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SPACE MECHANICS! With Nate Jackson

SPACE MECHANICS! With Nate Jackson


Space Mechanics sounds like a cool job in the new military branch Space Force right? You are not wrong but what we are really talking about is the union between two fluid ideas. Wrestling technique and Spatial awareness.

The first part of that equation we all know about, and love. Wrestling. It is fast, exciting, physical and dramatic all in one 6 minute or less match.

The second part of the equation is often talked about but rarely understood. Spatial awareness is the cognitive recognition and union of body, time and area. In other words, you are reading this article on your phone, without thinking you know that your hand is grasping the phone and the phone is being held in a steady position, and your head is positioned to read the screen of the phone.

Now if you closed your eyes and you were asked to place the phone in your pocket, could you do it? Most of us could. How is it possible if you cannot see your pockets or your phone? Spatial awareness. Walking is the same, you can do it with your eyes closed even though it is not recommended. Your body is aware of itself and the space it needs to move each foot at the right time to not fall forward.

Now this same principle applies to all motion, but training and understanding the positions that you need to be fluent in will change.

A great example of spatial awareness is a Sprawl. You see the opponent change levels and perform a penetration step while reaching their arms for your legs. Instinctually you throw your legs back, hips down, guiding their head toward your belly. You sprawl on top of them and you stop the takedown, 4 or 5 different moving mechanics at the right time allow that move to work.

What happens when you don’t have the right spatial awareness? Same situation, you sprawl too late and get taken down, or they don’t commit to the takedown you throw yourself on the floor and they spin for an easy 2. Seems goofy but without those timed mechanics, your wrestling is useless.

In the same vain we can look at two different single leg attacks and how your Space Mechanics will come into play. Below is Princeton Assistant Coach Nate Jackson showing how to easily kill the high crotch entry by just being aware of what is going on and where he keeps his arms during that time and space.


It seems simple, but how often do we find people who leave their arms hanging to prevent a takedown, then get put in a bad position in a tie up. Nate uses excellent position in the tie but knows when the high crotch comes he has to transition to an underhook.

Driving over, his opponent has two options. Get turned or stand up abandoning the takedown attempt. At this point Nate will be in a better position because of his control of that deep underhook.

Keeping that same idea Nate shows the defense to an outside single. Nate uses the whizzer this time to stop the single. Nate knows that timing is the key to winning this position. If he misses the window and the other wrestlers get in deep, it is a losing battle to get back to a neutral position.  Yet if he times it right, he has all the time in the world.

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The difference with this defense is that it requires two movements instead of one. Not only does Nate have to get a good Whizzer, he has to change the angle of his hips as well.  This is not like boxing where it is a one, two step. The Whizzer and Hip rotation happen simultaneously.

What is beneficial about this movement is that the two movements are symbiotic to each other. As the hip is turned, the whizzer can become deeper. The deeper the whizzer ,the stronger his natural position. So if done right, one move strengthens the other.

Just be aware, that when you pull the other wrestler up from the single you have a strong overhook on that side. They will have the underhook. The overhook position can be great for throws if you know how to use it just be aware of their underhook.

Coming from a two time All American I would listen to what he has to say. He has had a great career at the University of Illinois. He was the team captain for the Hoosiers for two years and finished his NCAA career with over 100 wins.

Nate has defined his career with his high impact takedowns. He is like a freight train. If he gets in on a single or a double, he will either get a point for the push out or get the two for the takedown. In this writer's opinion that is what made him a stand out for Princeton to bring him on as a coach.

Princeton could have had anyone, their pockets are deep enough and the school is located in the right spot to attract plenty of talent to the coaching staff. 100+ NCAA Wins , Two time All American sounds great, but if you can't lead from the front, or convey the technical know-how to the athletes what good are you as a coach?

"Within about a minute after Nate left his interview, we decided he was the one we wanted to join our staff," head coach -Chris Ayres 

Chris Ayres also stated that Nate's hunger to continue to compete and passion to coach as a profession also had a hand in selecting him as the assistant head coach.

Nate having a passion to teach has led him to creating two fantastic instructional sets. One on his CRAMM Take down system. (Remember the freight train reference) and another on re attacks and counters!

High Impact Re-Attacks & Counters by Nate Jackson

Check out what he has to offer! Hi Impact Re-Attacks &  Counters is available NOW!