Can You Choke, Slam, Punch, or Trip in Wrestling?

There are many rules in Olympic-style wrestling, but wrestling allows more moves than many other disciplines. In fact, wrestling often encourages combustible, innovative moves. This has then led to many people wondering if moves like choking, slamming, punching, or tripping are acceptable in wrestling. 

Can You Choke, Slam, Punch, or Trip in Wrestling?

You are not allowed to choke, slam, punch, or trip in Olympic and Academic wrestling, although some variations of these moves may be used. Only moves like takedowns, escapes, reversals, and holds are allowed in wrestling.

Let’s get into some more details about these moves, like what they are and when they are banned in wrestling. 

What Is a Choke?

A choke is a move that is meant to restrict air or blood from moving through the opponent’s neck. Lack of air and blood flow is meant to weaken the opponent, but it can also cause a person to fall unconscious and even die if held long enough. 

Chokes can be a useful method of incapacitating your opponent, but they can also be very dangerous. Because restricting blood flow and air can cause loss of consciousness and even death, it is not recommended for use in sports like wrestling.

The idea of wrestling is not to completely incapacitate your opponent or risk injury but rather to pin them to the mat. 

Chokes are more common in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu rather than other disciplines. That’s because Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu focuses on incapacitating an opponent however possible.

On the other hand, wrestling is more about pinning and using energy bursts to get the upper hand, although certain types of wrestling are more lenient about chokeholds, like catch wrestling. However, in academic and Olympic styles, chokes are strictly not allowed. 

What Is a Slam in Wrestling? 

In wrestling, a slam is defined as picking up your opponent and putting them back down on the mat with excessive force. What constitutes excessive force is up to the discretion of the referee. 

Slams are difficult to predict in wrestling because they rely heavily on the judgment of the referee. The fact that slams are often a judgment call means it can be difficult to hold your opponent accountable if the referee doesn’t agree. 

Picking up your opponent and placing them back down on the mat is not illegal in wrestling. In fact, it is often encouraged to get the upper hand. What sets slams apart from basic takedowns is excessive force. Referees are trained to spot excessive force, even amid many takedowns. 

What Constitutes a Punch in Wrestling?

In wrestling, a punch is a closed-fist contact with your opponent’s body. This is not allowed in Olympic-style and academic wrestling and will get you in a lot of trouble. 

Punching in Olympic and academic wrestling is not allowed and will often get you in a lot of trouble. Most wrestlers who throw a closed-fist punch end up heavily penalized and yelled at by their coach.

Most of the time, wrestlers who throw a punch are looking at an immediate ejection. Remember, the goal of wrestling is to pin your opponent, not to harm them physically.  

This can be confusing for professional wrestling fans, as you see punches in WWE all the time. 

However, Olympic wrestling is not like professional wrestling in any way. There are no scripted parts of a real wrestling match. So, professional wrestlers can “punch” each other while not hurting their opponents. Olympic and academic wrestling do not allow punches. 

How Is Tripping Defined in Wrestling?

In wrestling, tripping is when you cause your opponent to lose their balance and fall. Not all tripping is illegal, but some variations are not allowed in wrestling. 

Tripping is such a broad term that it is hard to say it is completely illegal in wrestling. You can trip your opponent as long as they have a way to protect themselves when they fall. 

If they aren’t able to protect their body or they land on their head or butt, then that trip is illegal. Tripping in the form of a takedown is legal, but there is a fine line between a takedown and leaving your opponent unable to protect themselves. 

Anytime your opponent lands on their head, that is illegal unless you didn’t cause it. Avoid taking down your opponent in a way that causes them to be defenseless while coming to the ground. Tripping is completely illegal in Greco-Roman wrestling because wrestlers cannot use their legs to kick or take down their opponent. 

What Moves Are Allowed in Wrestling?

Many moves are allowed in wrestling, such as takedowns, escapes, reversals, and holds. While there are other moves allowed in wrestling, these are the most common. 

Takedowns are very common in wrestling. They are a great way to subdue your opponent and get the upper hand. There are different types of takedowns that are more common depending on the wrestling style, but overall, takedown is one of the most important parts of being a wrestler. 

Just like takedowns, escapes are also very important. Your opponent will try to control your body and get a pin. It is your job to not let that happen by escaping any holds before they get your shoulders to the mat. 

Reversals are vital moves in wrestling because they allow you to shift the favor to your side rather than your opponent’s. While they can be difficult to pull off, reversals can get your points and the upper hand during a match. 

Holds are an important part of breaking down your opponent’s energy. Forcing your opponent to break out of a hold can take away their energy, forcing them to be less explosive throughout the match. As you wear your opponent down and control their body, you gain a lot of advantage and momentum in a match. 

Although choking, slamming, punching, and tripping are all banned in Olympic and academic wrestling, some variations of these moves are allowed. Remember that the referee doesn’t always see everything. So, just because something doesn’t get called illegal doesn’t make it okay to do it. 

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