There are two basic styles of international wrestling, Freestyle and Greco-Roman. With one major exception, the rules for the two styles are identical. The difference is:
- In Greco-Roman, a wrestler may not attack his opponent’s legs, nor use his own legs to trip, lift or execute other holds.
- In Freestyle, however, both the arms and legs may be used to execute holds and to defend against attack.
These definitions bring about variations in stance and technique, and in some interpretations of the rules, but the requirements for scoring points, for winning and losing, and for advancement through an event are in general the same for both styles. A wrestler’s goal is to pin his opponent’s shoulders to the mat, or else to win on points.
Although freestyle wrestling bears a resemblance to the folkstyle practiced in American scholastic and collegiate programs, there are major differences between the national and international styles. Over the past decade, the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) has changed the whole direction of the sport.
The objective is to make wrestling vigorous, dynamic and spectacular. This is being carried out by revisions of the rules and their interpretations, by modifications of the methods of pairing, scoring and advancement, and by introduction of new philosophy.
FILA also recognizes two other styles of wrestling each with their own rules, they are Beach Wrestling and Sombo. Details on the rules for these two styles can be obtained through USAW.