Controlling the Tie by J’Den Cox
Knowing how to engage your opponent is necessary for winning a wrestling match. While there are takedowns that require minimal contact, such as the John Smith low single, the majority of your time in the standing position will be spent on tying up with your opponent. By contrast, if you are facing someone who is actively engaging, your time will be focused on defending the tie and negating any takedowns that they present. In order to engage and properly defend in standing, you must know how to control the ties.
Having a tie-up situation is more than just making contact with your opponent. To further elaborate on this concept, three-time NCAA champion and 2018 World Gold Medalist J’Den Cox explains how to control the tie in the video below.
Posting on the Head
In order to engage with your opponent, you must consider distance management. Reaching out too far exposes your arms for drags or blast doubles, so you have to be cognizant of your arm span. Cox starts out his ties by posting his far-side hand (opposite of his lead leg) on his partner’s head, which causes them to peel it off. He then uses their wrist grab to work on establishing inside control. By posting on the head, Cox is doing two things. First, he is actively gauging the distance between himself and his opponent, especially with his far-side hand. Second, he is chaining this together to work towards a dominant position. In other words, he’s not being stagnant in one place. Every movement here is purposeful.
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Hand in the Elbow
Once Cox works to a collar tie, he still has use of his other hand. The strategic thing to do would be to establish an inside tie so that you have levers and angles to work with. Cox does this, but with a twist: he places his hand inside the crook of his partner’s elbow. As he explains, this can also be a form of distance management and forces the opponent to move against the pressure. He also keeps his thumb on the inside when he ties up, making it more difficult for the opponent to simply limp arm out. It establishes his inside control, which he explains makes it easier to attack more.
Snap Off Their Ties
Looking at it from a defensive perspective, you are at the mercy of your opponent’s movement if they establish inside control. The longer you stay in that position, the harder it is to navigate out or work against any impending takedowns. Cox’s solution is simple but effective: snap off their inside ties. Once his partner reaches for a collar tie and inside tie, he snaps their head and arm away and circles away. Engagement should be on your terms, not your opponent’s. By circling away, you can reset your position and engage with your own set-ups. Better yet, you can use that separation to your advantage. After they tie up and you snap their ties away, you can shoot for an outside single depending on their stance. This makes the situation less reactive and more proactive.
Controlling your opponent requires engagement. By knowing how to properly judge the distance with a simple head post, keeping an inside position at their elbow, and minimizing your time in their ties, you can take charge of the match at your leisure. J’Den Cox’s techniques in the video above highlight a very important premise for the standing position: knowing how to control the tie in a time-effective manner.
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