Home | FILC | CELTIC WRESTLING BOOK WMA CORNISH BRETON GRAPPLING | 2006 international championships | Backhold Rules & Weight Classes | Gouren USA | Where we will be | Photo Album | Contact Us

Celtic Wrestling

Backhold Rules & Weight Classes



Every fall shall be decided by two Judges and a Referee, or by special permission applied for and granted by the General Secretary, by a Referee only. 

The Referee shall be appealed to if the Judges disagree and his decision shall be final, and further he shall be empowered to decide any point not provided in these rules.

On taking hold the wrestlers stand up chest to chest,  each placing his chin on his opponent's right shoulder and grasping him round the body, each placing his left arm above the right arm of his opponent.

Thirty seconds shall be allowed in which to take hold.

After the first fall the referee is empowered to stop the bout at any point if in his opinion a wrestler or both wrestlers are not serious in their attempt to take hold.

The time clock shall be started when the wrestlers shake hands.

In the event of the hold not being obtained, the Referee shall compel the contestants to take hold across a back. The wrestler refusing to take hold shall be disqualified.

When both men have got hold and are fairly on their guard the referee shall call "hold" and the wrestling will commence, with the exception of kicking, the wrestlers are allowed to use every legitimate means to throw each other.  To strike with the side of  the foot shall not be deemed kicking.

If either party breaks his hold, that is, loose his grip, though not on the ground, and the other still retains his hold, the one leaving loose shall be declared the loser.

Deliberately striking at an opponents hands in looseholds to open them is not permitted and if successful is not considered a fall.

If either man touches the ground with one knee only or other part of his body, though he may still retain his hold, he shall not be allowed to recover himself but shall be deemed the loser.

If both fall to the ground, the man who is first down or falls under the other shall be the loser, but if they fall side by side or otherwise so that the Officials cannot decide which was first on the ground, it shall be  termed a "dog fall" and shall be wrestled over again.

The wrestlers shall compete in their stockinged feet or by permission of the referee on barefeet.

Wearing of sweaters is forbidden.

Only one upper garment is permitted which should be sleeveless.

A fall is defined as touching the ground with any part of the person, the feet excepted.

The referee shall disqualify any wrestler using unfair means who has been twice previously cautioned.


The competition area when indoors shall be a mat of 12m diameter or 12m x 12m square, the outer two metres shall be the protection area, a further one metre warning area shall be marked in red     

The warning area is provided for the purpose of revealing the passive wrestler, of doing away with systematic wrestling on the edge of the mat, as well as thoughtless departures from the wrestling area.

If wrestlers stop their action in the warning area and stay there without any action, the referee will interrupt the bout and return the wrestlers to the centre of the mat, without prejudice to the application of the rules on passivity.

In all cases when there is one foot outside the wrestling area the referee will stop the bout.


When a wrestler refuses to attempt to wrestle.

When a wrestler deliberately pushes his opponent off the mat

When a wrestler backs off the mat.

When a wrestler deliberately backs towards the edge of the mat and continues to wrestle with his back towards the edge of the mat.


A wrestler who flees the mat to evade a hold will have a fall awarded against him and receive a warning.

Wrestlers will be disqualified for passivity after receiving three warnings.

Disqualifications and warnings must be by a majority vote of the three officials.

Competitions may be decided by the "Round Robin" system where there are five or fewer wrestlers in a weight category.

Where two wrestlers in a Round Robin have won the same number of bouts, the higher  placing will be given to the wrestler who won the bout involving both wrestlers.

When three or more wrestlers in a Round Robin have won the same number of bouts they must then wrestle again for one fall only (sudden death) to decide placings.

Competitions may be decided by the pool system when there are six or more wrestlers in a weight category.

There must be a cross over repechage system i.e., the winner of pool A wrestles the second of pool B and the winner of pool B wrestles the second of pool A, these are the semi finals.

All bouts shall be best of five falls

In certain circumstances it may not be practical to wrestle every bout best of five.  In these circumstances the match officials are empowered to change to the best of three with the following exceptions.

All finals and semi-finals must be best of five.

In all such cases the officer in charge must consult the other officials and if necessary call a vote.


Copyright 2000 - 2009 Scottish Wrestling Bond