J’Den Cox And The Art Of Control
During the world wide Covid pandemic, we have seen a severe decline and in some cases a out right halt in competitions. Wrestling is no exception but as we roll into September we are starting to see matches roll back in, and the strongest competitors are the ones competing.
The saying goes there is no rest for the wicked, and one of the most wicked on the mat currently is a man by the name of J’den Cox.
J’den Cox started to wrestle at the age of four. He has never taken a year off, and early on he started competing. His first state championship he entered, is the only one he ever lost… Ever.
J’den is a specimen to say the least, the 25 year old University of Missouri grad looks like a god and he moves like one too! J’den dominated during his time competing in highschool. He is always working on his wrestling. He finished four years of wrestling in highschool with a 205-3 record. His only losses came his freshman year and went on an undefeated streak from sophomore through senior.
When J’den stepped on the mat for the first time at the University of Missouri he had no intentions of slowing down or stepping back. He tossed the red shirt option and went right to work.
J’den was a force to be reckoned with. His athleticism and speed combined with his wrestling IQ made him one of the most successful that school has ever seen. His first year he was the MAC champion and going into the NCAA National Championship he was the #2 seed. The only person that stood in his way was Nick Heflin. Nick was in for a surprise as the freshman was about to make history.
It is not often a true freshman (someone who foregoes their redshirt eligibility) wins a title. Only 15 have ever done it, and Heflin knows this. Heflin is a Redshirt senior, so he had been wrestling at the NCAA Level for 5 years to J’dens 1.
What happened in that match would be the preamble to Cox’s wrestling career, hand fight with movement, then into a leg attack seamlessly. It helped J’den win his first NCAA Title against Heflin, and as he built upon that skill set the wins would keep coming.
He wins two more NCAA Titles in three years and four All American Honors, two Dan Hodge trophies and a unheard of .965 win percentage over four years. His final record 136-5.
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This is an impressive statistic, but when you factor in that J’den also went to the Olympics during his Junior year of school to compete internationally makes it even more outstanding. On top of that J’den didn’t just go to the Olympics, he medaled!
From 2016 to 2017 J’dens life was NCAA Champion, Olympic Bronze Medalist, 2017 NCAA Champion, 2017 World Freestyle Bronze medalist. There are obviously some adjustments that have to be made to step from college level to world level competition, but whatever that adjustment is, Cox already had it.
They say good things will come to those who wait, for J’den it is more good things come to those who work for it, and work he did. Taking home Bronze at the worlds was not what J’den would call a fun time. Unfortunately for most wrestlers, by this point in their career there is not much more improvement to be made.
Good thing Cox is not like most wrestlers. Cox started to dial in his “Not this way, THIS WAY!” style. Creating and refining his on the mat tactics that open up the attacks he was known for. This work continues to pay dividends as his efforts since 2017 have been nothing but gold.
J’den Cox went out and won the 2018 World Championship, the 2019 Pan American’s and the 2019 World Championship. Sliding into 2020 J’den was on his most dominating performance to date. At the UWW Granma y Cerro Pelad Championship Cox went out and won all of his matches on his way to the championship. Winning his last match via Technical fall.
Cox was aiming for the 2020 Olympiad but the pandemic put a halt to it. Do you think this is going to stop him from training? I didn't think so, so what is your excuse? There is no better time to start drilling than right now. Taking advantage of the time when others are taking advantage of excuses.
What makes J’den Cox so good at what he does? Some will point to his athleticism and that is a piece of it although if you look at his career I don’t think there is a single high level match where Cox is just bulldozering through his opposition.
What we will see is Cox engaging strategically and not putting himself in bad positions, but rather force his opponent to feel pressured to make poor choices of their own. This all starts with how J’den approaches his opponents.
J’den will admit his shortcomings when it comes to hand fighting, he doesn't do it often in an aggressive manner but will rather take a defensive tie. This keeps J’den free to move in typical matrix fashion; it also prevents his opponent from creating strong posts or ties on him.
In the video below Cox explains his approach to the tie up position.
The thumb block in the elbow is a huge detail. This is preventing his opponent any inside position. At the end of the video J’den is showing a few variants on how to attack off that thumb bock with both feints and drags.
At the end of the day that is just a snippet of the instructional J’den has created. It is a four part series that covers how J’den creates that unique style and attacks that has made him one of the best in the world. Check out what it has to offer here!