What Is Wrestling?

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Is wrestling like what professional wrestlers do on TV?
Not even close. Professional wrestling is based on theatrics, entertainment value and a certain shock factor, displaying extremely violent moves. Amateur wrestling is conducted on a mat with regulation wrestling shoes and protective headgear. It is physically demanding, but relatively safe and non-violent. Wrestling rules do not tolerate any actions intended to cause physical harm.

What physical effects does wrestling have on children?
Other team sports may be better at developing interactive play-to-player skills such as passing and blocking, but wrestling offers benefits that others lack. The individual nature of wrestling provides an outstanding opportunity for young athletes to develop a sense of responsibility and self-esteem while learning the relationship between effort and achievement. Most sports focus primarily on pushing motions such as throwing, hitting, kicking, jumping and running. Experts believe that unilateral physical development, with equal emphasis on all muscle groups, is especially important in young athletes. Isolated muscle development at an early age and over a long period increases the risk of injury and limits long-term foundational growth. Of all the sports, wrestling is perhaps the best sport of overall physical development because it involves every muscle group and requires the greatest balance of athletic skill.  In other words, wrestling does more to improve basic things such as strength, balance, speed, agility and intensity, and is not as specialized as most other common sports.

What makes a good wrestler?
Wrestling involves a unique balance of practically every aspect of physical and psychological conditioning. Strength is as important as stamina. Speed as technique, strategy as intensity, and power as is coordination.  However, it is not always the natural athlete that ultimately succeeds in the sport - it is the natural competitor. Gifted athletes, especially those that are strong and well-coordinated, typically do well and take an early liking to the sport. However, in many cases, hard work and preparation will eventually trump more naturally gifted kids who fail to develop those skills.

I hear wrestling is violent. Is that true?
Wrestling has long been misperceived as a violent sport by those who have never actually seen it. Wrestlers are encouraged to be aggressive on the mat, but those who are too aggressive, or out of control, soon find themselves on the losing end of a match won by a more controlled wrestler. Wrestlers learn to control their aggressions both on and off the mat, much like martial arts disciplines. They are taught to respect their opponents and develop humility, as they learn to deal with losses on an individual level. 

Is wrestling dangerous? I worry about my son/daughter.
While there can be some bumps, bruises, bloody noses, and an occasional pulled muscle or hyperextension, several studies have been conducted in recent years that show wrestling to be safer than many more common sports including football, lacrosse, soccer, and gymnastics.  Most notable in these reports is wrestling's low percentage of serious, permanent and life-threatening injury in relation to other sports. 

Is wrestling good for self-defense?
Yes, very much so.  Wrestling is unique in that it can be very aggressive without being violent.  The objective is not to destroy or harm one's opponent, but to outmaneuver them and to gain control. Involvement in wrestling is a great way to build confidence and the ability to defend one's self, without resorting to the violent tactics inherent in most other forms of self-defense.

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