Opinion: The Singlet Controversy

Frank Gotch in a wrestling match against Georg Hackenshmidt September 4, 1911

The state of Nebraska made headlines for deciding to allow folkstyle wrestlers to wear “fight shorts” and “moisture wicking shirts.” The singlets that are currently worn seem to be a deterrent for potential students, therefore many young people choose to play other sports to avoid wearing a singlet. The controversy seems to be between people who are labeled wrestling “purists” and those who are more progressive and favor change. 

If the uniform is tight fitting so that wrestlers do not grab, or get tangled in clothing, then there is really no problem. Folkstyle descended from Catch Wrestling. An example of the competition uniform is shown above in the photograph of Frank Gotch wrestling Georg Hackenshmidt. A purist would probably prefer this outfit over the singlet if they know their history. The following two examples come from the collegiate wrestling archives of the University of Northern Iowa:

Collegiate wrestling in 1926 

1927 collegiate wrestling demonstration by wrestlers of Teachers College in Iowa

The Catch Wrestling Alliance allows rashguards and “fight shorts,” like vale tudo shorts as well as singlets. We have had no problems thus far. The majority of wrestlers seem to prefer the rashguard and shorts combo:

 As long as the sport of wrestling doesn’t change, we should be open minded about uniform change. 


Published by Raul Ramirez, L.Ac., Ph.D.

Physician, Catch Wrestler, Kickboxer, Vegan, Progressive

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