Review Handfighting Concepts with Vladimer Khinchegashvili
Take a moment and imagine trying to shoot on an opponent without a proper set-up. Unless you are quick to the draw (or have a very smooth John Smith low single), the chances of you hitting a clean shot on someone without set-ups is pretty slim. Set-ups are what separate good wrestlers from great wrestlers, from those who recollect on their years on the mat with subdued nostalgia and those whose success brought them respect among the wrestling community. It may seem like this praise for such a simple concept is excessive, but it’s been proven time and time again. With that said, one of the most common set-ups for your takedowns is handfighting, or the constant battle for inside control.
On the surface, handfighting may seem simple. Just grab a wrist and move it out of the way and you’re golden. Except it’s not always as easy as mere appendage control. Learning how to handfight takes time and patience, and learning how to use it to its full efficacy takes substantially longer. You need to know how to handfight from someone skilled in the art, such as Olympic gold medalist Vladimer Khinchegashvili. In the video below, Vladimer elaborates on the often-forgotten form of handfighting.
Head Positioning and Control
Vladimer begins his primer on handfighting by discussing a critical component of freestyle wrestling: it involves the entire body. Your hands, your feet, and even your head are involved in the process. Vladimer establishes inside control on his opponent simply by keeping his head on the inside and pressured against their temple. This allows him to push and pull the opponent with proper angles, whereas allowing them to establish inside head positioning leaves his body open to their angles. On the other hand, you can negate your opponent’s head positioning by controlling their head with collar ties. Collar ties allow for oppositional reflexes as you push and pull your opponent’s head while anticipating their response. As Vladimer says, “If I control the head, he won’t attack.”
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As mentioned above, pushing and pulling your opponent will cause them to respond against the pressure. This applies to head control, but it can extend to inside ties and wrist control as well. If you grab someone’s wrist and pull, their natural reaction is to pull back, much like a dog with a chew toy. On the other side of the spectrum, pushing into your opponent with a collar tie and inside control will cause your opponent to push back, as continually moving backwards is counter-productive in their mind. You need instances like these to quickly release pressure and drop down for the single leg. Your initial push/pull is not meant to be prolonged, just enough to elicit the reaction.
Climbing the Ladder
Wrist control in handfighting is not a singular process. This means that your thought process shouldn’t end with grabbing the wrist and not following up with it. The wrist is only one part of the entire arm, meaning that it is a precursor for more vulnerable positions like the underhook, collar tie, and inside tie. One of the best ways to illustrate this concept is to “climb the ladder” of their arm, starting low at the wrists and continually moving upwards towards the elbows and shoulders until you reach the head. You can see this played out when someone is proactively looking for the Russian tie as they work two grips on one arm and use that to climb up towards the 2-on-1. In other words, starting low as your first point of contact means you can climb upwards to better set-ups, while starting from the head and working down is much trickier.
Legitimate handfighting is not a back-and-forth attack on the wrists. It is a full-bodied approach using head control, oppositional reflexes, and strategically working up the arms. Vladimer Khinchegashvili elaborates on this methodology to perfection in the video above, and with enough practice, you too can become a handfighting machine.
THE GEORGIAN TAKEDOWN SYSTEM BY VLADIMER KHINCHEGASHVILI gives you the techniques that will push your game to the next level. Vladimer brings you Olmypic Level technique that helped him become an Olympic Champion. Systemize your takedowns today!