Tonight’s junior private lesson continued work in the stand-up grappling range with the beginning of a deep dive and exploration of the ankle pick. The senior lesson also continued from the previous week with side-by-side cross training in Boxing’s Philly Shell and Muay Thai’s diamond guard & long guard concepts.
In the former we got down into the detail of setting up the ankle pick, a very standard yet highly successful technique found a lot in Freestyle Wrestling. We looked at the collar tie and how to get a firmer purchase in order better control the head, which needs to be brought down. I emphasised more circling footwork to break the opponent’s posture and forcing them to plant their front foot. The elbow tie to wrist grip transition was also taught, as the fighter switched to the inside and posted against the opponent’s shoulder in order to then slide their hand down to the wrist efficiently.
With the collar tie/wrist-grip now established as the fighter circles with their feet, we then looked at the ankle pick proper. Here it is important to neither shoot nor pull back but to drop the level very low and to bring the head down too. The fighter should have their front or aiming knee now on the ground and their rear or trailing leg also very low in a lateral position rather than posting.
In order to achieve the ankle pick, the fighter needs to swiftly transition from the wrist grab to cupping the opponent’s lead foot. At this point it is very important to throw the head whilst pulling the hand in a circular direction. All of this is driven by the body pushing with a rotational force. Looking towards the inclusion of this technique in both Submission Grappling and Mixed Martial Arts, it is even more critical to throw the head than it is to pull it down. This is because the opponent can counter with an arm-bar or similar from their back when they are thrown backwards. It’s not a point one has to worry about in Freestyle Wrestling.
We also went through a couple of counters to counters. Should the opponent respond to the ankle pick with a low block, where they step their lead leg back then the fighter can replace the ankle pick with a high tricep grip. Here the fighter can pull the arm down and attack the back or roll the opponent into side control. Should the opponent posture up and with their head, the neck tie can be replaced with an under-hook to the inside of the opponent’s leg and shoot forward. It should be pointed out that the guillotine counter that is often fear by single-leg shooters would be difficult counter due to the control of the opponent’s leg during this takedown.
The senior session went back over the baiting combinations covered in the previous lesson and also in Tuesday night client’s lesson. We also revised the footwork sequences I went through with my teaching client. Throughout this these sequences I encouraged my client to retain their Philly Shell guard, adapting it for the ranges. Bringing in the diamond and long guards, we used the former as either a recovery method or to press for close range and then the latter to circle out to the opponent’s power side. It was a later adaptation to the Muay Thai variant I was teaching my teaching consultant client.
We finished the lesson with 4 x 3 minute sparring, alternating rounds of Boxing and Muay Thai.