Greco-roman wrestling – game rules

By: Dennis B. B. Taylor

Discover the Thrilling World of Greco-Roman Wrestling

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to step into the ancient arena of Greco-Roman wrestling? It’s a sport that has stood the test of time, captivating warriors and spectators alike for centuries. The art of Greco-Roman wrestling traces its roots back to the mighty empires of Greece and Rome, where it was a celebrated display of strength, agility, and strategy.

Today, we still find ourselves drawn to the gripping intensity of this ancient tradition. But what sets Greco-Roman wrestling apart from its counterparts? Well, let me explain it to you. Unlike freestyle wrestling that allows for attacks below the waist, Greco-Roman wrestling focuses solely on throws and holds above the waist. This restriction adds a layer of complexity to the game by relying on pure upper body strength and technical finesse.

When you step onto the wrestling mat, you’re stepping back in time to an era when wrestling was more than just a sport; it was a way of life. The energy in the arena is electric as the crowd anxiously waits for the wrestling spectacle to unfold. Every move, every twist and turn – it all becomes a dance of power and grace between two athletes.

But Greco-Roman wrestling isn’t just about brute force. It’s a mental and physical battle, demanding strategy, quick reflexes, and unwavering determination. Each wrestler must rely on their instincts, anticipating their opponent’s next move while plotting their own path to victory. It’s a chess match played with muscles and sweat.

So, why should you consider taking up Greco-Roman wrestling? It’s a question worth asking. Apart from the thrill that comes from a well-executed throw, Greco-Roman wrestling offers a myriad of benefits. It strengthens not just your body, but also your mind, teaching discipline, perseverance, and humility. It instills a sense of respect for oneself and others as you navigate through the ups and downs of the wrestling journey.

When it comes to choosing the right martial art for you, the ancient art of Greco-Roman wrestling is definitely one worth considering. Its rich history, deep-rooted traditions, and demanding physicality create an experience unlike any other. So, if you’re looking for a sport that challenges you both mentally and physically, Greco-Roman wrestling might just be the perfect match for you.

Unlock the power within you and step into the world of Greco-Roman wrestling. Discover the true meaning of strength, resilience, and determination as you immerse yourself in this unique sport. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just starting your journey, Greco-Roman wrestling has something to offer everyone.

Hey there! Let’s talk about Greco-Roman wrestling, which is a cool sport that you might enjoy. It’s kind of similar to freestyle wrestling, but with a twist!

In Greco-Roman wrestling, you’re not allowed to grab your opponent below the waist. This makes it really interesting because it puts more emphasis on throws as the main way to bring your opponent down.

Now, let’s dig into the history a little bit. Greco-Roman wrestling is considered to be the modern take on the wrestling style that was practiced in Ancient Greece. But here’s a fun fact: the way it’s done nowadays is quite different from how it was back in ancient times.

In fact, one of the key rules in Greco-Roman wrestling, which forbids grabbing the lower body, was only added in the 19th century. So, it’s not exactly the same as what the ancient Greeks used to do.

Did you know that despite its popularity in Europe, Greco-Roman wrestling had a hard time gaining a foothold in the United States? It’s true! For a long time, many Americans preferred freestyle wrestling because it had fewer restrictions and rules, making it more appealing. But things started to change…


Greco-roman wrestling - game rules


When it comes to wrestling, there are several pieces of equipment that play a crucial role in keeping athletes safe and comfortable during matches. Let’s take a look at some of the key items:

  • Singlet: This is the classic one-piece uniform that wrestlers wear. Designed to be close-fitting, singlets are typically made of stretchy materials like spandex or nylon.
  • Ear Guards: Protecting your ears is essential in wrestling. Ear guards are specially designed headgear that shield both of a wrestler’s ears from damage. Without proper ear protection, you risk developing a condition called “cauliflower ear”.
  • Knee Pads: If your wrestling style involves a lot of sliding and moving on the ground, knee pads can provide much-needed protection. However, in Greco-Roman wrestling, where holds below the waist are not allowed, knee pads are less commonly used.
  • Mouthguard: To safeguard your teeth and mouth from impacts, wearing a mouthguard is a wise move. It adds an extra layer of protection to prevent dental injuries.

By using the right equipment and taking safety precautions, wrestlers can focus on their sport and perform at their best while minimizing the risk of injury. Your gear is your armor on the mat, so make sure you choose items that fit properly and provide the necessary protection.

  • Wrestling Shoes: These high-top shoes are specifically designed for wrestlers. They provide extra traction and ankle support while being lightweight and flexible to minimize any restrictions.


In Greco-Roman wrestling, matches are divided into two halves, each lasting three minutes. There is a thirty-second break between the halves. These matches typically take place within tournaments, where wrestlers are grouped into different brackets based on their weight class.

Did you know that wrestling tournaments often follow a format where it’s a fight to the finish? That’s right, the winner of each match moves on to battle another winner until there are only two left standing. It’s like a never-ending showdown!

But that’s not all.

In Greco-Roman wrestling, they have something called a repechage system – an extra chance for the wrestlers who didn’t make it to the finals. These wrestlers face off against each other to determine who deserves the bronze medal.

How does it work?

Well, let’s say a wrestler loses to one of the finalists in the first round. They’re not out of the competition just yet. They get another shot against the wrestler who also lost to that same finalist. And if they win that match, they move on to face the wrestler who lost to the finalist in the next round. It’s a series of battles for the ultimate prize!

Over on the opposite side of the bracket, all the wrestlers who were defeated by the finalist face off against each other in the same style. Eventually, two bronze medals are given to the winners of the repechage round.



In Greco-Roman wrestling, points are earned in the same way as in freestyle wrestling. However, certain moves that involve greater risk or higher levels of skill are awarded more points. These moves include:

  • Takedown (2-5 points): A takedown is a move that brings the opponent to the ground, allowing me to gain control over them. If I execute a throw that puts the opponent in immediate danger, I will be awarded higher points. However, if I only manage to bring them to the ground without putting them in immediate danger or on their back, I will receive fewer points.
  • Reversal (1 point): I will be awarded one point if I am in a defensive position but manage to reverse it and gain an advantage over my opponent.

Scoring in Wrestling: What You Need to Know

Wrestling is a captivating sport that involves a unique set of rules and regulations. If you’re new to the wrestling scene, it might seem confusing at first. But fear not! I’m here to break it down for you and explain the scoring system in a way that’s easy to understand.

In wrestling, the goal is to win the match by accumulating points. These points are earned through various actions and maneuvers during the match. Let’s dive into the different ways you can score points in wrestling:

  • Takedown (2 points): A takedown occurs when a wrestler brings their opponent from a standing position to the mat while maintaining control. This move is highly valued in wrestling and awards the wrestler with two points. It’s a great way to gain an advantage over your opponent.
  • Near Fall (2-3 points): Also known as “exposure,” near falls happen when a wrestler comes close to pinning their opponent on their back. A near fall awards the wrestler with two to three points, depending on the duration of the exposure. This move showcases the wrestler’s skill and can turn the tide of the match.
  • Escape (1 point): Sometimes, a wrestler finds themselves in a defensive position on the ground. When they manage to break free and return to their feet, they earn one point. Escaping a tough situation demonstrates resilience and determination.
  • Penalties (1-2 points): Just like in any competitive sport, wrestling has penalties for rule infractions. When a wrestler commits a minor infraction, their opponent is awarded one or two points, depending on the severity. These penalties serve as a reminder to wrestlers to compete within the rules, ensuring fair play.

Win Conditions

Greco-roman wrestling - game rules

In Greco-Roman wrestling, the objective is to win the match by achieving certain conditions. These conditions are similar to those in freestyle wrestling, but with a few slight differences. Let’s take a look at these conditions:


One way to win is by scoring a “fall,” also known as a pin. A wrestler achieves a fall when they pin both of their opponent’s shoulders or shoulder blades to the mat for at least two seconds. This results in an immediate victory.


Another way to win is by achieving a “technical superiority.” If a wrestler accumulates eight or more points than their opponent at any point during the match, they win by technical superiority.


The third way to determine a winner is through a “decision.” Unlike the previous methods, a decision is determined by the judges based on the overall performance and technique displayed by the wrestlers. The judges evaluate factors such as takedowns, reversals, and exposure to determine the winner.

If no wrestler meets another win condition, the wrestler with the higher point total wins the match. In the event of a tie in points, the decision is determined by the number of penalties each wrestler received, the value of the points (with higher-scoring moves considered more valuable), and the wrestler who scored the last technical point. Typically, the wrestler who scored the last technical point wins by decision.


This type of victory occurs when an opponent forfeits or withdraws from the match. It also applies if the opponent fails to show up for the match.


If your opponent gets too injured during a wrestling match, you can win. This might happen if they take too many injury timeouts or if they bleed too much. However, if you injure your opponent with an illegal or dangerous move, you’ll be disqualified.


If you accumulate three cautions during a match or if you show flagrant misconduct, the referee will disqualify you. This means that your opponent automatically wins.


Greco-Roman wrestling has similar rules to freestyle wrestling. The referee will penalize you with one or two points for each infraction. Here are some things that are not allowed:

  • You can’t call an injury timeout (unless you’re bleeding)
  • You can’t intentionally strike your opponent

When it comes to wrestling, there are certain moves and actions that are considered illegal. As a wrestler, it is important to understand what these actions are and avoid them to maintain fairness and sportsmanship. In Greco-Roman wrestling, some of the illegal moves and actions include intentionally trying to injure your opponent, using holds that are not allowed, tripping the opponent with your legs, purposefully going out of bounds, grabbing the opponent’s clothing, showing passivity, and engaging in flagrant misconduct.

In Greco-Roman wrestling, there is a specific rule that sets it apart from other wrestling styles. Any hold below the waist is considered illegal, making it a key component of the identity of this wrestling style.

Passivity penalties in Greco-Roman wrestling work differently compared to other styles. These penalties do not come with a warning and instantly award a point to the non-passive wrestler. The non-passive wrestler also gets to choose whether to place their opponent into a standing or “par terre position” with their stomach on the ground. In this position, the non-passive wrestler can hold their opponent in any desired hold before resuming the match.

It is crucial for wrestlers to be aware of these illegal moves and actions to prevent penalties and maintain fairness in the sport. By following the rules and regulations, wrestlers can ensure a level playing field and promote good sportsmanship.

A Wrestling Style Like No Other

Greco-Roman wrestling is a unique style that has its similarities with freestyle wrestling. The rules, scoring system, and criteria used in both styles are mostly the same. However, there is one crucial rule in Greco-Roman wrestling that sets it apart – no holds or grabs below the waist are allowed. This single rule completely changes the way the sport is played.

In Greco-Roman wrestling, all holds and moves must happen above the waist, and the use of legs is not allowed. This means that wrestlers have to come up with explosive throwing techniques to bring their opponents down. In other styles of wrestling, it is common to see takedowns involving the lower body. But in Greco-Roman, it’s all about using your upper body strength and technique to throw your opponent to the ground. This emphasis on throwing techniques gives Greco-Roman wrestling a unique flavor, closer to judo than freestyle wrestling.

The Final Showdown

When it comes to wrestling, the goal is clear: pin down your opponent’s shoulders to the mat for at least two seconds or score more points than them. It’s a thrilling sport that requires strength, strategy, and determination.

I love to write and inspire others to have fun and play games. For three years, I ran a pub crawl where I organized drinking games every day for my guests. Games are a big part of my life, thanks to my game-loving family.

Travel and music are two of my greatest passions. I’ve even started personal blogs to share my experiences and thoughts on these topics.

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