Sunday, January 25, 2009

French invented modern sport wrestling



Greco-Roman wrestling actually derived from a 19th century French form of show-wrestling popular for its high throws. It is speculated that many styles of European folk wrestling may have spurred the origins of Greco-Roman wrestling. The British wrestling styles that originated in Cumberland and Westmoreland have some holds that are not allowed in Greco-Roman, but restricted arm holds to the upper torso, and was quite similar to Greco-Roman. The styles of Devon and Cornwall also had the wrestlers using their holds above waist level. According to FILA, a Napoleonic soldier named Exbroyat first developed the style. Exbroyat performed in fairs and called his style of wrestling "flat hand wrestling" to distinguish it from other forms of hand-to-hand combat that allowed striking. In 1848, Exbroyat established the rule that no holds below the waist were to be allowed; neither were painful holds or torsions that would hurt the opponent. "Flat hand wrestling" or "French wrestling" (as the style became known) developed all throughout Europe and became a popular sport. The Italian wrestler Basilio Bartoletti first coined the term "Greco-Roman" for the sport to underline the interest in "ancient values." Many others in the 18th and 19th centuries sought to add value to their contemporary athletic practices by finding some connections with ancient counterparts. So, it was widely believed soon enough that Greco-Roman wrestling emerged from a Greek wrestling competition known as "upright wrestling" in which only upper body holds were allowed. The 18th century work Gymnastics for Youth by Johann Friedrich Guts Muths described a form of schoolboy wrestling called "orthopale" (used by Plato to describe the standing part of wrestling) that did not mention any lower-body holds. Real ancient wrestling was quite different; see Greek wrestling.

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