Fending off a Wrestler

Suppose you’re sparring a wrestler. You know they are more skilled at the takedown and ground game than you are. They know it. No questions there. Suppose further that you know you’ve got the striking advantage and they know it as well.

The logical conclusion for you is that it would be best to keep things standing up, with their wrestler paws off of you. For them, the opposite is true. They’d prefer to take things to the clinch, find a better position from which to hang off of you where you are forced to carry their weight, and then drag you to the ground.

So now that we know the scenario, what is the plan? Well, there are an infinite number of plans possible, but let’s choose one: kick the legs and get ready to retreat and strike if your partner comes in to wrap you up.

I’m going to skim over the kicking the legs bit, because mostly what we focused on in class this week was retreating and striking but I will mention a couple of strategies to keep in mind. One: kick low. The lower you kick, the less likely you are to have your kicks caught and thus more likely to be able to keep moving and not get grabbed. Two: if possible, hammer the same spot over and over. The point of kicking the legs is to make the wrestler slower, so it’s harder for them to grab you. If you spread the damage around, it won’t slow them down as much.

I’m also going to gloss over the fact that you’ll need a sprawl and the ability to disengage from the clinch because no matter how much you want to avoid being grabbed, it’s probably going to happen eventually. So, yeah, learn those things… we’ll focus on those some other week.

As I mentioned before, we focused on two strikes: the retreating hook and the retreating uppercut. The goal is to step back  as your partner steps in and clip them. Then, even if you do hit them successfully, strike again and move.

Check out the video. Try the strikes. Let me know what other strategies or variations you come up with.

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