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Wrestling Terms

  • Bottom Position: one of two components of referee's position; the man goes down to his knees, his hands on the mat in front of him, sitting back toward his feet. The wrestler in this position is called the bottom man.
  • Breakdown: the process of breaking an opponent beneath you to his stomach or side. This often makes turning him over for a pin easier.
  • Bridge: When a wrestler supports himself on his/her head, elbows and feet to keep his/her shoulders from touching the mat.
  • Bye: The indication that a wrestler has no opponent in a given round.
  • Caution: The penalty against a wrestler for use of an illegal hold, fleeing a hold, fleeing the mat, or refusal to take a proper starting position. Three cautions result in disqualification.
  • Championship round: The finals, competition between place winners from the two groups to determine final placing in the tournament.
  • Control: the dominating position which restricts the opponent's mobility; usually, the one on top is the one with control. In neutral position, neither wrestler has control until a takedown is achieved.
  • Decision: Victory on points, by a margin of 1 to 14.
  • Default: A bout determined by injury to a contestant.
  • Disqualification: Elimination of one or both contestants from a bout with three cautions, or for misconduct. In the latter case, the wrestler (s) may be eliminated from the tournament.
  • Dual meet: Competition between two teams, each team entering one wrestler in a previously determined number of weights.
  • Elimination: Removal of a wrestler from the competition, by a second defeat, an injury, forfeit, failure to weigh in, or misconduct.
  • Elimination rounds: The preliminary rounds of competition, to reduce the number of contestants to three in each group and to determine additional placing as needed.
  • Escape: When an athlete works to come out from the bottom position (after being under dominant control) and gets to his feet, facing his rival, he has scored an escape, worth one point.
  • Exposure: When the defensive wrestler's back is turned toward the mat without the head or an elbow touching (hand-to-hand). Not a danger position, so it can score only one point.
  • Facemask: A protective cushion worn because of injury. Prohibited in international events, but permitted by USA Wrestling when prescribed by a physician or by the chief medical officer of the event.
  • Fall: Victory by pinning an opponent's shoulders to the mat.
  • Five Point Move: In Folk style wrestling, it is a move, a reversal or a takedown, that will score five points if the opponent is taken directly to into a pinning situation and 3 Point near-fall criteria is met.
  • Fleeing the mat: Leaving the mat can only be done to avoid a fall or being scored upon. Leaving the mat in neutral position can result in a stall called.
  • Forfeit: The result when a wrestler fails to appear for his/her bout.
  • Freestyle: One of the two international wrestling styles, where use of the legs is permitted.
  • Greco-Roman: One of the two international styles, where attacking the opponent's legs, and using one's own legs in an attack, is prohibited.
  • Headgear: Ear protectors of various types.
  • Injury Default: Athlete cannot continue to compete, match ends.
  • Illegal hold: A hold or maneuver prohibited by the rules, punishable by a caution and one or two penalty points.
  • Injury time: An interruption of the bout because a wrestler is hurt. Each contestant is allowed a total of two minutes in one bout.
  • Mandatory rest: A wrestler must be allowed at least 30 minutes after a bout before he/she can compete again.
  • Match: the actual bout between two wrestlers.
  • Meet: an organized competition between two (or more) wrestling teams.
  • On deck: Two wrestlers called to the mat where a bout is in progress, to prepare themselves for the next bout on the same mat.
  • Near Fall Criteria/Near Fall Points: The criteria for earning a near fall is when the offensive wrestler has control of his opponent in a pinning situation and both shoulders or scapula of the defensive wrestler are held within four inches (or less) of the mat; OR when a shoulder or scapula is touching the mat and the other shoulder or scapula is at an angle of 90 degrees (or less) with the mat. The defensive wrestler's shoulders or scapula must be inbounds to earn near fall points. If this criteria is met for two continuous seconds, two points are earned. If this criteria is met for five continuous seconds, then three points are earned.
  • Neutral Position: the starting position of a match, with both wrestlers standing facing each other, not in contact.
  • Optional Start: instead of taking top position, a wrestler can choose this variation; the wrestler places both hands on the bottom man's back and leaves his knees off the mat. When this option is chosen, the referee must inform the bottom man so he may adjust his position. Optional start usually is used when you intend to let the bottom man go immediately, but not always.
  • Potentially Dangerous:
  • Referee: The official who conducts the bout on the mat, starting and stopping action with the sound of his/her whistle, and signaling his/her decisions on points, position and passivity to the judge and mat chairman.
  • Referee's Position: The Referee's position is a starting position in which one wrestler begins in the defensive position and his opponent begins from the offensive position. The defensive wrestler is located in the center of the circle on his hands and knees. His hand and Knees must be parallel to the starting lines on the mat. The offensive wrestler position himself on the left or right side of his opponent with at least one knee on the mat on the side is positioned. Offensive wrestler must also place the palm of his hand on his opponent’s stomach and the far hand on the opponent's elbow.
  • Reversal: When the man underneath completely reverses his position and comes to the top position in control, he has scored a reversal, worth two points.
  • Round robin: Group finals, competition among three wrestlers remaining in a group, each meeting the other two regardless of the outcome of a single bout.
  • Seeding: Pre-tournament ranking of contestants by past achievement, so that they may be separated in the draw.
  • Singlet: A one-piece uniform worn by the wrestler.
  • Slam: Throwing an opponent down with unnecessary force, without accompanying him to the mat. May be considered brutality. A slam is illegal in Kids competition.
  • Sprawl: an elementary counter to a leg shot. The wrestler throws his legs back, arching his hips into the opponent if necessary, making it harder to keep a grip on his legs.
  • Stalling: Stalling is when a wrestler does not wrestle aggressively; continuously avoids contact with his opponent; plays the edge of the mat; delays the match; prevents his opponent from returning to inbounds area; is not attempting to secure a takedown. A wrestler will be warned one time and is penalized on each successive stalling infraction.
  • Stalemate:
  • Setup: an action of some sort designed to distract the opponent or cause a reaction, allowing an easier takedown.
  • Takedown: Occurs when a man takes his opponent to the mat from a standing position. This is worth one point, but can be worth more if the opponent is brought down onto his back.
  • Technical fall: A victory on points, by a margin of 15 or more. The bout is stopped as soon as this margin is reached unless there is a pinning combination when the 15th point in reaches. Then the match ends after the fall or the pinning combo is broken.
  • Technical Violation:
  • Top Position: one of the two components of referee's position; after the bottom man has positioned himself, the other wrestler places his knee down to one side of his opponent, his knee up behind him with his foot also behind. The hand on the same side as the down knee grasps the opponent's near elbow, and the other hand reaches around the waist to rest on the navel. At this point, the referee will signal to begin wrestling. The man in top position is called the top man.
  • Weigh-in: A preliminary to competition, where the wrestler steps on the scale to certify that his/her weight does not exceed the limit for the class in which he/she is entered.
Weight classes: Divisions in pounds or kilograms, whereby wrestlers are grouped by size for competition.

AGE & WEIGHT DIVISIONS
Age of as August 31, 2002

8 & under: 40, 43, 46, 49, 52, 55, 58, 61, 64, 67, 70, 73, 76, 80, 88, 95, 110, 125
9 & 10: 52, 55, 58, 61, 64, 67, 70, 73, 76, 79, 82, 85, 90, 95, 100, 110, 120, 130, 150, 170
11 & 12: 60, 64, 68, 72, 76, 80, 84, 88, 92, 96, 100, 105, 110, 115, 120, 130, 140, 150, 165, 190, 215, 240
13 & 14: 70, 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 100, 105, 110, 115, 120, 125, 130, 135, 140, 145, 150, 155, 160, 165, 175, 205, 235, 265
15 & 16: 95, 100, 105, 110, 115, 120, 125, 130, 135, 140, 145, 150, 155, 160, 165, 175, 185, 215, 245, 275


These are the weight classes determined by the State Body Meeting, November 1995, and modified September 1999. Age classifications were changed November, 1996.