into an illegal hold, he will be penalized.
Power half (Power half nelson) - Another Nelson move which is a half nelson and with the other hand applying force to the head used for turning either for a pin or a turn for near fall points
Protection area - The border of the mat, extending at least 1.5 meters beyond the passivity zone, to help prevent injury if a wrestler is thrown outside the ring.
Push-Pull -A means of getting an opponent to push into you, thereby creating a head and shoulder lead.
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Random draw - The random draw determines the order of weight classes for the dual. It will happen immediately after the conclusion of weigh-ins and be supervised by the referee or authorized person. The weight class drawn will be the starting weight and the others will follow in traditional order. A random draw may be used to set the order for finals matches in an individual tournament.
Rashguard - A tight-fitting piece of clothing used to prevent rashes, skin disease, and other injuries.
Recovery time - If a wrestler is hurt with an illegal hold or act of unnecessary roughness or unsportsmanlike conduct he may have a recovery time-out. Recovery time is 2 minutes per incident and is not injury time.
Referee - The official in charge of the wrestling match. This person moves about the mat watching the wrestlers, enforcing the rules of wrestling, and awarding points to specific wrestlers by signaling with their fingers.
Referee's position - The Referee's position is a starting position in which one wrestler begins in the defensive position and his opponent begins from the offensive position. The defensive wrestler is located in the center of the circle on his hands and knees. His hand and Knees must be parallel to the starting lines on the mat. The offensive wrestler position himself on the left or right side of his opponent with at least one knee on the mat on the side is positioned. The offensive wrestler must also place the palm of his hand on his opponent’s stomach and the far hand on the opponent's elbow.
Referee’s time-out - If the referee needs time to deal with something that is not covered under the above he may use a referee’s time-out, as many as needed.
Rest rule - The regulation in American high school and college wrestling competitions that states wrestlers must be given at least 45 minutes of rest in between matches to ensure safety.
Reversal - If the wrestler in the bottom position completely reverses the situation and comes to the top position in control, it is a reversal, worth two points in high school wrestling. Switches, rolls, and hip heists are popular reversal moves.
Reverse crossface - A move in which the wrestler uses the tricep (backside of the upper arm) to push the opponent's head towards or away from them. See crossface.
Riding - This is the term used to describe the act of staying on top of and controlling one’s opponent.
Riding time - In high school and college wrestling, the amount of time a wrestler is in control of the opponent. One minute of riding time is worth a point.
Roll - A technique that involves controlling an opponent’s body while completing a rolling or twisting motion. Rolls are used as a reversal in the bottom position and/or to expose an opponent’s back to the mat in the top position.
Rotate the wrist - When a wrestler grabs their opponent's wrist, the opponent can simply cause them to release it by rotating their wrist in the direction of the tip of the wrestler's thumb.
Russian - A move from the standing position grabbing an opponent's arm, dragging it by, and the dragging him to the mat face down.
Scorekeeper - An individual that manages the score of a match.
Scoring - Wrestling is all about control. The main objective is to establish total
domination by pinning an opponent’s shoulders to the mat to earn a fall and victory. If no wrestler can pin his opponent, points are awarded to wrestlers as control changes. The wrestler with the most points at the end of a match is the winner. Establishing control from a neutral position is called a takedown and is worth two points. Almost pinning an opponent scores two, three, or four points and is called a near fall. A wrestler who is able to return to a neutral position after being controlled by an opponent earns one point for an escape. A wrestler who is controlled by an opponent and reverses control earns two points for a reversal. Points are also deducted for infractions of the rules. Points are posted immediately and in plain sight so spectators and wrestlers know the score. In order for the match to end, one athlete must score at least three points. A technical fall occurs and the match is ended when a wrestler establishes a 15-point advantage over the opponent.
Scoring table - The table, usually at the edge of the mat, where individuals keep track of both the time and score of a match.
Seed - Term used in placing wrestlers into brackets for a tournament. Because of their success in previous competition(s), seeded wrestlers are acknowledged as superior wrestlers. Seeds are usually selected according to criteria established by the tournament director and/or by the voting of participating team coaches.
Seeding meeting - A time when coaches and/or other team representatives meet before a tournament to determine the placement of wrestlers within a bracket. Seeding ensures that higher-level competitors are separated until later rounds of competitions.
Setup - An action of some sort designed to distract the opponent or cause a reaction, allowing an easier takedown.
Shoot - To go for a takedown.
Shot - The term describing an attempt at a takedown.
Single-leg tackle / Single-leg takedown - A move in which a wrestler takes the opponent down by lifting one of the opponent's legs.
Singlet - A tight, sleeveless, one-piece outfit worn by wrestlers during their matches.
Slam - The lifting of an opponent from the mat and bringing him back down with unnecessary force. A slam is illegal in amateur wrestling.
Slamming - The action of lifting an opponent off the mat and bringing them back down with unnecessary force. This is illegal in all addressed wrestling styles.
Slipped throw - Occurs when two wrestlers are are on their feet in a neutral position and one tries an unsuccessful throw against the other.
Snap-down - This is a technique that involves pressuring downward on an opponent’s head, while also moving it, in order to break his position.
Spiral - This is a technique that is used when a wrestler is in the top position. It involves him “snaking” (positioning) one or both of his arms to the inside of the bottom wrestler’s thighs.
Sprawl - A move used to counter a leg shot. The wrestler throws the legs back and arches the hips into the opponent to break the hold.
Square - This is the term used to describe how you would position your shoulders/body to be parallel to your opponent’s while you are in the neutral position. This is done to prevent him from being able to create angles on you.
Square stance - A type of wrestling stance where both of an individual’s legs are next to each other, designating no lead leg. This is typically a defensive stance.
Staggered stance - A type of wrestling stance where one leg is forward. Typically the wrestler’s dominant leg is in back. This is usually used as an offensive stance.
Stalemate - Two contestants are interlocked in a position other than a pinning situation, and neither wrestler is able to improve his position. The referee starts the wrestlers again in the center of the circle.
Stalling - Stalling is a situation when a wrestler does not wrestle aggressively; continuously avoids contact with his opponent; plays the edge of the mat; delays the match; prevents his opponent from returning to inbounds area; is not attempting to secure a takedown. A wrestler will be warned one time and is penalized on each successive stalling infraction.
Stance - footwork used when in neutral position or when both wrestlers are facing each other, neither in control. A good stance involves feet shoulder-width apart, knees bent, back straight, elbows in, hands out in front, and head up.
Stand up - A technique used in folkstyle where the bottom wrestler tries to escape control from the top wrestler.
Standing arm-roll - This is a standing throw where one wrestler brings the other wrestlers arm across their body and through leverage is able to roll the other wrestler unto the mat.
Standing position - See neutral position.
Starting lines - Wrestling begins or resumes here with each opponent behind his starting line and at least one foot on the line.
Step and Slide - A term that is used to describe how a wrestler moves their feet in a circle or laterally. The wrestler steps sideways with one foot (this is a small step, usually 6-12 inches), then slides their other foot to keep an even distance between their feet.
Stick/Stuck - This is another name for a pin. It may be used in the present tense, as in "Stick him!" It may also be used in the past tense, as in "Our last wrestler got stuck in his match."
Stud - This term is used to describe a very skilled wrestler. Often times, a stud stands out among both his teammates and competitors
Sucked out - The unsightly physical appearance caused by excessive weight-loss and dehydration.
Supporting points - The weight-bearing points of the body, including feet, knees, hands, and buttocks. The wrestlers are in bounds as long as the supporting points of either wrestler are within the boundary line.
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Takedown - A takedown occurs when, from a neutral position, a wrestler gains control over his opponent down on the mat and is inbounds. A takedown is worth two points.
Takedown artists - Wrestlers uncommonly good at forcing the opponent to the mat under their control.
Technical fall - If a wrestler accumulates a lead of 10 points or more, it is called a technical fall and that wrestler wins the match. Also known as technical superiority.
Technical points - Points awarded during a match that help determine the outcome. The following system is used: Five points for a grand amplitude throw to an immediate position of danger; three points for taking the opponent from a standing position to an immediate position of danger; two points for a near fall; one point for a takedown, an escape, a reversal, or for applying a correct hold without causing the opponent to touch the mat with head or shoulder. Technical points must not be confused with classification points. See also penalty points.
Technical superiority - A win by technical superiority is the same as a technical fall.
Technical violations - There are seven major technical violations, including incorrect starting position/false start (warning given), intentionally going out of bounds, grasping an opponent’s clothing or equipment, interlocking/overlapping hands, leaving wrestling area without referee’s permission, improper/illegal equipment, or applying a figure 4 (type of hold) from the neutral position.
Technique - A specific movement or hold that can be practiced to increase effectiveness.
Throw - Any move in which a wrestler lifts the opponent from the mat, then brings him back down.
Tiebreaker - In folkstyle wrestling, a tiebreaker refers to the 30-second sudden death period that is wrestler if two wrestlers are still tied after a two-minute overtime period. The wrestler winning the coin flip will be able to choose up, down or force his opponent to choose up or down. The first wrestler to score wins, and if neither wrestler score the offensive (top) wrestler ends.
Tie/Tie-up - A wrestler grabbing his opponent's upper body, usually in preparation for a move or to gain a measure of control over his motion. Commonly the upper arm and back of the neck are grasped.
Tight waist - This is a technique used from the top position that involves a wrestler reaching his arm underneath his opponent’s midsection, and then gripping his opponent’s waist on the opposite side of his body.
Tilt - To turn an opponent so that his back goes from an angle of 45 degrees or more to less than 45. Also, when exposure is achieved.
Timer - The individual that regulates the time in a match.
Top position - One of the two components of referee's position. After the bottom man has positioned himself, the other wrestler places his knee down to one side of his opponent, his knee up behind him with his foot also behind. The hand on the same side as the down knee grasps the opponent's near elbow, and the other hand reaches around the waist to rest on the navel. At this point, the referee will signal to begin wrestling. The man in top position is called the top man.
Tournament - A series of bouts to determine championships in various weight classes. A wrestler is eliminated after two losses. Elimination rounds continue until only three wrestlers remain in each pool. Finalists are seeded by classification points. If any of the finalists have not wrestled each other, they meet in a bout. Technical points or penalty points from previous matches are then carried over and added to the points accumulated in the final round.
Trail leg - This is a wrestler's back leg when performing a penetration step. A wrestler pushes off of the trail leg to generate power for the takedown.
Trap - To hold a part of the opponent's body with part of your body. You may 'trap' or squeeze their head with your knees, trap an arm by squeezing your elbow to your side, and so on.
Turn - Any technique in freestyle and Greco-Roman competition that exposes an opponent's back to the mat.
Under the near arm - A term applies when the wrestler is behind or beside their opponent, in which they reach under the opponent's near arm. with their outside (far) arm.
Underhook - An underhook is a grappling term for a clinch hold that is used to control the opponent. It is performed from any direction by putting an arm under the opponents arm, and holding the opponents midsection or upper body. Having an underhook with one arm is called a single underhook, while having underhooks with both arms is known as double underhooks. The typical response to an underhook is to try to break it, or to establish an overhook.
Unnecessary roughness - Called for actions that are unreasonably aggressive.
Unsportsmanlike conduct (UC) - Called for disobeying or arguing with a referee, or other acts of poor sportsmanship such as swearing, spitting, taunting, or throwing equipment.
UC is any act, physical or non-physical including but not limited to:
- Failure to comply with directions of the referee,
- Throwing equipment,
- Failure to keep singlet straps up on the mat,
- Dropping to one knee to break locked hands, repeatedly,
- Clearing the nasal passage other than in a proper receptacle, and
- Failure to comply with end of match procedure.
Verbal warning - When a referee warns a wrestler for misconduct or stalling.
Violation of position - A term that can apply to the neutral, top, and bottom positions. There are certain positions that are correct, and certain positions that are incorrect; an incorrect position prevents a wrestler from defending actions by their opponent. This means, in order to improve their chances of success, a wrestler wants their opponent to violate position.
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Walk the fingers forward - If when in the top or bottom position, a wrestler wants to improve their position, but cannot freely move their hand forward because of their opponent's, they may 'walk the fingers forward'. To do this, they place their palm down on the mat, keeping their elbow next to their side, and begin pulling their arm forward by walking your fingers forward and grasping the mat with their fingertips.
Warm-up - The action of warming the body up to prepare for physical work. This helps to prevent injury.
Weigh ins - Wrestlers will weigh in at the home site. At dual meets, the wrestler will have 30 minutes to make the weight class. Weigh in will start at the lowest weight class and proceed to the highest weight. Any wrestler over weight will get 2 more chances to make weight. These chances are immediately following the completion of all weights. The wrestler cannot leave the weigh in area and cannot do any exercise to lose weight. Tournaments will provide the wrestler 1-2 hours before competition to make weight. During consecutive days of competition, there is often a 1-pound additional allowance to each weight class. All contestants failing to make weight will be ineligible to wrestle.
Weight class / Weight classes - Groupings determined by weight; the wrestler must be exactly on or below the specified weight to qualify for the weight class. In Illinois, up to the 2012 season, the weight classifications were: 103 lbs., 112 lbs., 119 lbs., 125 lbs., 130 lbs., 135 lbs., 140 lbs., 145 lbs., 152 lbs., 160 lbs., 171 lbs., 189 lbs., 215 lbs., and 285 lbs. In 2011, the weight classes in Illinois were changed to 106 (pounds), 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220 and 285. This is one sport where everyone can legitimately compete, regardless of size!
Weight management - The process of maintaining one’s body weight.
Whizzer - An elementary counter move used when an opponent is attempting to gain a hold on his legs (or has gained a hold). An arm is firmly placed under the arm grasping the leg, and the hips are driven suddenly and roughly toward the opponent, in an attempt to break the grip.
Wing - When a wrestler is able to hold the other wrestler to the mat with an arm lock and then is able to roll them over.
Wrestling mats - Are made out of shock-absorbing materials to provide a safe surface for wrestling. Wrestling mats are padded mats that must have excellent shock absorption, tear resistance, and compression qualities. Most mats are made of PVC rubber nitrile foam. Recent advances in technology have brought about new mats made using closed cell, cross-linked polyethylene foam covered in vinyl backed with non-woven polyester.
Wrist control - To control your opponent's wrist.
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