"Wrestlers are a sluggish set, and of dubious health. They sleep out their lives, and whenever they depart ever so little from their regular diet they fall seriously ill."
-Plato, Republic III
The sport of wrestling is one of the oldest and greatest sports. It most likely found its beginnings in prehistoric times as a means for survival and territorial rites. It is great because of the fact that it puts man against man or even man against beast, with only their cunning, strength, skill, and endurance to get them through the struggle. This great struggle called wrestling has been developed in many cultures or civilizations from ancient times to the present. Each different culture has developed its own styles and techniques.
Cultures that have been known for their development of the sport include those of Eastern Asia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and many others. The Greeks themselves seem to have acquired most of their influences from Egypt along the Nile River.
The sport of wrestling
has been highly developed for over five thousand years, and is
believed to have begun as part of the soldier's training. Proof of this lies on the walls of tombs in Beni Hasan in the form of
hieroglyphics that date back to about 2500 B.C. On these walls
there are about 220 depictions of wrestling pairs mixed in with
men shooting bows and arrows, which not only proves the age of
the sport, but also shows that wrestling found its beginnings
as a part of the soldier's regimen. The hieroglyphics on these
walls show virtually every wrestling hold practiced today. These
pictures show holds from both the standing and ground positions,
and the bout is over when both of one of the wrestlers' shoulders
are pinned to the ground. Sometime during this period the emphasis
turned from a military skill to a sport skill, and this
change of objective called for adaptation of technique. During
this time wrestling was undoubtedly developed simultaneously in
other cultures, like that of the ancient Greeks.