Collar and Elbow Wrestling Guide

Collar and elbow wrestling is a style of wrestling that is often overlooked in favor of more popular styles like freestyle and Greco-Roman. However, collar and elbow wrestling has a long and rich history and can be an incredibly effective way to win matches.

In this guide, we will discuss the rules and the basics of collar and elbow wrestling, as well as some of the more advanced techniques that can help you dominate your opponents. Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

collar and elbow wrestling

What Is Collar and Elbow Wrestling?

Collar and elbow is a form of wrestling that has its origins in Ireland and the Celtic countries. It is a close-quarters combat sport that involves grappling techniques. The aim of the sport is to throw the opponent flat on his back, as in judo.

The sport is fought within a roped square ring. The wrestlers wear shorts and long-sleeved shirts, and they are not allowed to wear shoes or any other type of footwear.

The match is typically fought over three three-minute rounds, with a one-minute break between rounds. The winner of the match is determined by either a submission or a knockout.

Collar and Elbow Wrestling History

The name comes from the fact that the wrestlers would grip each other’s collar with one hand and elbow with the other. The objective of the game was to force your opponent to touch his shoulder to the ground.

Collar and elbow wrestling was most commonly played among Irish immigrants, who brought the game over from their homeland. The game soon became popular among all classes and ethnic groups in America, and it became a staple of county fairs and other public gatherings.

By the early 20th century, however, collar and elbow wrestling had lost its popularity, and it is now largely forgotten.

Collar and Elbow Wrestling Rules

In the ring, the men must wear a knit shirt and a short coat or jacket, not extending below the hips, with strong elbows and collars for grasping, and thin rubber sandals on their feet.

With his right hand, each man must hold his opponent’s collar, while with his left he must grasp the elbow.

The basic objective is to force your opponent to touch his shoulder to the ground. There are a few different ways to do this, but the most common is to take your opponent down with a takedown or submission.

Takedowns can be performed by throwing your opponent to the ground, while submissions involve joint locks or chokeholds.

Is Collar and Elbow Wrestling Popular?

Collar and elbow wrestling is a traditional style of wrestling that was once popular in Ireland, Scotland, and the United States. While collar and elbow wrestling is not as popular as it once was, there are still a number of clubs and organizations dedicated to the sport.

In addition, the style has been adopted by some mixed martial arts fighters, who use it as a way to take their opponents to the ground.

Is It Similar to Cornish or Scottish Wrestling?

Collar and elbow wrestling shares many similarities with other styles of folk wrestling, such as Cornish wrestling, Scottish Highland wrestling, and Irish wrestling.

Like these other sports, Collar and elbow rely heavily on grappling and throws to take down an opponent. However, there are some key differences that set it apart from its counterparts.

For instance, collar and elbow wrestlers are not allowed to wear shoes. Also, the opponents must grasp the opponent’s collar and elbow.

Is It Similar to Judo?

This wrestling style is similar to Judo in many ways. Both styles emphasize the use of grappling and throws to defeat an opponent, and both require a great deal of skill and technique to be successful.

Both styles use almost the same holds (holding the collar and elbow is very common in Judo) and the wear is also pretty similar as many Collar wrestlers adopted Judo jackets and belts for their upper part.

However, there are also some significant differences between the two styles. Collar and elbow wrestling is typically fought from a standing position, while Judo often takes place on the ground.

In addition, in judo, it is common to use submission and a tap out win, whereas in collar and elbow wrestling the goal is primarily to take your opponent down.

What Do the Opponents Wear?

In collar and elbow wrestling, opponents are not allowed to wear shoes or any other type of footwear. Both wrestlers must be barefoot. In addition, both opponents must wear a shirt and jacket that does not extend below the hips.

The shirt must have strong elbows and collars for grasping. Some wrestlers wear a Judo jacket with a belt to make sure the holds are comfortable and professional.

Is Collar and Elbow Wrestling Effective for Self-defense?

The answer is basically no. Collar and elbow wrestling is not a particularly effective form of self-defense. This is because the purpose of the sport is to bring the opponent to the ground in a very specific way and one that does not necessarily correspond to a situation of real street fighting.

In addition, this sport does not deal with various attacks like punches, kicks, elbows, knives, and the like. Also, this sport does not provide a solution to ground fighting which is also a very common part of street fighting.

At the same time, this sport has slight advantages in the context of self-defense. A skilled wrestler will be in good shape and physical condition, which definitely improves the chances of defending yourself.

Also, the aggressiveness and determination required in this sport will also help. In addition, the grips learned can help in specific situations, not fully and not even partially, but it is definitely better than nothing.

Is Collar and Elbow Wrestling Hard to Master?

While it may sound simple, collar and elbow wrestling is actually a very complex and technical discipline. There are a variety of ways to achieve the desired result, and each wrestler must learn how to effectively use their body weight, leverage, and momentum.

In addition, collar and elbow wrestling also requires a great deal of strength and endurance. As a result, it is not surprising that many people find it difficult to master. However, with dedication and practice, it is possible to become an expert in this ancient form of wrestling.