April 01, 2008
In last month's article I talked about the very basics of wrestling--the stance, penetration step, and some fundamental movements and defense. Now that you are armed with some kind of knowledge on how to set out on the path to wrestling stardom, we ought to explore some options in offense.
This month we will talk about set-ups, double-leg and single-leg takedowns, and some finishes. Once we get in on a shot we need a way to get our opponent to the mat. This comes in the form of a finish and there are all different kinds. This month we will be keeping things simple and only going over a few, but the important thing to keep in mind is that the more options you have with finishes (or completing the takedown) the better off you will be against an experienced opponent.
So let's get into set-ups, which come out of the handfighting that typically begins a match. A set-up is when I am trying to get my opponent out of position and make him vulnerable to my attack. This is the very first part of our takedown and you will see beginner wrestlers making the mistake of not using set-ups. Against experienced wrestlers it is important to get them off balance or out of position during our handfighting so that we can use set-ups to get past their lines of defense and into a successful shot.
As I mentioned last month, I think the best defense is effective and calculated offense. In order to score a takedown, you have to take calculated risks. There are tons of different moves out there to use as attacks and means of getting your opponent to the mat, but even the best wrestlers in the world often stick with the very basics--for example, the double- and single-leg. What the experienced wrestler does differently comes in the set-ups that precede the takedown itself, as well as in his or her ability to do what we call chain wrestling. (Those of you familiar with jiu-jitsu will recognize some similarities here.)