Wrestling and grappling sports have a long and complicated history, stretching into prehistoric times. Many traditional forms survive, grouped under the term folk wrestling. More formal systems have been codified in various forms of martial arts worldwide, where grappling techniques form a significant subset of unarmed fighting (complemented by striking techniques).
The modern history of wrestling begins with a rise of popularity in the 19th century, which led to the development of the modern sports of Greco-Roman wrestling on the European continent and of freestyle wrestling and collegiate wrestling in Great Britain and the United States, respectively. These sports enjoyed enormous popularity at the turning of the 20th century. In the 1920s, show wrestling as a form of sports entertainment, now known as professional wrestling, separated from competitive sport wrestling, now known as amateur wrestling.