Author Topic: “Fixing” International Wrestling  (Read 3094 times)

Offline CoachPrebes

  • Junior High
  • Posts: 68
    • View Profile
    • St. Christopher's School Wrestling
“Fixing” International Wrestling
« on: March 22, 2011, 06:53:22 am »
I love the international styles of wrestling, more so Greco Roman than freestyle but I would rather wrestle freestyle than folk-style. I think the challenge of wrestling a style that does not allow the athlete to use, grab, hook, block the legs is incredible. And add in the idea of being able to lift your opponent off the ground and throw them through the air with a nice back arch- I was hooked! Over the years, the international wrestling federation- FILA has changed, watered down, and almost ruined international wrestling. In the spirit of trying to make the sport appealing to a wider audience, FILA constantly changed the rules of wrestling. The current rules are a shadow of what most of us grew up with and loved as athletes. Most of the current rules are good; the push out rule is excellent, but some areas need to be tweaked.

Let’s start with the match and period formats. I do not like the idea of the winner of an individual match being determined by winning two out of three two-minute periods. In essence, I can lose the match but have scored more match points. An example of this is: I win the first period 6-0, but lose the second and third periods 1-0, 1-0; I lose the match. Under the old rules, my hand is raised because I scored six points to my opponent’s two. Wrestling should go back to two three-minute periods with the points carrying over to in each period to determine the winner. The two period format does allow for a break in action at the end of the first period, but it keeps the flow of the match going. Additionally, the technical superiority period termination of six points, one five-point throw, or two three-point throws is not the fairest way to end the period. If I am ahead 6-1 and get thrown for two three point moves, I should only be down by one point, 7-6 instead of losing the period. If we go back to the two period matches, bring back a technical superiority bout termination of a ten, twelve, or fifteen point lead.

And matches should be contested in the neutral position for the entire period, unless a takedown is scored. After the takedown, wrestlers should have the usual time to try and score. If no scoring opportunity arises, the action needs to return to neutral. I didn’t like the chest to chest clinch when it was implemented in the event of a tie, and I am not too keen on the reverse lift lock at the end of each period in Greco. I understand why FILA put this rule in for Greco- to promote scoring. But freestyle has no similar end of the period unless the score is 0-0. Let’s use the current clinches to break 0-0 ties.

When FILA took out cautions and disqualification for passivity, they thought it would improve the pace of the match. The reality is, without any passivity cautions, a wrestler holding a lead can stall, and stall, and stall without being penalized. The only penalty that is used is “fleeing a hold” when one wrestler does not engage the other in any type of wrestling. FILA should return to the three cautions and you are out passivity scheme. Wrestlers who are stalling, failing to score, blocking, etc. need to be penalized for not wrestling! The officials will need to enforce the passivity rules; they must have the courage to push for passivity when a wrestler is clearly stalling.

When a wrestler earns a passivity caution, his opponent should have the choice to wrestle par terre or stay on their feet. If the wrestler chooses to wrestle in the par terre position, both wrestlers will be subject to the current “Attention!” and caution plus two points for false starts. If the top wrestler is the one who false starts twice, he will lose his par terre advantage and his opponent will have choice of starting position. This will reduce the amount of false starts and “Attention” calls we see today. Moreover, wrestlers must be encouraged to try and score; not get a lead and hang on.

Most of the rules FILA uses for scoring points are actually pretty good. With some minor tweaks, it can be improved. I like having the potential to score exponentially with a technique. In the old days, a wrestler would have to score a point from a different move in order to score a gut-wrench again. Today, wrestlers can continue through and score multiple gut-wrenches. I like this idea; it adds momentum to the top wrestler. If you are able to secure a good hold, keep it and score as many times as possible. FILA should also keep the one point for a five second “hold down” when a wrestler is in danger. Perhaps international wrestling should follow folk-style and allow the top man to earn more points by holding his opponent in danger for more than five seconds. This will add a little more excitement to the par terre position. The one area I would like to see changed with scoring under the current rules is the par terre sequence when wrestlers go out of bounds. I would like the top man to return to the top par terre position if the wrestlers go out of bounds. Come back to the center the same way you went out allows the top man more opportunity to score from the offensive position.

I don’t like the way FILA conducts their tournaments with the current “follow the finalist” brackets. Under the current rules, a wrestler can lose their first round match and be done if their opponent fails to reach the finals. That’s garbage and not fair. At least go to some sort of double elimination format: either the old school positive points system, or a traditional line bracket like we have in folkstyle. If athletes train year round for an opportunity to win a World medal, let’s give them the fairest possible way to earn that medal. If FILA is looking for a change to their format, here is an example:
1. Split up all of the wrestlers into four equal, double elimination, positive points bracket and wrestle each bracket to figure out the top three in each.
2. The winners of each bracket will meet and wrestle for the top four places, the second place finishers will wrestler for places 5-8 and those who place third in the preliminary brackets will wrestle for places 9-12.

FILA should also get rid of the two bronze medals awarded in tournaments. Why is there a need to award two bronze medals when the second bronze medalist has a much easier path in the repechage? Either make the repechage equitable and fair, or get rid of it completely. Follow the Olympic format of three medalists. Having two bronze medal winners seems to water down the idea of fighting for every top three placement in tournaments.

I would add weight classes back into competition, returning to the ten weights used prior to 2000. I was a lightweight when I competed, but my weight class has not been contested in years. There are plenty of small wrestlers around the world that cannot compete because they do not qualify for the lowest weight class. Wrestling should be an inclusive sport that gives opportunity to as many wrestlers possible. Less is not more under the current weight class format. If FILA is trying to promote wrestling to different areas of the world, it should appeal to all shapes and sizes.

Finally, I would allow officials to return to the all-white official’s uniform, instead of the current one of a blue blazer, gray pants, and yellow tie. I think it just looks silly for an official to run around a mat dressed in a sport coat and tie. Basketball and soccer officials do not wear coat and ties for their sport as they have to run up and down their field of play. It just does not make sense for wrestling officials to be dressed up so much.

These changes are fairly simple to implement for FILA. Changing the way tournaments are run and adding weight classes back to each style will cost a little more money when running a tournament, but the dividends will be worth it. Allowing more wrestlers to compete again will increase the interest in the sport worldwide and provide more opportunity for all shapes and sizes. The changes in periods and scoring will only boost wrestling’s reputation and improve the quality of its champions.

Offline Viratas

  • Get a Job
  • *
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • View Profile
    • http://theopenmat.com
Re: “Fixing” International Wrestling
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2011, 07:28:13 am »
I really like this Coach/

I will PM you later today, this all relates somewhat to what I am working on now.
Aequitas - Veritas (is Latin)
Cóir - Fírinne
Justice - Truth

"College has become a cruel, expensive joke on the poor and the middle class, that benefits only the perpetrator of it." - Peter Gregory

Offline CoachPrebes

  • Junior High
  • Posts: 68
    • View Profile
    • St. Christopher's School Wrestling
Re: “Fixing” International Wrestling
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2011, 08:27:35 am »
Sounds good...You can email me directly if you want. That may be a better choice as I am often away from my computer.

Offline Viratas

  • Get a Job
  • *
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • View Profile
    • http://theopenmat.com
Re: “Fixing” International Wrestling
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2011, 08:31:58 am »
Will do
Aequitas - Veritas (is Latin)
Cóir - Fírinne
Justice - Truth

"College has become a cruel, expensive joke on the poor and the middle class, that benefits only the perpetrator of it." - Peter Gregory

Offline Ray Brinzer

  • Ipse Dixit
  • Administrator
  • Get a Job
  • *****
  • Posts: 6917
    • View Profile
    • http://ray.brinzer.net/
Re: “Fixing” International Wrestling
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2011, 01:08:23 pm »
Howdy, Prebes.

I think one of the things that isn't well-known about the "new" rules is how much they're a product of requirements handed down from the IOC, for the sake of television.  My understanding is that they wanted:

  • Every match to end in a predictable time.
  • Points to be scored every match... not just at one point, but at various times throughout the match.
  • Matches to be decided on the points scored.

The other important thing is that FILA didn't get rid of passivity because they thought it would improve the pace; they got rid of it because they are unable to control the rampant corruption amongst international officials.  By restricting officiating to applying criteria to observable phenomena, they attempted (with considerable success, I think) to limit the officials' ability to dictate the outcome of matches.  I think most Americans don't understand the extent of the problem, and I'm generally grateful that the state of officiating here leaves people confused as to why getting rid of passivity seemed like a good idea.

Taking these issues together, the current rules make a lot more sense.  They guarantee that points will be scored every period, and that each period will last only so long.  By making it best of three periods, they avoid the problem of an irrelevant third period, where one athlete can exploit the absence of passivity calls to stall out a match, knowing that losing the period by a narrow margin is acceptable.  And the push-out rule solves the boundary problem in a way which can be reviewed on camera, and which contributes to the point-scoring objective.

Is the outcome good?  Eh... I'm not thrilled with it.  When you try to make wrestling serve arbitrary goals, you inevitably distort the sport (Judo, another sport I love, has suffered similar abuse).  But it appears we're bound to operate under such requirements.

The elimination of weights is also an IOC issue.  Athletes are an expense, and having more of them around than necessary is wasteful, from their perspective (which also explains the qualification system).  To the extent that wrestling can be sold, seven weights sell just as well as 12, and I think they'd be quite happy to sell four, rather than seven.  FILA could have kept the additional weights around for the world championships, and other tournaments besides the Olympics, and I blame them for not doing so.  Generally, though, the tournament which happens once each four years dictates terms to all the others.

The sport coats they copied from Judo, where they're traditional.  Actually, I think the Judo refs look very classy in them.  Wrestling refs... not so much.  Personally, I loved the white shirts with one red sleeve, and one blue sleeve, but then fashion is my life.  Most people are not ready to follow where my vision leads.

Mostly I've glossed over where I agree with you, because I'm an argumentative person.  But this deserves note:

Quote from: CoachPrebes
FILA should also keep the one point for a five second “hold down” when a wrestler is in danger. Perhaps international wrestling should follow folk-style and allow the top man to earn more points by holding his opponent in danger for more than five seconds.

If they gave out a point for every five seconds, it would tend to terminate periods when one person is on his back for a long time.  The prospect of ending the match would still provide an incentive to work for the fall, though, except in the third period.  I approve.

And this is entertaining:

Quote from: CoachPrebes
Most of the rules FILA uses for scoring points are actually pretty good. With some minor tweaks, it can be improved. I like having the potential to score exponentially with a technique. In the old days, a wrestler would have to score a point from a different move in order to score a gut-wrench again. Today, wrestlers can continue through and score multiple gut-wrenches. I like this idea; it adds momentum to the top wrestler.

Exponential scoring (which I'd actually considered in the past) would be interesting.  Say, one point for your first gut-wrench, then 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64...

Offline CoachPrebes

  • Junior High
  • Posts: 68
    • View Profile
    • St. Christopher's School Wrestling
Re: “Fixing” International Wrestling
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2011, 10:59:57 am »
Oh Ray...It's always a pleasure to hear from you!

Thanks for the explanation of the new rules and why they were added. I haven't been completely in the loop down here in Virginia. Freestyle and especially Greco are pretty much curse words to many coaches here. (insert southern drawl here)..."I don't want that freestyle crap messing up my kid's folkstyle rasslin!"

How are you enjoying Wisconsin? Will we see you in Fargo this summer? Is there any special I should be looking to work on with my kids this spring for Greco?

On another note- my parents moved back to State College and are officially retired. Utah State wore them down a bit. I don' think a lot of people took kindly to a Jewish professor teaching Buddhist Studies there...LOL!

Hope all is well!

Offline ViseGrip

  • LXP
  • Get a Job
  • *
  • Posts: 32574
    • View Profile
Re: “Fixing” International Wrestling
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2011, 12:11:43 am »
Quote
The other important thing is that FILA didn't get rid of passivity because they thought it would improve the pace; they got rid of it because they are unable to control the rampant corruption amongst international officials.  By restricting officiating to applying criteria to observable phenomena, they attempted (with considerable success, I think) to limit the officials' ability to dictate the outcome of matches.  I think most Americans don't understand the extent of the problem, and I'm generally grateful that the state of officiating here leaves people confused as to why getting rid of passivity seemed like a good idea.

I had never considered this but it makes good sense.

The best two of three periods makes less sense. Far less sense in my opinion.
"The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all that want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics" -Thomas Sowell