1. #1

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    Wrestling in the UK

    I'm 27, based in South Wales (UK, not Oz) and considering joining a wrestling club.

    What has puzzled me is the generally low popularity of amateur wrestling in Britain. Historically, the UK has lots of folk wrestling styles, and yet traditional wrestling has such a sparse presence in the country nowadays.

    In contrast, the UK is teeming with first-rate boxing clubs. Even though boxing is no longer a part of the national school sports curriculum, the sport continues to thrive from the grassroots level to the international stage.

    One would think that, with such a proud wrestling heritage in many regions of the country, the sport would be more popular, like with the US and Eastern Europe.

    Could anyone shed some light on why boxing superseded wrestling as the UK's top combat sport? It's not like the country has no taste for grappling - BJJ is flourishing, and Judo has long been a popular martial art here.
    Last edited by arthurpint; 10/16/2018 6:54pm at . Reason: Grammar

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    hungryjoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurpint View Post
    I'm 27, based in South Wales (UK, not Oz) and considering joining a wrestling club.

    What has puzzled me is the generally low popularity of amateur wrestling in Britain. Historically, the UK has lots of folk wrestling styles, and yet traditional wrestling has such a sparse presence in the country nowadays.

    In contrast, the UK is teeming with first-rate boxing clubs. Even though boxing is no longer a part of the national school sports curriculum, the sport continues to thrive from the grassroots level to the international stage.

    One would think that, with such a proud wrestling heritage in many regions of the country, the sport would be more popular, like with the US and Eastern Europe.

    Could anyone shed some light on why boxing superseded wrestling as the UK's top combat sport? It's not like the country has no taste for grappling - BJJ is flourishing, and Judo has long been a popular martial art here.
    Wrestling here in the US usually starts at the youth level. If the UK doesn't have it as a school sport this may be in large part an answer to your question.

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    Raycetpfl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurpint View Post
    I'm 27, based in South Wales (UK, not Oz) and considering joining a wrestling club.

    What has puzzled me is the generally low popularity of amateur wrestling in Britain. Historically, the UK has lots of folk wrestling styles, and yet traditional wrestling has such a sparse presence in the country nowadays.

    In contrast, the UK is teeming with first-rate boxing clubs. Even though boxing is no longer a part of the national school sports curriculum, the sport continues to thrive from the grassroots level to the international stage.

    One would think that, with such a proud wrestling heritage in many regions of the country, the sport would be more popular, like with the US and Eastern Europe.

    Could anyone shed some light on why boxing superseded wrestling as the UK's top combat sport? It's not like the country has no taste for grappling - BJJ is flourishing, and Judo has long been a popular martial art here.
    You guys have Judo as your wrestling. Do you have judo in public schools? We dont.

    It's very regional here but your country is the size of one of our small states. If we didnt have all of our corn states,cali, florida and the tri-state area we would be low on wrestling too. Russia is the same way. Dagestan supplies most of all of Europes Olympic wrestlers damn near. It's small pockets out of huge land masses that supply all the wrestlers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raycetpfl View Post
    You guys have Judo as your wrestling. Do you have judo in public schools? We dont.

    It's very regional here but your country is the size of one of our small states. If we didnt have all of our corn states,cali, florida and the tri-state area we would be low on wrestling too. Russia is the same way. Dagestan supplies most of all of Europes Olympic wrestlers damn near. It's small pockets out of huge land masses that supply all the wrestlers.
    Ah I see. I was under the mistaken impression that wrestling was fairly consistent in participation and popularity throughout the US (wasn't sure about Eastern Europe). It didn't occur to me that, whatever regional variations the UK has regarding sporting engagement, the likes of the US and Russia would have on a far larger scale.

    As for Judo, we don't have it in public schools, but dojos and instructors are very easy to find. It's definitely one of the most popular martial arts/combat sports in the UK.
    Last edited by arthurpint; 10/16/2018 8:11pm at . Reason: Forgot to add something

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    Quote Originally Posted by hungryjoe View Post
    Wrestling here in the US usually starts at the youth level. If the UK doesn't have it as a school sport this may be in large part an answer to your question.
    It's true that wrestling isn't a school sport in the UK like in the US. But then boxing remains very popular, with reputable clubs spread far and wide here, despite also not being a school sport. The growth of MMA in Britain seems to have somewhat tailed off in recent years, but even then, it's easier to find an MMA club than a wrestling club here.

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    As far as i know some schools do have once or twice a week judo classes but it's always completely extra curricular. Quite a few universities have small judo clubs though but I think football (soccer) and rugby are the closest we get as schools often have teams that then feed into local clubs. Although my memory of how UK PE works may be out of date out of date.

    Judo was a selectable part if the syllabus for GCSE Physical Education but has been cut relatively recently.

    In terms of wrestling in the UK i think It's also regional but on a massively smaller scale. You'll find small dedicated communities but some of the arts (Cumberland & West Morland and Cornish in particular) are esoteric enough not to have much cross over and end up with small talent pools and allot of the Cornish guys are basically Judo guys.

    I have a good (for the UK) freestyle and Greco Roman wrestling club at my local y club but that is due to the coach and about half of the members being Iranian.
    Last edited by MJCromwell; 10/17/2018 4:36am at .

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    I wondered the same thing especially when I hear about these apparent "Celtic" and and folk styles, where are they? I think it has something to do with football.

    In the States it's wherever you find cornfields, you find wrestling. There's plenty of farmers here, so there should be more wrestlers to give these Polish savages some competition., or at least go in with them to start up some clubs. I'm glad we have a few at our BJJ academy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ulsteryank View Post
    I wondered the same thing especially when I hear about these apparent "Celtic" and and folk styles, where are they? I think it has something to do with football.

    In the States it's wherever you find cornfields, you find wrestling. There's plenty of farmers here, so there should be more wrestlers to give these Polish savages some competition., or at least go in with them to start up some clubs. I'm glad we have a few at our BJJ academy.
    I agree on the football although its very easy to blame football for allot of stuff.



    I do think the arrival of judo in the early 1900's was a contributing factor though. Watching old British pathe videos you can see what a stir judo caused at the time. E J Harrison published allot of books on both catch as catch can and Japanese Ju Jutsu and as far as i can by the age if the books he jumped from one to the other. This wild conjecture on my part though.

    I did find this quite interesting web site on Celtic styles though and that sheds a bit of light on the subject.

    http://www.clannada.org/culture_wrestling.html

    Just a warning that's a really old website.
    Last edited by MJCromwell; 10/17/2018 2:24pm at . Reason: Found a slightly better link

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