Is Pro Wrestling a Martial Art?

Published on 19 June 2023 at 23:36

Pro wrestling has been a popular form of entertainment for decades, captivating audiences with its dramatic storylines, colorful characters, and impressive physical feats. While some may view it as nothing more than scripted entertainment, there are those who argue that pro wrestling is a true martial art. In this article, we will explore the reasons why pro wrestling should be considered a martial art.


What is a martial art?


Before we dive into the argument that pro wrestling is a martial art, let's first define what a martial art is. A martial art is a system of combat practices that have been developed over time for various reasons, including self-defense, physical fitness, and competition. Martial arts can be categorized into different types, including striking arts, grappling arts, and weapons-based arts.


Pro wrestling as a grappling art


Pro wrestling is a form of entertainment that involves simulated combat between two or more performers. The goal is to entertain the audience with a combination of physical prowess, storytelling, and dramatic flair. Although the outcomes of matches are predetermined, the physicality of pro wrestling is very real. Performers train extensively to develop the strength, flexibility, and endurance needed to execute high-impact moves safely.


One of the primary elements of pro wrestling is grappling. Grappling involves using one's body to control and manipulate an opponent, often with the goal of forcing a submission or pin. Pro wrestlers use a variety of grappling techniques, including holds, throws, and takedowns, to gain an advantage over their opponents.


Many of the grappling techniques used in pro wrestling are also found in traditional martial arts. For example, pro wrestlers use techniques such as arm bars, leg locks, and chokes, which are common in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and other grappling arts. Wrestlers also use throws and takedowns, which are key elements of Judo and other martial arts.


Pro wrestling as a striking art


While grappling is a key component of pro wrestling, striking is also an important aspect of the sport. Pro wrestlers use a variety of strikes, including punches, kicks, and elbow strikes, to weaken their opponents and set up their signature moves.


While pro wrestling strikes may not be as realistic as those used in combat sports such as boxing or kickboxing, they are still a fundamental part of the sport. Performers train extensively in striking techniques and must be able to execute them safely and convincingly.


Pro wrestling as a performance art


In addition to its physical elements, pro wrestling is also a performance art. Performers use their bodies, facial expressions, and vocalizations to convey emotion and tell a story. The drama and spectacle of pro wrestling are what make it so entertaining and engaging for audiences.


While some may argue that the theatricality of pro wrestling detracts from its validity as a martial art, it could be argued that the performance aspect is what sets it apart from other combat sports. Pro wrestling is not just about who can inflict the most damage on their opponent; it's about telling a compelling story that keeps the audience on the edge of their seat.


Pro wrestling as a competitive art


While the outcomes of pro wrestling matches may be predetermined, the physicality of the sport and the skill of the performers should not be discounted. Pro wrestlers train extensively to develop the strength, endurance, and technical skills needed to perform at a high level.


In addition, pro wrestling does have a competitive element. While the outcomes of individual matches may be predetermined, performers must still compete against each other to determine who will hold championship titles and who will be relegated to lower-card matches.


Pro wrestling as a cultural art


Finally, it could be argued that pro wrestling is a cultural art. Pro wrestling has a rich history and has had a profound impact on popular culture. From Hulk Hogan to The Rock, pro wrestling has produced some of the most recognizable and iconic figures in entertainment history.


In addition, pro wrestling has had a significant impact on other forms of entertainment, including movies, television, and music. The spectacle and drama of pro wrestling have influenced everything from action movies to music videos.




In conclusion, there are many reasons why pro wrestling should be considered a martial art. It incorporates elements of grappling, striking, performance, competition, and culture, making it a unique and fascinating sport. While some may dismiss pro wrestling as nothing more than scripted entertainment, it requires a high degree of physical skill and technical ability to perform at a high level. Whether you view it as a martial art or simply as an entertaining spectacle, there's no denying that pro wrestling has had a profound impact on popular culture and will continue to captivate audiences for years to come.

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