Greco News

BREAKING — It’s Official, Ordered Par Terre Is Back In 2018

Photo: John Sachs

After nearly a year of speculation, United World Wrestling has announced the 2018 ruleset for Greco-Roman and yes, ordered par terre is — officially — back.

While not surprising, this news comes following a year where Senior Greco-Roman competition consistently found itself in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Scoring was noticeably down across the board at virtually every major event, beginning with the 2016 Golden Grand Prix and culminating with the 2017 Paris World Championships, which incidentally, is also where UWW President Nenad Lalovic first announced (on the record) the global sanctioning body’s intention to re-implement ordered par terre into the curriculum.

Most recently, the US Greco-Roman community informally entered into the equation with an event held on domestic soil. The first-ever Midland Greco Exhibition Series took place last month in Fremont, Nebraska and was championed by UWW Category II/Nebraska head official Cody Goessl, who worked in concert with other top US officials in order to present (what were then referred to as) the “proposed” changes to the rule-set. This forward-thinking exercise on the part of Goessl provided US developmental wrestlers (and a few established Seniors) with a sneak peek at just what the new version of par terre was going to look like, although at that event, it was only enforced in four matches.

Here are the changes as they appear in the United World Wrestling 2018 rulebook according to each article with the exact language used by UWW. (Typos not ours.)

What You Need to Know About Ordered Par Terre (Article 45)

The initial position of wrestlers in parterre position before the referee blows the whistle is as follows: The bottom wrestler must lie on his stomach in the center of the mat. Arms shall be stretched out to the front and legs shall be stretched out to the back. Arms and/or legs can’t be crossed. Hands and feet of the bottom wrestler must touch the mat. Bottom wrestler is not allowed to block the top wrestler. The top wrestler is placed sideways of his opponent, placing both of his hands on the back of his opponent without any hesitation after the parterre position is ordered. He must have two knees on the mat.

After the referee blows the whistle, the wrestler underneath is allowed to defend himself according to the Rulebook. It’s especially forbidden to jump or flee from the attacker, to defend with closed arms or blocking off whit elbows and knees as well as to use actively any leg while defending. Nevertheless, the wrestler underneath is allowed to stand up after the referee has blown the whistle.

So, gone is the defending wrestler starting on all fours and instead, he/she will now begin flattened out on their stomach with the arms and legs outstretched. As for the top wrestler, the whole “placed sideways of his opponent” detail would seem to be a necessity given the nature of the position, though it will be interesting to observe how competitors attempt to find an edge as the rule matures.

Passivity Is the determining factor (Article 47)

Of course, with ordered par terre back in play, passivity is once again the mechanism officials will utilize to decide who goes down and when. But other than that, the updated passivity presents a stark contrast to how it was employed previously.

• 1st passivity in a match (regardless which wrestler), active wrestler receives 1 point and can choose between standing or parterre wrestling. 1st passivity of a match can’t be called before 2:00 minutes.
• 2nd passivity in a match (regardless which wrestler), active wrestler receives 1 point and can choose between standing or parterre wrestling. 2nd passivity of a match can’t be called before 4:30 minutes.
• 3rd and any further passivity in a match (regardless which wrestler), active wrestler receives 1 point without stopping the bout.

No longer will wrestlers be subject to holding their ground in the early stages of a bout as they wait to see who gets knocked first. 2:00 of wrestling without the passivity ding hanging over everyone’s head may very well allow for more organic action to develop, or it could just lead to the same pummel-happy stalemates that have unfortunately, become far too common at the highest reaches of the sport.

Due to the shortened bout duration for school boys and cadets, the passivity is called according to necessity. In case of 0-0 the 1st passivity must be called at 2:30 minutes at the latest.
There are three scenarios in which the refereeing team needs to stimulate a match with a passivity call:

a) Score is 0:0 after 2:00 minutes
b) Score is tied and one wrestler is clearly more active
c) One wrestler has the lead and his opponent acts too defensively

A wrestler who has scored points by executing holds in standing wrestling should not be punished with a passivity. However, if this wrestler is inactive for a certain amount of time and his opponent scored points or is clearly more active, he can receive a passivity.

Criteria to consider a wrestler as passive:

• Evading attacks without counterattacks.
• Grapping opponent wrists without starting an attack.
• Attacking without any direct contact with the opponent.
• Regaining initial position right after beginning an attack.
• Fake attacks.
• Evading into and maintaining in the orange zone.
• Not able to control the center.
• Fixing his opponent in the orange zone.
• No hooking despite good position.
• Defensive wrestling.

No more caution and two (Articles 49-53)

The biggest undercover change to the 2018 Greco-Roman rule-set perhaps revolves around the disappearance of the dreaded “caution and two”, which is now being replaced by the somewhat less ominously-sounding “caution and one.” The caution+1 is blanketing pretty much everything in the rulebook’s Chapter 9 for Prohibitions and Illegal Holds.


  • Fleeing the hold.
  • Fleeing the mat.
  • False starts in par terre.
  • Leg fouls.
  • All of the illegal holds noted in Article 51 previously.

We will be analyzing all of this further coming up soon along with providing direct insights from several top Senior athletes, so keep it right here!


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