Martial Arts do - the long way of the fighting styles

Olympic Games

Modern Olympics Games

Held every four years since 1896 (excepting during the two World Wars), they include six following fighting styles:

  • Boxing has been practiced since the 1904 Olympic Games and for women since the 2012 Games. Not included in the 1912 Games in Stockholm, because at this time Swedish law forbade its practice.

  • Taekwondo was part of the Olympic Games in 1992 and 1996 as an exhibition sport. It debuted officially at the 2000 Games for men and women.

  • Judo is present since the 1964 Games (except for 1968) and since the 1992 Games for women.

  • Greco-Roman Wrestling is included as sport since the first Games in 1896.

  • Freestyle Wrestling has been an olympic sport since the 1904 Games. Women's freestyle was added in 2004.

  • Fencing has been part of the olympic program since the first Games in 1896 and for women since the 1924 Games.

To be considered olympic, a sport should be practiced by men in at least 75 countries and 4 continents and by women in at least 40 countries and 3 continents. Its admission is decided by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), seven years before the games in question.

Women don't compete in Greco-Roman.

Along with Boxing, Greco-Roman is one of only two sports that still require participants to have amateur status to participate in the Olympics.

Because Wrestling faces the concurrency of more popular fighting events, the IOC voted in 2013 to remove it from the 2020 Summer Olympics onwards, but has since reconsidered his decision.

The following athletes won 3 gold medals:

Teofilo Stevenson Laurence (Cuba) 1972, 1976 and 1980
Felix Savon Fabre (Cuba) 1992, 1996 and 2000
Lazlo Papp (Hungary) 1948, 1952 and 1956

Alexander Karelin (Soviet Union, Unified Team, then Russia) 1988, 1992 and 1996
Carl Westergren (Sweden) 1920, 1924 1932
Ivar Johansson (Sweden) 1932 (one in Wrestling, one in Free Style), 1936

Stevenson and Fabre could not compete in the 1984 and 1988 Games due to the Cuba boycott.

Paralympics Games

Held every four years since 1960.

Judo is included as a sport for the visually impaired (for men since the 1988 Paralympic Games and for women since the 2004 Games). The outputs of the mat do not affect the scores.

Wheelchair fencing has been part of the Paralympic program since 1960. To allow stability and freedom of movements of the upper body, the chairs are fastened to the ground.

Ancient Olympic Games

Held in Geece between 776 BC and 394 AD.

Three fighting styles were part of the competitions: Wrestling, Boxing and Pankration (combination of Boxing and Wrestling, equivalent to current Mixed Martial Arts).

There were no time limits, rounds or weight categories. It was however forbidden to bite or attack the eyes and genital regions. There were competitions reserved for boys and adults.

Wrestlers covered themselves with olive oil and powder to make grasps easier. Boxing competitors covered their hands, wrists and forearms with leather straps.

In Wrestling, to be considered winner, the opponent had to fall down three times. Boxing and Pankration fights ended when one of the opponents lost consciousness, raised his finger as a sign of desistance or even died. If a fight lasted too long in Boxing, the opponents had the option to practice the klymax : each man stood still and received some blows from the other.

Wrestling was part of the pentathlon, and was contested along with long jump, javelin throw, discus throw and stadion (a short foot race) over one day.

Famous athletes fighters were Polydamas of Skotoussa, Diagoras of Rhodes and Milon of Croton.

Pankratiasts fighting under the eyes of a trainer and an onlooker.
Pankratiasts fighting under the eyes of a trainer and an onlooker.
Photo: Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons

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