“It’s all wrestling”. That’s what a good friend, a Judo/Sambo coach told me a long time ago. Some of it is “jacket wrestling”; Judo, Jiu Jitsu, Sambo, Shuai Jiao… Some of it is without a jacket; Folkstyle, Freestyle, Greco-Roman. Some of it is standing and/or about pinning. Some of it has submission technique (Catch-as-catch-can). But it’s all wrestling…
I did Judo for a very short time as a child. I can’t say exactly why I didn’t go for it, maybe because I was a kid who had seen Bruce Lee movies and wanted to do flying side kicks? The picture of the late Pong Ki-Kim doing a flying side kick certainly got my attention when I started training with him. Of course, he also taught Hapkido, a Korean version of Jiu Jitsu, and that was the first wrestling/grappling I did seriously. I earned a second degree black belt in Hapkido.
While doing kung fu in NYC’s Chinatown, I stumbled upon Shihfu Jeng Hsin Ping and his Shuai Jiao classes. A number of his students had originally done Judo, we alternatd between working with the jackets and working without them. We also learned a lot of standing joint locks, seeing how Shuai Jiao had been associated with the Taiwan Police Academy for decades at that point.
My good friend and mentor, Mark “it’s all wrestling” Tripp, got be to focus once again on Judo, taught me some sambo, and introduced me to to western wrestling ideas. Of course, when the UFC started and the wrestlers started showing up, I became even more interested in western wrestling.
I got extremely lucky when I attended Team Quest’s first MMA camp. This was back when Randy Couture was still there, we learned also from Matt Lindland and Jiu Jitsu whiz Robert Folis. Folis even showed us some “rubber guard” (and back then I had no idea what he was talking about)!
I continue working western wrestling, again with a Greco-Roman flavor. I found it particularly well suited to blend with the Muay Thai clinch for MMA use. And, yeah, when you get down to it, Muay Thai’s clinch is also wrestling!!!
If you aren’t practicing wrestling and clinching, you are not learning to fight. And it is an ongoing activity. There is always something new to learn. There are variations upon variations.
Don’t forget your basics; push, pull, pop, pluck, drag, pound, snap, fake, pummel, hand fight, oh, the list just goes on and on….
NOW GO TRAIN