Learn How to Shoot with Henry Cejudo
Your shot is your Swiss Army knife in the world of wrestling. Useful in a moment’s notice, necessary in high-stress situations, and customized for various events, your shot is what makes or breaks you as an offensive wrestler. Outside of stance and movement, shooting is by far the most vital skill you need to know as a beginning wrestler. Without it, your takedown game might as well resort to sprawling and hoping for the best, making you one-dimensional. Yet knowing how to shoot is more than just “diving for a leg.” It requires more technique and timing than you could initially imagine.
If you’re going to learn how to shoot, you need to know from one of the best. To demonstrate how to shoot properly, UFC Flyweight and Bantamweight Champion Henry Cejudo takes us through the technique in the video below.
An often-forgotten part of the penetration step that Cejudo addresses in the video is the trail leg. The lead leg is often given the most prominence when breaking down the move because it is the catalyst for your movement. However, he stresses here not to drag your trail leg. The presumption is that it adds unnecessary traction, which can reduce your speed. The solution here is to lift the trail leg and glide it swiftly just above the mat when finishing the motion.
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Far too often, you’ll see inexperienced wrestlers shoot with poor posture, resulting in a stuffed takedown or injury from repetitive use. Posture is important for finishing shots, and it’s based on two aspects: back and neck. Your back cannot be too round, otherwise you lose power and put a lot of unnecessary stress on your lower spine. Staying more upright gives you more access to your lat muscles and provides a stronger frame for finishing. As for your neck, your body goes where your nose goes. With that concept, keeping your head down leaves you open for a front headlock (or chokes if you are grappling). Keeping your head up and facing forward keeps your drive forward.
Cejudo’s last major point in the video is to use a tactic that many may not have considered. His “cheat step” is a sideways shuffle bringing his trail foot to his lead foot before making his penetration step. It seems almost counter intuitive at first, as he’s reducing his base down to a few inches. However, he’s doing it with such speed that it actually causes an almost slingshot reaction to bring his lead leg out. Another benefit is that it’s not as telling as simply stepping forward for your shot. The trail leg’s movement can act as a “slight of hand” to distract the opponent while you move forward.
Learning how to shoot is not something to take for granted, as it is the foundation of your offensive skillset. Yet with master wrestlers like Henry Cejudo, your shot can go from another piece of movement to a versatile tool to bring you takedowns each time.
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