Hand Fighting for Wrestling
Hand fighting helps you score takedowns on any opponent that stands before you. In reality most of your takedowns will stem from how good your hand fighting is. The one exception is when you use strictly speed for a setup. That is rare. The majority of wrestlers rely on their hand fighting to set up their shots.
What is Hand Fighting?
Hand fighting comes down to the wrestling tie-up. The first step is making contact with your opponent with your arm that is protecting your back leg. For instance, in my stance my right leg is in front so I always reach for my opponent with my left hand first. If I reached for my opponent with my right arm first, my right leg that is closest to him, is open for a leg attack.
Now that you and your opponent are close enough to score takedowns you must immediately begin to set your opponent up. The longer you wait, the more time you give him to secure a takedown. Always stay in a good WRESTLING STANCE. Try to get angles on your opponent by snapping his head, pushing him around and always moving your feet side to side.
The major mistake I see in high school wrestling is opponents locked up ear to ear. Simply put that is not a good position. Your body can’t move anywhere if your head is glued to opponent’s ear.
Sometimes as you are hand fighting you might hear a coach yell, “Get inside control!” He is referring to your hand position on your opponent. You have inside control when your arms are inside of your opponent’s arms when you lock up. My hands operate like little hooks that latch behind my opponent’s shoulders and sink into his armpits. I shot my fireman’s carry and outside single leg as soon as I could establish that inside control. Each shot went to a different leg to confuse my opponent.
When you are hand fighting, you want to be forehead to forehead with your opponent. Then start to work getting angles to take your opponent down. If two high level wrestlers are scrapping sometimes neither one can establish inside control. That is when you turn to your hand fighting from outside the tie-up. It involves faking shots, establishing wrist control, snapping his head, establishing two-on-ones etc…
Remember that the point of hand fighting is to set up a takedown.
Make sure everything you do when you are hand fighting is moving you closer to that goal. Don’t snap your opponent’s head just to snap his head. Make sure there is a point to why you do that. Every time you break your stance you are opening yourself up for an attack. Control the hand fighting, you control the takedowns, and ultimately you control the match.