Sam’s Grappling Homework

Grappling Homework

Sam’s Grappling Homework

Although Sam gets a tremendous amount from his formal training at NJMA and during his wrestling practice, I try to do some training at home with him to reinforce the skills he learns, and to improve his overall conditioning.   The training we do at home serves the same purpose as homework that children receive from their teachers at school.   The only piece of equipment that I purchased for Sam was a wrestling mat for our basement, so he could do various drills, along with live wrestling with me.  Most of the ideas I’ve gotten have come from being a careful observer when Sam is training at NJMA, along with ideas I’ve acquired watching Sam’s wrestling practices.  I’ve also learned a great deal from, which is in my opinion the best source for online wrestling instruction.

Grappling Homework: How we start

We always start our at home workouts with a light jog around the wrestling mat, which is a 10’ by 20’ area.  The light jog takes about 4 minutes.  This is followed by duck walks across the mat, up and back around 10 times.  After this, Sam will do shadow wresting (learned from Chris Hughes) for 3 sets of 2 minute periods.  Our goal is for him to keep a good stance, while he moves in a circular motion.  We add sprawls and shots on verbal command.  Following this activity, Sam does elbow escape drills back and forth across the mat for 3 sets of 1 minute periods.

The next portion of our at home training consists of practicing a take downs to some sort of control to a finish.  Basically, I get into a wrestling stance, and allow Sam to take me down, and then he gets in some sort of dominant position (mount, side mount or back mount) and finishes me with a submission.  We always do 10 reps each side for this drill.

Grappling Homework: Drilling

Sometimes we add a drill I learned from a wrestling camp at Paulsboro over the summer, which is a push back into a wall from referee’s position, followed by a stand up with pressure against the wall and an explosive hip heist with the goal of creating as much space between the wall, and him as possible.  This drill has greatly improved Sam’s ability to move his hips, but it’s primarily useful for wrestling.

We also drill a lot of guillotine choke defenses, and rear choke defenses, all based on what he has already learned at NJMA.  Again, our goal is to simply reinforce what he’s already learned.  Additionally, Sam does a drill with me where I am in his guard and he swings his hips from side to side getting into an arm lock position from guard, as well as drills where he goes from arm lock to triangle, and sometimes back to an arm lock.  I am just working on getting Sam to effectively move his hips and attack basic submissions that he already learned.

Grappling Homework: Calisthenics

His strength workout is basic calisthenics, such as push ups, and holding himself at eye level on a pull up bar for time, since Sam is not yet able to do pull-ups.  Sam also does wall sits for time, usually 3 sets of 1 minute periods.  He also does neck bridges for the back of his neck, and he does a drill for the front of his neck where he tripods up on his forehead, and steps in circular motions in both a clockwise and counter clockwise motion, which is an essential skill for hitting many moves in wrestling where you’re trying to get a reversal.  I also want to ensure that Sam stays injury free, and based on my research, a strong neck is essential for anyone participating in any grappling art.

I have Sam stretch on a daily basis as well.  All of the stretches are based on what I’ve observed during the warm-ups that Chris Hughes does with the kids at NJMA, Delran.

Grappling Homework: Training with Sam

Sam usually will ask me when I’m going to train him, and I get the impression that the time we spend together helps create a father-and-son bond that Sam will never forget.  It also ensures that Sam gets the most of the formal training he receives from NJMA, and wrestling practice.


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