T Nation

US Wrestling


Just thought I'd share a link.

Came across this while surfing the Underground.


Some interesting posts in there comparing folkstyle to free, recent rule changes in freestyle and judo, and on reasons the US isn't that dominant on the international stage despite it's wrestling program.

Also a few posts detailing the reason why folkstyle may be a superior rule set to train with in preparation for MMA (page 5 or 6).


Thanks for sorting out some underground gold.

That is a great thread- for people looking to learn how wrestling is set up here in the states.

Some things that stood out in that thread...

How freestyle vs Folk scoring and thus training is hurting the US wrestling future
how we are not subsidized as heavily as other countries and most US wrestlers
dont get past one oympic cycle

and that our culture- college wrestling leaves you too burned out to
compete further.

A good read for anyone who cares.

nice work thanks for the link.


Very interesting. Confirmed what I always thought was true. Countries like Russia and China have their athletes training practically from birth in not just wrestling but everything.


Thank you for posting that rundymc. Glad to see kmcnyc checked in as well.


That is a bit of a myth on the eastern block and china training since birth

they don't have things like little league or t ball or american pee wee football
or basket ball that little kids play here, take that out of the equation and that is how it works.

they have (soccer) footie , gymnastics, and yes things like judo and wrestling.

most of the former USSR has local centers in most towns that are big enough to support them.
the are abysmal facilities but they are pretty much available to anyone - adults children etc
kids play their sports there, and if they are good and show interest as they get older

they are offered the opportunities to train with better kids , better coaches, etc.
Its competitive to the parents who care.

China is a different beast altogether- for they want to be like America, but for things like olympics-
they only concentrate on the sports that they feel like they can compete if not win.

SO in china they wont fund any sports like ice hockey, and they spend allot of time and money on
programs they can win like weightlifting , or gymnastics

The deal with folk vs greco or freestyle is that in college you get riding time,

you score a take down then spend as much time as possible riding your opponent-
if you cant score an immediate fall-
you ride out the clock with various ways to get both back points and riding time for control

that does not exist in freestyle or greco.

In both freestyle and greco- you score take downs, and very little time is spent on the ground.

even in the Par tier (down) postion it is only a few seconds before you are stood back up.

gone are huge 1 to 1 or zero to zero college style long long matches
you can win in 1 period in most international style rules.

its a different mentality here- US and the rest of the world in wrestling.


@Interesting, so that's how it works. Always imagined the russian system to be more like China's, recruiting them when they're young, weeding out the ones that lose interest or aren't gifted enough.

Couple of questions on this stuff:

Which style (folk/free) do you prefer as a spectator?

What style do you think translates better as a base for MMA? The mat work in folkstyle or the emphasis on standing wrestling in free?


Folk and Greco. Greco translates very well with MMA, as it's low risk, high reward as far as clinchwork and takedowns go. Folkstyle, you have the groundwork that carries over enormously. That's why those two styles are typically the bigger draws in the US. I am slightly biased as well, as I competed in those styles. Especially Greco.



Like Beast - I might be biased cause that is what I competed in too- and yes I am fond of greco.

Beast is much closer to it as he actively competes.

folk is all about the base- when you here how ' he has a great base' or great hips this is what they are talking about- scrambles , how people come out on top, and really the top control
aside from the work ethic etc its about just having great control

A good exacmple of this was Prime Hughes, or more recently Sonnen who does not 'ride legs' or ever use hooks
but does have a very smothering top control.
Or even though I dont think much of him- Lesnar.
Has some sever top control- and knows how to use his every inch and pound fully

Greco can make you great in the clinch - but I feel top level Judo might be as good, because of how efficient or deadly it can be side by side.
Beast is right its a very good ratio of risk and sucess
with greco clinching and take downs I think the potential to take damage is less

I Met Josh Barnett like a month ago you can peep that thread, and we talked allot about wrestling,
and he confirmed for me, MMA takes downs people stick to the basics cause they work,
he cited Randy Couture - who has a full arsenal of straight wrestling abilities
and a wide library of video to see in his fights.

yet has only taken people down via inside trip, and a double.
( excluding Gozonga)

We are not set up to coach Greco in the US- the armed forces teams have good programs for Greco
I fell into as my first college coach was a very successful Greco guy - worlds etc-
and his little patch of Upstate NY and Michigan are kind of it for Greco in the states,
maybe a few places out west- colorado and Oregon had decent clubs.


Wow cool, thanks guys.


The Army team, which I trained with, has a sick Greco program. The coach, Shon Lewis, is the devil.

As for high-level Judo...I HATE Judokas, as they give me fits!! LOL. I put them right alongside, if not higher than Greco folks. I wish I could get into it more...add it to my repertoire.


Here's another one that popped up on the front page:


Lot's of interesting moves, especially the 3 vids entitled "Russian Wrestling". Very good discussion on the 7th page about Judo and the recent rule changes.


Yeah, I just got into Judo after a HS wrestling career. The no pant grabbing rule added in Judo removed most of my arsenal, but it does force me to think more, and consider all of the moves available. The Mongolian guy just dominated the Japanese stars in the Olympics and world championships, and so the rules were changed to enforce a more traditional style, with less emphasis on a brawler's strength and more on the techniques. While I don't like it, I can see why it was done.

Also, thanks for that link. Those Russian Wrestling Videos are awesome for the clinch game.


Right, despite being a BJJ player, I have next to no knowledge of Judo as a sport, so bear with me here. How much of an issue was the whole pant grabbing thing? I'll have to watch Naidan (that's his name if I recall) matches, but I picture a guy going for singles off the clinch. As an American player do you consider leg attacks 'cheap'?

And yeah, I'll be trying out some of those throws... well trying not to hurt myself while doing them, lol.


In my opinion, which may not mean much, is that the biggest difference as to why the US does not fair as well is because wrestlers are not treated as pro athletes (This was mentioned in the link to the forum posted). The US will dominate any nation in football because of how football is treated in the US, not just the athletes. Every boy wrestles or at least tries to wrestle in the Eastern Block on Europe. Heck, even my priest has wrestled before for an extended time back in school. Although Ukraine is not as dominant as Russia, it is similar to the culture.


I like how this thread is going...

the pant grabbing is an issue in that its not pretty Judo,
we talked about this before here.

It is a big deal in that it eliminates like 3 maybe more really good attacks,
attacks that mos Judo players are not expecting.

More traditional Judo is frowning on things that are 'too easy'
and placing more emphasis on throws that are both harder to execute
and more rewarding to fans judges or people watching.

As for the pro sports debate its a few things.
when you leave college in the states you need a job.
right away.
those jobs in wrestling are far and few in between
and the programs are run like a non for profit club.
Lastly there where a TON of better wrestlers then me in HS, and in college that number tripled at least.
I just out lasted them
Its too hard to keep doing this , for most, past the early 20's

think of the phrase Gable trained.
its a catch phrase suggesting how hard your room worked.
most of those uber stars, never make it past college.
too burned out.


I really don't see them as cheap, quite possibly because I came from a folkstyle wrestling background, where the emphasis was more on getting the opponent to the ground and keeping them there rather than putting on a show of getting the guy to the ground.

The double leg, or in judo, Morote Gari, is probably the easiest one to pull off from a clinch. Its essentially a football tackle; suck in the opponent's hips, lift them, and drive them back and down.

And it really is hard on the body. I'm 19, and I feel slower and creakier than when I did in HS. The hard dieting and cutting that wrestlers go through can fuck up your body for the rest of your life. I believe Kmcync has had problems gaining body mass even as an adult. He'll pop in with better information on this.


I can vouch for this as well. From the training, to the cutting, to the competition, you really do take a beating. Then after college, you have to find employment. No other way around it, as wrestling does not pay the bills. Even with sponsorship, you've gotta supplement it with a job. So, you have the training, cutting, competing, and now a full-time job to deal with.

As for the weight-cutting issue you describe in regards to kmc...I would have to ask questions on that because I find it difficult to believe weight-cutting played that big of a role in his difficulties.

I am digging this thread, though.


Im glad I'm so popular... and yes this thread is good.

my 'difficulties' I like that-

are mostly time and injuries taking a toll
crap shoulders, jacked up neck - tight hips and one weak ankle, tendonitis, touchy elbows,
and some really bad concussions that kept reappearing over and over again.

and like most people I taped up iced said fuck it and trained and competed when I shouldn't have
It does not turn off.
it was kind of a mantra ice it tape it fuck it.

Part of that was that I had some D1 scholarships- that I needed to fufill
and Im as hard headed as anyone else, tell an athlete or aspiring athlete they cant and watch what happens.

when I got to the international level I would damned if I wasn't going to compete-
no matter what.

sounds bad but I think its kind of normal for someone trying to compete
for I guess what is a long time.

My neck is clearly the worst thing- and prevents me from any more rolling Judo BJJ etc
as recent as early last year I was able to play 2x a month maybe less.

Right now I have been seeing a different Chiropractor , whom I got from NYAC
some ART some Huge ass shots of crap in my neck and things are looking a little better.

I have something like 3 discs that are fused- and bulging yay.

On cutting - I have some residual problems
but lets specify that I competed at 130 and under and at 54 and 58 kg later on.
I prob cut 6 to 12 lbs in colege twice a week
just how it worked out for me.
part of that was wanting to start.
and wanting to compete- I thought that was the point.

in that I never went through puberty or needed to shave
til say 22 or 23.
My voice never changed and at 39 I still look very young.
Im just 5.6.

I grew maybe 3 or 4 inches in height after college wrestling- so clearly I was not eating enough.
had some internal damage - liver and kidney - from being dehydrated
those have long cleared up.
And from years and years of roadwork- I have some jacked up feet.

Concussions I think are part to being dehydrated.

I dont talk about it much but I stopped drinking at 26 so I was drinking allot through college.
could have as much to do with it as well ( post season)

as for not holding body mass, I have to eat all day to crack 185 right now Im
'big' for me at 186 in gym clothes

I could get bigger if I truly wanted that, say 200
but I would be afraid to carry too much fat for me-
and would loose what ever athleticism I might still have :slight_smile:

for perspective in the weight room mid 2010
I squatted 405
snatch grip dead was 425 for a double
OH squatted 185x5
pullups bw + 90 x 5 stuff like that.

yet things like bench and OH press are not even close I benched 265 for a single in september

recently in the weight room- cause that's all I can do now-
as in last few weeks

I front squatted 285 OH pressed 175 pulled 405 for a bunch of reps it was 6 reps.
that is after a 5 or 6 month lay off

that lay off was part injuries healing and having a kid moving etc.

so- my activities are low in the strength world - average in a gym.

One thing I welcomed with Judo was the gi-
you can hid so much tape wraps etc with a gi on.
it really sucked wearing an ankle brace being taped to shit in practice,
and then competing without
worse was hobbling to the scale and hoping that people did not notice. :slight_smile:

Ok enough about me...

Beast whats good with you


Damn... I've nothing but respect for you after reading all of that. I didn't know of your creds, so color me impressed. I am one of the lucky ones who left the wrestling world unscathed. No cauliflower ear, no joint issues... I look back on it and can't help but laugh. My lingering injury comes from high school football. A couple of discs in my neck aren't sitting right, so all it would take is one more big hit and it'd break. Funny that I looked at wrestling as the "safer" alternative.

Going over what you detailed, I have to eat a bit of crow. Wouldn't be the first time.


Its cool- thanks for the props
you seem to have had the better career :slight_smile:
I like your path, no crow necessary at all.

I laugh too, My ears are still good, really it's just my neck.
the other stuff isn't so bad at all- chalk it up to age.

I really laugh for all this I still had a crap record.

I think I trained that much and that hard cause I wasn't as good
and I had to do more to stay competitive and at that time that is what was expected.

and let me clarify a few things all the international stuff

was club level and I was a training partner for a while.
that was the 'peak' I did a little stint at the OTC
again just as a body fresh meat.
I won a greco tournamentand later got to be someone's
good training partner for a little bit but not
the 'training partner' that is like a titled position
and basically you are number two.
not the case with me- must a local training partner
when this guy was home vs at official camps-upstate NY.

the training partner gig lets you travel
compete in some matches get in on the bottom of tournaments
without any seeding.
usually you are the kid getting rag dolled

what ever scholarships I had , not a full ride but it helped
more like free sneakers , books and a hoodie.

There is a good program in NYC called beat the streets
its wrestling for urban kids.
Its a good thing they do ok I think that is what I think needs to happen
make wrestling an urban sport, and let it it get the exposure it needs
to move forward