Funky Wrestling With Ben Askren
Ben Askren is one of the most successful college wrestlers of all time. During his wrestling career at the University of Missouri, he was a two time runner up and a two time NCAA champion. After college, Akren went on to wrestling in the Olympics.
Askren is known for his “funky” style of wrestling that is unorthodox and relies heavily on scrambling techniques that he has developed over the years. Now, just because he likes to put his opponents in scramble situations doesn’t mean he isn’t a technical wrestler. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Over the course of his wrestling career, Askren has turned what a lot of people used to think of as sloppy wrestling into highly effective technical moves that are now used regularly in wrestling. The way Askren wrestled has played a huge part in the development of many of the common scramble techniques we now see on a regular basis.
Here are some of Akren’s techniques he used during his wrestling career.
Sitting The Corner
A very common takedown in wrestling is a high crotch. Traditionally, to defend a high crotch, a wrestler will stuff the head down and sprawl, but a different way to defend a high crotch is by sitting the corner.
Sitting the corner is a great way to neutralize your opponent after they shoot a high crotch for a couple of reasons. First, when you sit the corner, your opponent can no longer transition to a single leg or double leg. Also, it takes away the option for them to drive through you, and lastly, it gives you a great angle to attack them with.
When you sit the corner, be sure to push your opponent to the outside. This takes away their ability to drive through you. Watch now Ben sits to the mat. He doesn’t just drop to his butt; he sits in a circular motion. Once you are down on the mat, you can lock in the crotch, around the waist, or pull them in tight to you. The big thing is to not give them space.
From here, Askren shows a couple different options. The easiest is to post up and get your hips on top so you end up on top in a leg ride position or you can roll them and end up on top and hit a near side cradle. He also shows two great cradle options from the sit the corner position.
Sitting the corner is a very effective way to defend a high crotch especially when your opponent is able to get in really deep on their shot.
Josh Wagner Inside Cradle
One thing that Askren does very well is finds cradles in places that most wrestlers don’t. The Josh Wagner inside cradle is a perfect example of this.
This cradle starts in referee’s position with an elbow chop. After you chop and drive your opponent forward, the next step is to hook your opponent’s near ankle and sit back on it to trap it. From this here, you are going to hook up a power half on the opposite side, but instead of trying to turn your opponent with the power half, you will pull your opponent’s head and neck into you.
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Next, watch how Askren takes a big step and uses his knee to trap his partner’s head. This will allow you to leg go of the power half and go around the head and near leg with your arms. Then just slide your chest back and lock the cradle up. Once you have it locked up, watch how Askren takes his opponent to their back for the pin.
Tilts are not necessarily considered funky, but you don’t often see people hit them from a standing position. In this video, the Askren brothers show a great way to score back points after your opponent hits a stand up.
This tilt is quite a bit different from the other tilts because it starts from a standing position. You see this position a lot after a guy has hit a standup but hasn’t actually escaped. To set this tilt up, you will need to lock up a two on one; one hand controlling their elbow and the other reaching around the body to control the wrist of the same arm. In the video, pay attention to how Max drops his head down to the side and puts his elbow one the inside of the leg and circles down and rolls.
When he brings him down to the mat, he is landing with his elbow and his knee connected. They way he holds onto the tilt is different than how you would normally hold onto a two on one tilt so be sure to make note of it when you watch the video.
This tilt is a great move to have in your back pocket if you are down late in a match and need to score some points to win.
Ben was not known as the most explosive athlete out on the mat, but he was still able to be very effective at shooting double legs using movement and fakes. Check out this video where he goes over one of his favorite setups to a double leg.
As you can see, there really isn’t really anything funky about this, but it does show that even if you aren’t the quickest athlete, you can still have a great double leg. This setup is all about getting your opponent to react when you reach and change levels. This is a perfect example of how good motion creates activity to score. The more you practice this setup, the better your timing will be.
Askren’s unique style of wrestling has helped to shape many of the common scramble techniques we see today. His wrestling also shows that just because you do something unorthodox doesn’t mean it is sloppy or untechnical. If you would like to learn more of Askren’s wrestling technique, be sure to check out his in depth video titled “Ultimate Askren Wrestling by Ben Askren”.