The Underhook Inside And Out With Chael Sonnen
The underhook is one of the most important and common weapons in the arsenal of any grappler. Specifically for wrestling and pretty much all stand up grappling the underhook is one of the best methods of controlling your opponent. With only one underhook you push and pull your opponent and set up all kinds of takedowns and defend attacks from your opponent, and if you are competing in MMA with strikes they open up a ton of attacks.
This is why learning the fundamentals behind this move is so important. If you’re someone who hasn’t trained in pure wrestling before it's common for the underhook to be somewhat taken for granted and to be taught in a very simplistic way that doesn’t cover a lot of the important details and ways to use it. This is why it’s important for people who are new to grappling, especially in non-wrestling settings like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts, to really focus on and put a lot of time into learning the underhook, inside and out.
In this video, former UFC Middleweight title challenger and man who has never lost a single round, Chael Sonnen covers the fundamentals about the Underhook that everyone in grappling and combat sports in general should know.
The video starts off with Chael talking about how common the underhook is and a few different ways that you can get one on your opponent. The way that Chael talks about is by stunning them by going for an aggressive collar tie. Basically you are smacking the side of your opponents head to grab a collar tie, but that collar tie doesn't really matter, you're just trying to distract and stun them. While they’re stunned, punch up your arm like you’re throwing an uppercut to grab your underhook.
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This might sound a little dirty, but remember that you're literally wrestling someone who is trying to throw you on the floor and smash you and if this is MMA or BJJ, they’re trying to either break your limbs or choke you or knock you unconscious.
Next Chael covers something that a lot of people new to grappling don’t really know about, the difference between you having and underhook and your opponent having an overhook. This is something that a lot of people newer to wrestling don’t learn about for a while. The key difference is the control, if you have your arm in the underhook position, but your limp and weak and your opponents controlling and cracking their arm and breaking your posture, they have the overhook. On the other hand if you are strong with your underhook, then you are in control.
Chael then goes on to stress the importance of positioning of the arm and hand when trying for the underhook. You need to have an open hand on your opponent's shoulder blade and with your elbow flared up to make sure that your underhook is as strong as possible.
From there Chael shows a few attacks from the long list of attacks that are available to you when you have an underhook, like the high crotch. Chael also emphasizes that you can pull with an underhook, instead of just pushing off of it, which a lot of newer people tend to do.
You can especially pull an underhook if your opponent tries to clamp down to secure their overhook, to which you can then grab a front headlock, a position that chael really likes for wrestling but is also great for BJJ and MMA.
Chael then shows a way to get an underhook to counter your opponents collar tie. Its pretty simple, you slap away their collar tie arm with your far side arm and while their collar tie arm is still in the air, grab an underhook on that side.
From that defense, you can quickly attack using that same motion’s momentum. Instead of stopping after getting that underhook, you can follow through with your feet and run down your opponent into a knee pick.