"Winning wrestling moves" by Mark Mysnyk
Since I’m still out of training due to damaging my costochondral junctions again I decided that now would be a good time to pick up a few instructionals on different aspects of the grappling game. Looking at some online reviews on wrestling books a few posters mentioned “Winning wrestling moves” by Mark Mysnyk, when I saw a second hand copy on Amazon for less than £8.00 including shipping I decided to give it a go.
I should mention that I have been doing no-gi BJJ for about 3 years in all, with separate wrestling and Muay Thai classes as well. I don’t really do any gi based grappling apart from attending my local community judo club every so often for extra practice. I never wrestled at school or did judo when I was younger, so most of the takedowns or throws I have learned are to fit in with my no-gi BJJ training.
The co-authors are Barry Davis and Brooks Simpson who have a long standing association with the University of Iowa wrestling program, competing and coaching to a very high level. The book is published by Human Kinetics, about 195 pages long with the moves demonstrated by wrestlers wearing dark or light coloured singlets. The attacking techniques are shown from a left lead stance and are carried out by the wrestler in the black singlet, any counters shown in the same section (not as a separate technique) are performed by the wrestler wearing the light singlet attacking the right side.
All the photos are in black and white, with an alphabetical system showing the chain of movements. The book was published in the mid 1990s, which means while most of the photos are shown sequentially from the same angle, quite a few jump round to a different view or “shows the key points of the move” in a single frame rather than using a flow-chart type system like in the more recent Victory Belt lines.
The book mentions which moves are better suited to freestyle, folkstyle and Greco due to the points scoring systems and designate advanced techniques with a star next to the title. Unlike a lot of instructional books or DVDs a large amount of space is given to the most common counters to the technique being shown, which is useful in that it gives you an idea of how your opponent might react but it is a lot of information to take in.
Chapter.1: Basic skills
Details on basic posture and movements involved in wrestling.
It covers a huge number of throw and variations on single legs, doubles, high crotches, shoulder throws, hip tosses and trips. Also contains specific sections for when your partner is at different levels such as you are on your knees and they are standing, or are both on the knees. The moves are based around different tie ups, grips and shooting entries, which are explained as they go along and giving specific details on how your partner could try and counter.
Chapter.3: Escapes and reversals
Focuses on using positional escapes and reversals to score points or regain a neutral position. Again a large number of techniques are shown which cover everything from grip fighting, granby rolls, stand ups and a few of the common counters to them.
Chapter.4: Breakdowns, rides and pinning combinations
Is a good introduction to attacking a turtled or face down opponent using half / quarter nelsons, arm bars, under hooks, the pump handle and cradles. Many of the techniques use a lot of cross facing and neck control, which may lead to a few annoyed training partners if you use them outside of pure wrestling and get you disqualified in judo competition.
Chapter.4: Freestyle turns
Shortest section in the book which is just details some freestyle or Greco turn overs which may not be legal in US school level folkstyle wrestling matches and different scoring systems.
Things I liked
-The techniques are non-attribute based, seem solid and are not tailored around a specific famous athlete’s personal style.
-The techniques are named rationally (unlike other books I have) which will make asking my coach questions easier.
-I liked how the pick ups were linked in with other techniques, rather than as a stand alone move.
-It introduced a few more gripping options while standing, like the seat belt control and a different way of using a two on one arm grip that I haven’t seen before.
-The techniques started with a common entry and several options which could be tried as a combination or flow.
-All the throws and grips obviously don’t use the gi, which means they transfer more easily to no-gi BJJ and should help in giving me more options.
-A non BJJ / judo orientated take on pinning and turnovers, I will be using the half and quarter nelson a lot more from now on.
Things I didn’t like so much
-Too many techniques and variations, it would have been better to have it broken down into three separate books in more detail and a greater number of photos.
-It requires a fair amount of existing knowledge, trying to explain a lateral drop with a short paragraph and two photos is not exactly the easiest thing in the world.
-Some of the moves are shown badly, the best example is a “front sal to” on page 88 which has one wrestler hitting a back arch while over hooking both his opponents arms with his fists in the guys chest after stepping in to pop his hips. The photo shows the guy being thrown magically floating in mid air, with no details on how the guy gets turned or how both wrestlers don’t land on their necks. I didn’t know how to do a “front sal to” before reading the book and I still don’t know now…
-It could contain more details on the timing required for each move, which ones have a higher risk to reward ratio.
-Tracking the wrestlers footwork can be difficult due to the angle changes.
Who it could help
-People with strong judo / BJJ background or beginner wrestlers who are looking for a wider variety of options for throws, pinning and reversals.
-Awareness of how some wrestling techniques are not well suited to submission grappling or mma (e.g. fireman’s carry) is required.
-A basic level of competency in grappling is needed, the text and photos do leave some steps in between out, which may lose a beginner and ideally your coach would help fill in the gaps. Randy Couture's “Wrestling for fighting” may be more suitable for a complete novice trying to learn wrestling for mma.
It appears to be a good general collection of wrestling techniques and variations, which could help in giving an intermediate grappler more options from the basic moves they are using already. If you are very experienced finding books which focus on specific areas in greater detail, may be a better choice.
"Winning wrestling moves" by Mark Mysnyk
Good work I was finally able to read the whole damn thing, you had quite and adventure there and i like the way you typed it down Though it would be even better if you could post those pics you were snapping away.