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Intro Series: Wrestling

Wrestling coach to class: "Who has experience?"

Class: *all raise hands except the 40-year-old woman, Me

To my right you see my first experience with wrestling, aside from trying to roll with current and former high school wrestlers in BJJ class. I observed our first ever wrestling seminar and found it quite insightful. I could easily see how learning this discipline was good cross training for BJJ, and how many similarities there are between the two sports. I do regret not participating in this seminar but do not worry! I was dressed out and ready to go the following month.

The next month I stepped on the mats without hesitation. Mike is an excellent college wrestling coach, and a BJJ brown belt, so he is easily able to teach to his audience. Another group of 30+ adults gathered around to learn pummeling, arm drags, shooting, takedowns, sprawls and other wrestling basics that easily parlay into BJJ practice. Just take care to keep your head midline in those double leg takedowns, so you don't end up in a guillotine!!

In this lesson we began in a neutral position, with opponents facing each other and shoulders squared. (Get ready for me to drop some serious wrestling vocabulary on you!) We then moved to some basic pummeling. Stay with me now...I don't mean getting beaten to a bloody pulp. I would have lasted very long if that were the case. What I mean is a basic grappling drill, where while in a standing position we face our opponent and fight for under hooks. Position is key to both wrestling and BJJ. As my husband always tells me, "Underhooks save lives". I never get two good underhooks on him. (I'm the kid in the red shirt below.) It's a life goal.

I digress. Back to wrestling. Next, we worked on stance, weak leg forward. This allows for some power from your back leg when you launch yourself at your opponent. I like to think that I looked pretty cool doing my takedowns, but I suspect it was more like a baby giraffe trying to walk. C'est la vie. We also worked on level changes. Read squats with one leg forward. My quads were loving this. The key to level changes is you want to get lower than your opponent, to be able to shoot in. Shoot in is a technical way of saying launch yourself at your opponent in a controlled manner, with the goal of taking them to the ground.

Once we perfected our level changes and shooting-in we began to review single and double leg take downs, which aren't much different than those that we do in BJJ. We also worked on falling, as inevitably happens when one is being thrown to the round. Unfortunately, we didn't do much ground work as our time was nearing a close. I look forward to future sessions where I can learn more techniques that will help me to better perfect my BJJ game and learn how to defend against competitors who have previously wrestled.

I must say that I now understand the appeal of a sport that I never paid much attention to growing up, aside from the time Kristy was the first girl to join the Bay Side Wrestling Team on Saved By The Bell. I can clearly understand Kristy's drive to compete, as I have the same drive. Though these days that competition is with myself. Who knows what the future may bring though.


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