Collegiate wrestling, sometimes known in the United States as Folkstyle wrestling, is a style of amateur wrestling practised at the collegiate and university level in the United States. Collegiate wrestling emerged from the folk wrestling styles practised in the early history of the United States. This style, with some slight modifications, is also practised at the high school and middle school levels, and also among younger participants, where it is known as scholastic wrestling. These names help distinguish collegiate wrestling from other styles of wrestling that are practised around the world such as those in the Olympic Games: Freestyle wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling.
Collegiate wrestling, like its international counterpart, freestyle wrestling, has its main origins in catch-as-catch-can wrestling. In both styles, the ultimate goal is to pin the opponent to the mat, which results in an immediate win. Collegiate and freestyle wrestling, unlike Greco-Roman, also both allow the use of the wrestler’s or his opponent’s legs in offense and defense. However, collegiate wrestling has had so many influences from the wide variety of folk wrestling styles brought into the country that it has become distinctly American.
The history of collegiate wrestling can be traced to the many indigenous styles of folk wrestling found in Europe, particularly in Great Britain. Those folk wrestling styles soon gained popularity in what would become the United States, and by the end of the Civil War those styles, especially freestyle wrestling, emerged in gymnasiums and athletic clubs throughout the country. From then on, tournaments were sponsored and a professional circuit of wrestlers helped promote wrestling in the United States and throughout the world.
Indeed in Karate we can find many references to Okinawan Wrestling (Tegumi – one of the sources of techniques that evolved into the Karate we see pre-1920s) through the stand up grappling aspects of Karate Kata. In relation to the Half Nelson photograph above we can find counters to Half/Full Nelsons in Goju Kata. Every martial artist on the planet does truly train in two hand, two arm style.
By the end of the 19th century, the Amateur Athletic Union was sponsoring competitions in freestyle wrestling, and by the start of the 20th century, colleges and universities were competing in dual meets and tournaments, and such events spread to high schools and lower age levels. During the 20th century, collegiate wrestling evolved into a distinctly American sport which was soon regulated by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
The following documentary on you tube follows a season of training, blood sweat and tears of one of the elite wrestling schools in the USA and demonstrates the amazing dedication showing by each and everyone of the competitors