Move Your Opponent with Henry Cejudo
Having movement is critical in wrestling, but what good is that movement if you’re not able to move your opponent? Not every takedown you hit will be against a stationary person, as you may need to manipulate their stance or footwork to set up the move. Yet it’s not as simple as just pushing or pulling your opponent, there’s a methodology to it that’s been proven successful for wrestlers of all shapes, sizes, and abilities.
If you’re looking to move your opponent, you need to learn from one of the best. What better way to learn than from UFC Flyweight and Bantamweight Champion Henry Cejudo? In the video below, Cejudo discusses some of the most important concepts related to making contact with your opponent and moving them for success.
Before placing his hands on his opponent, Cejudo first makes contact with his head. If you notice in the video, he does not tuck his head into his opponent’s shoulder, as many inexperienced wrestlers do. He also does not make contact with his temple. Instead, Cejudo goes forehead-to-forehead with the opponent. This provides him an optimal amount of distance needed to work his set-ups and ties.
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Cejudo relies on a variety of ties once he makes contact with his opponent. The video mentions several, but the main players are the collar tie, inside tie, outside tie, and wrist control. The collar tie is ideal for close-range situations like duck unders or snapdowns. The inside and outside ties provide more distance to work your mid-range takedowns such as your double leg. Wrist control gives you the most room while maintaining contact with your opponent and is suitable for arm drags or outside singles.
One method that Cejudo uses to move his opponent is to use the steering wheel technique. After making contact with his forehead, he establishes a collar tie with one hand and inside control with the other. He moves his opponent in a circle to his left, but changes directions afterward. Instead of keeping the same tie, he switches hands between the collar tie and inside control when moving the opponent the other way. What this does is create consistent pressure against the opponent that would otherwise be lost from pulling on the collar tie or pushing with the inside control. Consistent pressure means consistent set-ups.
Consistent Pressure, Inconsistent Movement
Although you need consistent pressure, your specific movement does not have to follow the same pattern. Doing so will make it much easier for your opponent to map out your technique and make it ineffective as the match goes on. Cejudo does not rely solely on the steering wheel technique. He pushes forward, drives backward, moves the opponent left to right, all making them constantly on their toes and moving. It’s similar to catching a baseball: catching one in the same direction is manageable, but catching one thrown in multiple directions creates unpredictability.
Combined your multiple ties with head contact, techniques like the steering wheel, and consistent pressure with inconsistent movements, manipulating your opponent’s stance and motion becomes a smooth process. Henry Cejudo’s breakdown in the video above leaves his opponent open for a multitude of takedowns, each one stemming from being moved one way or another. With enough practice and patience, you will be able to move your opponent at will.
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