What Is Folkstyle Wrestling

Folkstyle wrestling is a wrestling style that is practiced at the collegiate and scholastic levels in the United States and is also sometimes known as collegiate wrestling, scholastic wrestling, or folk wrestling.

In this article we will be explaining what folkstyle wrestling is, what the weight classes are, we’ll also find out if folkstyle wrestling is good for self-defense and much more.

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folkstyle wrestling

What Is Wrestling?

In order to understand the meaning of folkstyle wrestling, we better understand first what wrestling is. Wrestling is a combat sport, which combines grappling techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins, and other grappling holds.

There are many different styles of wrestling, as it has a long history.

What Is Folkstyle Wrestling?

So, as previously mentioned folkstyle wrestling is an amateur wrestling style that is practiced at the collegiate and scholastic levels in the United States. 

Folkstyle wrestling rules are set by the United States Wrestling Federation, along with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for college wrestling. Folkstyle wrestling is set up to promote the sport as a whole and to protect the health of the wrestlers.

Folkstyle Wrestling History in a Nutshell

Folkstyle wrestling was developed in the late 19th century primarily by Lou Little, a Princeton University Wrestling Coach. However, he modified the style of William Augustus Nichols, which made it what we know today as folkstyle wrestling.

The name came from a term for wrestling in medieval Europe. There was no set standard rule system and the matches would take place in fields following the harvest. So, folkstyle wrestling was specifically developed so the sport would be more spectator-friendly and simplify the rules for Greco-roman wrestling.

Folkstyle Wrestling Tournaments

There are a lot of folkstyle wrestling tournaments that take place all year round. They range from local to state, regional, national, and international championships.

Folkstyle Wrestling Tournaments examples:

-NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships

-NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships

-NAIA National Wrestling Championship

-NCCWA Folkstyle National Championships

-USAW Cadet Nationals

-USAW Junior Folkstyle Nationals

-USAW Junior Greco-Roman Nationals

-USAW Greco-Roman Junior Nationals

-USAW Senior Folkstyle Nationals

The winner of each weight class is determined by a bracket system. Just like in UFC or MMA tournaments, folkstyle wrestling has its own bracket type too. The winner of the brackets goes on to face each other in another round until there’s only one wrestler left standing, and it’s the winner of the championship.

Folkstyle Wrestling Weight Classes

The weight classes for folkstyle wrestling are as follows:

-Flyweight (112 lbs or less)

-Bantamweight (114 lbs -129 lbs)

-Featherweight (130 lbs -141 lbs)

-Lightweight (142 lbs – 155 lbs)

-Middleweight (156 lbs – 169 lbs)

-Heavyweight (170 lbs or more)

Is Folkstyle Wrestling in the Olympic Games?

Folkstyle wrestling is not part of the Olympic games, as Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling are. Greco-Roman wrestling was first introduced as an Olympic sport back in 1896 and freestyle wrestling was introduced as well, but not until 1904. There might be a chance to see folkstyle wrestling in the Olympics in the coming years.

Is Folkstyle Wrestling a Martial Art?

“Folkstyle wrestling is not a martial art”, said Carl Creel, professional wrestler and former Olympic medalist (Gold).

Folkstyle wrestling It’s more of an athletic type of sport. A lot of people consider wrestling to be a martial art though, but it has more to do with the origin of wrestling. There are also other factors that can determine whether a sport is considered to be part of martial arts or not.

Such as:

-The rules and regulations of the sport

-Its origins and history

-Its training methods, drills, and tradition

-Ethics behind it

Is Folktyle Good for Self-defense?

Folkstyle wrestling was done under the same rules as Greco-Roman wrestling. With that being said, folkstyle wrestling was mainly used for self-defense purposes in ancient times.

It was meant for two opponents to engage in a fight, that’s why specifically the name was given. There are a lot of other factors that come into play to determine if a martial art or a style of wrestling is good for self-defense. Such as the training, rules, drills, ethics, tradition, and culture behind it.

Wrestling is a very interesting style of combat sport. In order to fully understand it, you need to put in the time and training required. It’s not a style that can be learned from a book. There are a lot of other factors as well as the ones I mentioned above that can determine its effectiveness in self-defense.

But the question that should be asked is whether a person skilled in wrestling, who has been attacked by a person with a knife or a bat, will know how to defend himself against these.

The answer is probably no, although the average wrestler has skills like strength, agility, fitness, hand-eye contact, and the like that will help him deal with the situation better than a person who is not trained at all, still, this is not the recommended martial art for self-defense.

Is Folkstyle Wrestling Good for MMA

Folkstyle wrestling could be useful for MMA, as it can be used as an effective grappling style. The same thing can be said about the other grappling styles such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Sambo, and so on.

Is Folkstyle Wrestling Hard?

As with any sport, folkstyle wrestling requires a lot of hard work and dedication. It takes years to actually master the grappling style or style of wrestling that you have chosen. It will take a lot of time and effort to work in the style you want from the start.

Folkstyle wrestling is a very hard style to learn, but it’s fun. You will need to put in the time and effort to be good at it though. Folkstyle wrestling is not an easy sport to learn, but it’s extremely fun and addicting.

What Gear Is Used in Folkstyle Wrestling?

Wrestlers will wear the following wrestling gear: tights, singlets, shoes, ear guards, headgear, and wrestling pants for folkstyle wrestling. Also, hairnets are popular in folkstyle wrestling.

When Was Folkstyle Wrestling Invented

We do not have a specific year as to when folkstyle wrestling was first invented. It’s just a style of wrestling that emerged from other styles, such as the Greco-Roman style. But it’s not really clear which one was first. Just like any other wrestling style, folkstyle wrestling was probably invented by farmers or peasants.

Where Did Folkstyle Wrestling Originate?

Folkstyle wrestling originated in the United States, but it has ties to other grappling styles like Greco-Roman wrestling, Judo, and Sambo. While it’s called “folkstyle” wrestling today, the style of grappling was once known as collegiate wrestling and was later changed to folkstyle wrestling.

Do Other Countries Wrestle Folkstyle?

Other countries that wrestle folkstyle include:




-The Czech Republic and Slovakia




-Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland (Nordic)

-Poland, Ukraine

Can You “Back Arch” in Folkstyle?

No, you cannot back-arch in folkstyle wrestling. This is because there are no back positions in folkstyle wrestling. However, you can go for an escape if your opponent tries to arch your back while pinning.

Can You Defend an Ankle Pick in Folkstyle?

Yes. You can defend an ankle pick by using your leg strength and torque to drive that person into the mat. The best defense against an ankle pick is a good offense. You need to get in a low position similar to a double-leg takedown, drive your head into the person’s hip and push that person away from you while going for a leg or waist takedown.

Can You Escape Throw in Folkstyle?

Yes, you are able to escape throw-in folkstyle wrestling. The best way to go about this is by blocking the throw with one of your arms while pushing on the other person’s hip to try and get them off balance. A good wrestling escape will result in you getting up off the mat, so push hard!

Can You Face Turn in Folkstyle?

Yes, you can face turn in folkstyle wrestling. A face turn happens when you’re pinned on your back with the person on top of you on one side, but instead of pinning you they put your shoulder blade down and turn onto their side of your body. In order to do this successfully, you will need a lot of momentum going forward.

Can Folkstyle Wrestling Be Dangerous?

Yes. Folkstyle wrestling can be harmful if an inexperienced wrestler goes up against someone who does know what they’re doing. People who don’t know how to fall will get hurt if they try and wrestle someone who does know how to properly fall. Folkstyle wrestling can be dangerous unless you know what you’re doing, so be careful.

Is Folkstyle Wrestling Hard on Your Knees?

Yes, it can be very hard on your knees. You can do knee tucks to make sure that you move with the weight, but the weight is still very hard on your knees which is why wrestlers wear special pants and knee pads.