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Articles about Wrestling, Self-Defense, and Mixed Martial Arts > Evolution of the Wrestler

Time for the Wrestlers to look "Outside the Box"
2 Nov 2008



Evolution of the Wrestler


After 40 years on the mat –


Wrestler turned Martial Artist


Returns to wrestling to share what he has learned




Grandmaster Jody Perry PhD/M.A., Soke






    I find it hilarious but not surprising, that almost all of the Martial Arts and Mixed Martial arts magazines that are on the stands today advertise sales of tapes and CD’s on “Basic Wrestling.”  The only problem is that the “Back to basics”   methodical phrase   sounds good- for an “Old School” remedy, but after my observation over the past two years of high school wrestlers and collegiate wrestlers, including the big Pac10 wrestlers, I firmly – NO! -  I strongly believe that it is time for the wrestlers and the coaches to step out of the box and move into a higher evolution of wrestling.


     As a wrestler turned martial artist, a Sambo World Champion, Grandmaster, Professor, Soke, ten-time Hall of Fame Inductee and recipient of seven black belts, I have found that while I was journeying through the martial arts to improve my wrestling, I was also accelerating in the martial arts world because of my wrestling. I ventured outside of the catch-as-catch -can old school wrestling and evolved to higher, more dynamic and exciting limits making for more exciting wrestling matches for me, my opponent and the audience.


   The “Back to basics”   method   sounds good- for an “Old School” remedy as I mentioned, but after  witnessing wrestlers  making the same basic mistakes over and over again, from the high school level all the way up to the Pac-10 level, I don’t think going back to basics is good enough. What is needed to evolve is to look at what I call, “Before basics.” I believe that there are things you must learn even before basics. Some examples of the wrestling I witnessed are:


*   Wrestlers are still trying to learn how to close the gap and are shooting straight to their




*   Wrestlers are still trying to learn what is meant  by “Hand Control”  and hand fighting.


*   Wrestlers are still trying to learn the best way to secure and get behind an opponent.


*   Wrestlers are still baffled with  how to get out from the bottom position on the mat.


*   Wrestlers are still trying to learn the art and dynamics of throwing an opponent- Not to


      mention the ease if you understand angles, axis, force and leverage.


   Witnessing all the simple mistakes for the past three years,  I can’t help but wonder what exactly the coaches are teaching. I can’t help asking myself, “When are the coaches going to evolve and realize that there is something greater then the old school methods they were taught many, many years ago: The same old school methods that were taught to their coaches many more years ago. Why can’t they see how dynamic and how powerful little differences in leverage, angle, direction and force can be if performed with the focus of a martial artist. “Oh yah!” I remind myself; maybe they can’t see this because they did not study 22 different disciplines of martial arts in 25 plus years. Or maybe it is because they do not have 40 years on the mat. So what have coaches done to improve and/or help the sport of wrestling evolve besides change a few rules and length of matches.


      Catch-as-catch-can, or cowboy wrestling as I like to call it, is dead. It is boring. Even with rule changes and length of match time changes, the spectators are still witnessing old school wrestling.


      It is my philosophy that just as the martial artist have ventured outside the box to discover new technique and broaden their arsenal, so should the traditional catch-as-catch-can wrestler search outside the box for more efficient, fluid technique that can be preformed with finesse and grace. This type of  training, understanding the mechanics of your body, the dynamics of force, leverage, balance, direction, strength are only a few of the studies learned in most martial arts programs.


      Crush, kill, destroy has now been replaced with the Ultimate Fighting Championships. So there is no need for this Neanderthal wrestling in the high school and collegiate level wrestling programs.


      Hopefully, the wrestling programs that are being discontinued in our colleges and high schools because of lack of spectator interest, have the possibility of being saved if the spectators were entertained with dynamic, graceful, technical athleticism: Athleticism that can only be developed through cross-training and always searching for a better more efficient way of accomplishing a takedown, breakdown, escape or throw - always looking to evolve.


    I am proud to have spent so many years in the martial arts and I look forward to many more years of studying and learning. But now I also look forward to returning to the wrestling arena and showing the wrestlers/grapplers what I have learned. I look forward to teaching wrestler/grapplers the drills and techniques that I have developed from Wing Chun that will improve their close contact and centerline attacking and defending skills – These skills allow the wrestler to secure and control his/her opponent: The techniques that I extracted from Escrima to help wrestlers move more efficiently on their feet – resulting in better faster more efficient shots: and drills and techniques from the dynamics of Aikido that will enhance their throwing ability and their ability to evade and redirect their opponents – Raising the success of their takedown.


   I am thrilled about the techniques that I have selected from jujitsu that will make the wrestler a master at hand fighting, hand trap, and grip releases  – Giving the wrestler complete confidence in controlling the opponent no matter who is holding whom. I am very confident about the drills and techniques I have organized from my twelve years of Greco-Roman wrestling at the National, and World Team level as I trained for an Olympic Team berth.  Being a 2 time California State Power lifting Champion and a certified personal trainer, I am extremely confident about my ability to lead wrestlers in weight training, strength building, core stabilization, balance and explosive power.  To include teaching the wrestlers mental visualization and effective acupressure points to enhance their performance.


     I  along with my son, Master Instructor Jay Perry, have trained many martial arts athletes that  stood toe-to-toe with students of the Gracie Family clubs, the Shamrock family clubs, Keith Hackney’s Group, Sheldon Marrs Grapplers Quest, and Kung Lee’s clubs. Sometimes we won and sometimes we lost. But never were our athletes totally dominated. The ability to train martial artist to fight, and grapple was limited only by the lack of wrestling experience the martial artist had  -  and as is seen in the UFC, wrestling is essential to the fight game.


  With the evolution of my system that I have named, “Iron Wing – Aikijiujitsu” I have returned to the wrestling world and will produce the new wrestler/fighter. The wrestler that will not only be able to compete at the High School, Collegiate, National and international levels,  but also fight in the UFC arena  as well.  In these next upcoming years, you will see the evolution of the wrestler, the new Mixed Martial Arts athlete: And he/she will have a strong foundation in wrestling and a solid regimen of techniques from training in  “Iron Wing – Aikijiujitsu.” Beware of the Evolution of the Wrestler….




 Demonstrations of Iron-Wing techniques will be available soon… Stay Tuned!







Grandmaster Jody Perry