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Tactics of SAMBO Wrestling

Chapter 2


1. Gripping as a Part of Offense

Effortless and fluid gripping of the opponent contributes to strong offense and plays a crucial role in both standing wrestling and ground wrestling (mat work or "par terre").

Grips as a Part of Offensive Ground Wrestling

Grips and holds in ground wrestling strikingly serve to bolster the SAMBist's offense. Ploys that cause pain to the adversary are acceptable because they immediately sap the opponent's stamina and determination. Holds for ground techniques also are designed and structured around ploys to be used on the opponent. Poor choices when implemented, may turn the advantage back to the opponent and force the SAMBist into a purely defensive position from which he cannot attack. SAMBO ground wrestling tactics are based on anticipating the opponent's methods and mannerisms.

Surprise, unanticipated grips and holds may be defensive ploys too but they are productive outside of the realm of defense for they contribute to the SAMBist's offense.

Gripping techniques are best used suddenly and by surprise if possible. Grip the opponent immediately in the fight right after the referee blows the whistle and immediately after a break in the action throughout the entire match. For instance, as the adversary approaches, apply a burst of speed to implement a high double leg takedown. Another option is to seize the opponent's kurtka with one hand. Then use a variety of leg attacks from the outside while noting how the adversary reacts. All ploys should adapt to the opponent being fought. If the opponent draws back, attempt to move behind him and trip him to the mat. If the adversary extends forward, grab onto his arm and execute a rolling scissors technique.

Often, surprise holds derive from firm, secure grips where one fighter's arm or hand grabs the other fighter's arm or hand to guide him into a ploy that sets up a technique.

To consistently attain sudden, surprise holds on an adversary's arm, immediately act to tie-up with the opponent at the very onset of the match by taking hold of the back of one of his arms with both of your hands (Russian Tie-up). If both SAMBists attempt this same ploy, then each fighter must continue to work various ploys while actively working to wrest his own arm from the adversary's grips. To fluently and easily deceive the opponent with excellent gripping skills requires preparation and training. For instance, a left hand hold on a right-handed opponent's right arm, generates many possible deceptive movements. Seek to actively confuse the opponent about your offense. This requires many attempted holds and grips against the opponent's feet and legs. At the proper moment, take a right-handed grip that drives your right arm around your opponent's neck and implement a technique to throw him across your back. He was confused by holds that advanced a right hand grip to his left sleeve while your left hand was able to execute many deceptive motions to scare and confuse him from attempting his own active holds for offense. When the opponent was off balanced, he was finished off. From the onset, he was set-up to over extend him. Another surprise left-handed grip attacks the opponent's left leg from the outside that the SAMBist was behind from the beginning.

Coming to grips with the opponent should come conveniently out of the basic defensive grips made possible by immediately conceiving and implementing tactical ploys which set up the techniques to finish off the adversary. Note the following two facets of coming to grips:

Feigned Holds-- are those where a good SAMBist gains an advantage by appearing either injured or otherwise open to attack or too well protected from attack, so that it improperly focuses the opponent's attention to hurt his offense by drawing him into a lapse in his defensive schemes or by causing him to hesitate in implementing his own offensive ploys.

Feigned holds are expedient ploys to set up the basic groundwork to execute techniques needed to win. The SAMBist must select the ploy and lead the opponent into it, so that the opponent fears a danger to his position and reacts in what he believes is a strong defensive measure that afterwards turns out to be his undoing.

Feigned holds must be approached with common sense to develop the ploy best suited for the scenario. For example, if the opponent attempts a hip throw across his left hip, the SAMBist may use his right collar grip to push back against the opponent's chest while his left hand maintains control of the opponent's right sleeve. At the optimum moment in the counter technique, the SAMBist can step back in front of his opponent and sweep his opponent's leg with his own right leg.

For conducting and emphasizing a ploy one need not only to use various grips and holds but a variety of methods as well to accomplish the ploy to finishing technique. The variety of prepared ploys allows a variety of holds that surprise and distract the opponent's attention from his fight.

Consider next what new holds and methods are implemented efficiently to support the basic ploys that each SAMBist uses based on long and thorough training. Without these preparations, their ploys may not work in the determined match.

Wrestling Holds Leading to Ground Attack

Part of the offensive grips and tie-ups for ground wrestling begins, with the advantages taken with the ploys and grips started during the standing portion of the match. The attack carries on from standing to the ground to develop the control and domination for the groundwork. Here, the SAMBist must discern the grips needed for the attack to tighten up the ground attack.

Universal necessity dictates conducting the tactical grips that disguise the attack, so that the element of surprise contributes to finishing off the opponent. The opponent must be distracted to divert his attention from the points of attack and to steer him unknowingly into the technique.

Below are the examples of offensive grips for ground wrestling.

The opponent is lying on his back while you are on your knees beside his right flank. He is fending off your attempted submission hold by planting the shin of his bent near leg in your chest to block your attack. If you want to secure a cross body arm lock, use your left hand to grip his uniform sleeve above his elbow. This grip will not distract him from his defense. That is why you must induce him to break off his defensive hold by feigning an attack to his near leg with your right hand. Forget about your original hold until the opponent begins to release his hold on you. When the adversary is distracted sufficiently, swing your left leg over his head to attack his neck and sit on your left buttock. You may now release your leg attack as the grip is no longer needed. Swing your right leg over the opponent's chest and use your right hand to grip his wrist. After this, maneuver his arm to over extend his elbow between your legs (Fig 1).

Fig 1- The distraction grip on the opponent's leg sets up the cross body arm lock.

Your opponent was beneath you and tried to hold you back from his side with his bent leg between your bodies. In this case, you attempted your distraction hold with your right arm feigning a right ankle hold while your left hand gripped beneath the opponent's near sleeve. You moved to prop your right shin against his chest. From this situation, you drew him into the transition for your attack.

Quickly attack the opponent's arm with your left forearm. If the movement is set-up properly and not overly elaborate in design, the opponent cannot challenge your hold on his arm. Plant your opponent's arm by your chin and quickly force your right shin to the opponent's far side and place your left foot on the other side of the adversary's head. Your left arm's grip is aided in keeping his arm hostage by the pressure exerted by your right calf being scissored to your left shin to press against the far side of his chest. Using great force, simultaneously attack his arm while pressing the opponent with your legs by lying him down on his left side and using your left forearm to submit the opponent. His elbow is over extended thanks to the fluent finish caused by the combination of your arms augmented by your legs.

Breaking through the Opponet's Defensive Holds