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Wrestling Drills by Henry Cejudo: Reaction Defense

Wrestling Drills by Henry Cejudo: Reaction Defense

A good reaction speed is one of the most important traits that an athlete can have in any sport. In terms of combat sports it can be the difference between a win and a loss, a punch landing or being blocked or in this case, scoring a takedown or having it defended against. 

Reaction time is something that is hard to train, as it is very specific to each sport. Having a fast reaction time in a sport like soccer doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have the same reaction speed in wrestling. This is why it’s important to train your reaction time in a sport specific way, to make sure that you can react properly. This usually leads to reaction training being overlooked by most athletes and coaches, with more emphasis being placed on strength and conditioning. Despite it being harder to train, reaction training is vital for an athlete. 

In this video, former two division UFC champion, Olympic gold medalist and greatest combat sports athlete of all time, Triple C, Henry Cejudo goes over some wrestling reaction drills that he uses with the athletes that he coaches. 


These drills can be used as warm ups for sessions, as they are fairly low impact and are simple enough that you don;t already need to be warm to do them. These drills are also pretty much just games between the wrestlers. This makes them pretty good drills as they train reaction time, are enjoyable because they are competitive live drilling and are basically perfect for a warm up. 

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The first drill that Henry Cejudo goes through is a simple one. It revolves around two athletes getting into their stances but having their hands behind their back. From there each athlete is going to try to step on the others foot while trying not to get their foot stepped on. 

The second drill is very similar. With each wrestler in their stance and one is simply going to try to touch the other’s foot and the other wrestler will just be downblocking. Eventually the two will switch after two shots. Cejudo talks about using the head to block and defend against their opponent. 

The third drill is the same as the last but after one wrestler down blocks, they are then going to shoot in for a single leg and then switch again after two shots. Make sure that you make sure that you are still shooting with the best technique possible, even though this is kind of a game. 

Once again, this next drill is similar to the second one. Instead of the defending wrestler simply downblocking, they are going to go into a full sprawl instead. Cejudo goes on to emphasize the importance of using the forehead in denefind against takedowns. You can even rely solely on your forehead to train one layer of defense. This will make defending with your hands much easier. 

Cejudo Recommends going through each of these different drills for around 15 to 20 seconds. 

Gold Medal Wrestling by Henry Cejudo
If you want to learn more drills like this from Triple C, Henry Cejudo, then check out our complete video series with him, available now!