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Fan's Guide to Wrestling Rules and Basics Page 5 of 5 (Glossary)

wrestlers1- History & Object
2- Essentials (Scoring, Etc.)
3- Mat Diagram
4- Fouls
5- Glossary


Breakdown: Getting an opponent to the mat on his stomach or side, usually from the offensive starting position. Breakdown moves include the spiral ride, near arm crunch, tight waist to cheap tilt, Iowa ride, and crab ride.

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.

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.

Escape: Occurs when a wrestler who is being controlled by his opponent gains a neutral position, creates space, and faces the opponent. Standup and the sit-out are common escapes.

Flagrant misconduct: Called against competitors for such actions as striking, biting, butting, elbowing, or kicking an opponent. Also called against coaches and team personnel for actions that warrant their removal.

Illegal hold: Anytime a wrestler pushes an opponent’s body part past its regular range of motion, uses excessive force, or performs a hold that hampers breathing or circulation.

Injury time: Two injury timeouts are allowed that cannot exceed a total of 90 seconds, in which a wrestler may recover from an injury and resume the match.

Near fall: When one shoulder is touching the mat and the second shoulder is past a 45-degree angle, or if both shoulders are within four inches of the mat. Holding the position for two seconds receives two points, and maintaining the position for five seconds receives three points. One point is added if an injury timeout occurs during the near fall. The half nelson, arm bar, cradle, and tilt leg ride often result in a near fall.

Neutral position: Neither wrestler has control. From this position, wrestlers attempt to takedown their opponents. Wrestlers often tie-up in the neutral position while working on a takedown.

Offensive starting position: Wrestler on top of the par terre who kneels with at least one knee on the mat, one hand on the opponent’s elbow, and the other hand around the opponent’s body. From this position, a wrestler tries to breakdown his opponent. Also called top position.

Pin: Forcing both of the opponent's shoulders to the mat. Pinning moves include the half nelson, quarter nelson, double arm bar, and cradle.

Par terre: Position when one wrestler is in the defensive starting position, on his hands and knees, and one is in the offensive starting position, kneeling beside his opponent. Also called referee’s position.

Reversal: Executing a move from underneath an opponent that shifts control from the opponent to the wrestler. Worth two points. Switches, rolls, and hip heists are popular reversals.

Stalemate: When neither wrestler can improve his position, wrestling resumes from the starting lines.

Stalling: Both wrestlers must constantly make an effort to be assertive (attempt a takedown, escape, pin, etc.) and remain within the 10-foot circle. A warning is given for the first offense, after which penalties are enforced.

Supporting points: The weight-bearing points of the body, including feet, knees, hands, buttocks, etc. The wrestlers are in bounds as long as the supporting points of either wrestler are within the boundary line.

Technical violations: There are seven major technical violations, including incorrect starting postion/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.

Takedown: Dropping the opponent down to the floor from a standing position and gaining control. Takedowns include single legs, double legs, high crotches, headlocks, body-locks, shrugs, fireman's carries, and body throws.

Tie-up: Wrestler grabs the opponent's upper body while standing to gain control. Common tie-ups include the head and arm tie, as well as the double bicep tie.

Unnecessary roughness: Called for actions that are unreasonably aggressive.

Unsportsmanlike conduct: Called for disobeying or arguing with a referee, or other acts of poor sportsmanship such as swearing, spitting, taunting, or throwing equipment.


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