Are Suplexes Allowed In Folkstyle Wrestling?

Are Suplexes Allowed In Folkstyle Wrestling?

The suplex is a very well-known takedown in freestyle and Greco-roman wrestling. However, many people view the suplex as a dangerous takedown. For this reason, you might wonder if the suplex is allowed in folkstyle wrestling that is practiced in American high schools and Colleges. 

A suplex is not allowed in folkstyle wrestling because of the danger involved, notably broken or bruised necks, backs, and ribs. It also goes against folkstyle’s focus on controlling the opponent. Suplexing an opponent may disqualify you or be an automatic forfeit in the folkstyle world.

This article will discuss the traditional suplex method, what exactly makes it illegal in folkstyle wrestling, and what moves are allowed.

Why Is a Suplex Not Allowed in Folkstyle Wrestling?

First, let’s go into more detail about the suplex. A suplex involves picking your opponent up off the mat. Then, by using their body weight against them, you drive them into the mat, pinning their shoulders down with it.

With a suplex, the attacker goes down to the ground as well, but on their back. However, you’ll see variations of suplexes in freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling.

Nevertheless, whichever variation you go with, a suplex can be dangerous if you do not know what you are doing. For this reason, the suplex is not allowed in folkstyle wrestling. Originally folkstyle wrestling was adapted from older wrestling styles such as catch wrestling

However, catch wrestling is a brutal style of wrestling where a wrestler must win a match either by submission or pin. This was not something that the American people thought to be a good sport for the school-aged boys at the time. 

So naturally, they removed the submissions as well as the takedowns that were more likely to result in a serious injury. The suplex is one of the takedowns not allowed in folkstyle wrestling.

Is a Suplex Dangerous?

Ask any wrestler, pro, or amateur; they’ll tell you that being thrown with the strength of your body weight can cause long-lasting pain in different parts of your body.

By design, a suplex comes with an intent to hurt. If the system lines up right, and you slam a person down on the ground, or even a mat, at best, your opponent will experience bruising on their neck, ribs, and back.

But in worse cases, the person can suffer from concussions, collapsed vertebrae, or broken necks. Even a practice suplex can sometimes have devastating effects on opponents, especially if the move takes them by surprise.

And given that there are variants to suplexes if you or your opponent aren’t educated on how you should handle impact with a suplex, the chances you or your opponent face an injury or more go through the roof!

Of course, many would argue that suplexes are not that dangerous as long as both wrestlers know what they are doing. That said, most feel that suplexes are too dangerous for high school or college wrestling.  

Why Is a Suplex Allowed in Freestyle Wrestling?

As a rule, suplexes are allowed in both Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling. However, because of their dangerous nature, suplexes are subject to strict rules. As such, wrestlers learn how to do a suplex safely and effectively.

Getting into the correct position is crucial. You must not only hold your opponent in a firm grip, but you must also be in a position that keeps you injury-free too.

Remember, while you are using their body weight against them, you have to strengthen your muscles so you can withstand their dead weight. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, your hands firmly locked, and your stance strong. 

Tip To Protect Your Partner When Using a Suplex

When pulling the person off the ground, be careful not to throw or slam your opponent, but arch your back till their shoulder blades come down to the mat.

Then, roll carefully into a dominant position, making sure that your arms are still locked, and your shoulder muscles are not hiked up to your ears.

Suplexes are not easy for beginners or moderate-level wrestlers. Performing a suplex requires extensive training, strength, mobility, and discipline, not to mention flexibility.

Even for professional wrestlers, suplexes sometimes pose problems because you can’t be sure how the opponent’s weight and reaction to the suplex will affect you.

Freestyle wrestling allows suplexes as long as they remain within these rules. However since folkstyle wrestling is typically practiced in high schools and colleges, the suplex is considered too dangerous. 

Why Folkstyle Wrestling Is Strict About Suplexes

Folkstyle wrestling encourages its wrestlers to be careful with their maneuvers. Yes, your goal is to pin your opponent. But you receive points based on how you control your movement when scoring a takedown, not how ruthlessly you take a person down.

It’s not about action; it’s about exhibiting fine skills that keep your opponent from gaining the upper hand. The less harm you cause to them, the better.

There are legal throws and slams in folkstyle wrestling, but they’re a training focal point to ensure safety and offensive advantage. The other reason is simply what we have already talked about. 

That is folkstyle wrestling is typically only practiced in middle schools, high schools, and colleges. So naturally, when you are dealing with teachers and parents you can expect that folkstyle wrestling is safer than other forms of wrestling

Is a Slam Legal or Illegal in Folkstyle Wrestling?

Unfortunately, there’s somewhat of a grey area regarding slams because the referees can’t always be sure how the wrestler intended the move to go (for example, was it supposed to be a takedown?).

However, slams—and by that definition, suplexes—are illegal in all kinds of wrestling, including folkstyle wrestling.

While you may see slams and many illegal moves in wrestling matches on television (WWE), understand that those “matches” are entertainment-based performance theater. And the pros are highly trained to take the hits, and even then, you’ll find multiple reports of suplexes causing terrible injuries.

What Happens if You Suplex or Slam Someone in Folkstyle Wrestling?

Understandably, you may unintentionally pivot during a move and slam your opponent to the ground in the heat of the moment. There have been many cases where people suplex their opponents to the mat and realize a split-second later.

Nevertheless, in such conditions, there is no leeway. Whether it’s a practice match or a professional tournament, an illegal takedown or suplex could result in you being kicked off the team or disqualified from the tournament. You may also have to forfeit the match to your opponent if you perform an illegal move.

What Moves Are Illegal in Folkstyle Wrestling?

In addition to suplexes, several other moves are illegal in folkstyle and other forms and wrestling. For example:

  • Pinching and biting
  • Poking with nails, fingers, and toes
  • Fish hooking, i.e., hooking the mouth with a finger
  • Gouging
  • Any strikes with the fists, elbows, feet, hands, head, and knees
  • Joint locks like leg locks, arm locks, and other joint manipulation
  • Strangling and chokeholds
  • Spiking (a form of slamming in which the opponent is lifted and brought down to the mat, head-first)
  • Grasping the other person’s genitals
  • Grabbing another person’s clothing while wrestling
  • Full nelson
  • Figure four
  • Lifting the opponent during bridge position
  • Reverse leg ride

All of these moves can severely injure an opponent, and if poorly executed, they can hurt you too. That’s why any offensive maneuver that pushes or forces the wrestlers into dangerous territory is against the rules.

What Moves Are Allowed in Folkstyle Wrestling?

There are several moves allowed in folkstyle wrestling from a neutral position. Various takedowns, setups, and tie-ups are listed, along with the fireman’s carry.

You can also put your opponent in a legal headlock. But this action may be counter-intuitive since it will allow your opponent to push you forward and onto your back if they can gain that momentum. 

How you execute any of these moves depends on your training and style. You have to bring your opponent down to the ground without hurting yourself or them, and you must do it all while following the guidelines of the sport. 

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Final Thoughts

Suplexes are common in freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling. However, since most people who compete in folkstyle are in middle school, high school, or college, they have stricter rules on which takedowns are allowed. So naturally, suplexes are an illegal move in folkstyle wrestling. 

Every grappling sport has specific guidelines for suplexes and slams. Any illegal action or twist will lead to a disqualification, no matter how accomplished the wrestler is.

In any case, the one thing all wrestlers should remember is that any takedown can be dangerous for your opponent. Make sure you know the rules and how to execute each technique properly. 

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