The Ashnault Assault
There is something about New Jersey that just makes tough people. Maybe it is having to deal with New Yorkers all the time, or possibly because during the 70’s and 80’s New Jersey was home to some of the toughest “Family” members of all time. You know the same family members that helped build Donald Trump’s Taj Mahal, or possibly know the where abouts of one Jimmy Hoffa.
Everyone has heard how tough and angry people from Jersey can get. Just about every high schooler has heard one rendition of “Don’t mess with me, I’m from Jersey”. Personally if I had to deal with all the spray tan and the traffic on the NJ Turnpike I would be pretty angry too.
Yet there is something about that environment that builds great wrestlers and fighters. It is obvious and you cannot dismiss it. Olympian Bruce Baumgartner is from Jersey and they do not get any tougher than him. Frankie Edgar is from New Jersey and is tied for the most Lightweight title defenses of all time currently.
You know what Frankie Edgar and Bruce Baumgartner have in common? They are both from Jersey, They are both known for how tough they are and they both can wrestles most people out of their shoes on a bad day.
Frankie Edgar is now an Assistant Coach at Rutgers University for their wrestling team. Rutgers is a NCAA Division I school and part of the Big 10. As the Largest public learning institution in New Jersey it is no surprise they want to capitalize on the innate aggression and wrestling talent of their natives.
Rutgers has been around in one form or another since 1766 (that’s 10 years before the United States was even a country) but was then known as Queens College. Yet they stepped into the big leagues by joining the Big 10 Conference in 2014. Becoming the Eastern most university for that conference.
Just because they are the new kids on the block does not mean they were gonna get pushed around and just 5 years after stepping into one of the biggest and best conferences in wrestling they got a Champion.
Actually they got two on the same night of March 23, 2019. Both Nick Suriano and Anthony Ashnault. That same year Anthony Ashnault became the schools first ever, three-time Big 10 Champion. He was also awarded with his 4th All American award as well.
His senior year he was undefeated at 32-0 on his way to that NCAA Championship. The years before that 30-6, 33-5,29-8. Making his NCAA Career record 124-19 which is not bad for one of the toughest conferences in wrestling.
Before he was the first three time Big 10 Champion for Rutgers, Anthony was a 4 time state champion in New Jersey. He was also undefeated all four years of high school. What he was highlighted as was very aggressive on his feet, and very good in top position. Grinding his opponents down with take downs, rides and tilts.
Anthony has made his career on making people miserable trying to get off their backs. He is one of the best at anticipating what is going to happen next and going right into the next position. This can be hard to explain without spending a ton of time breaking down matches.
What we can do is look how Anthony brings the Assault with a Cross wrist tilt, into a Turk. Check it out!
Notice how instead of trying to hold on to a position he has already scored on and possibly losing it to a scramble, Anthony anticipates the escape and goes with it. As the other guy rolls off his back he maintains that wrist control and grabs the near side leg.
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Just like that he is now in a Turk position which will either end in a pin or more exposure points. It is the fluid transitions he has created that helped win his NCAA Title. Then seamlessly transition into Freestyle wrestling.
In Freestyle Anthony won the 2019 Pan American games and the 2020 Pan American Games in March. Right before the world wide pandemic had shut down the hopes for more world competition including the 2020 Olympics.
With Covid-19 starting to slow down, the world will be thinking of competitions soon enough. Unless you are Florida, They never stopped. What are you as a wrestler doing to get ready? More importantly what is the other guy doing that you are not?
Why not take this time to sharpen your skills and add some new tricks to that toolbox, so when your season does open up you look like you never took a day off. Pandemic? What Pandemic?
Anthony brought some of that New Jersey Grit and toughness to the instructional world. He has outlined his top game, so you can go on the Ashnault Assault too! Get to “Mobbin” the competition with this four part series.