The Life Of Smith: Grappling at Grapple – Round One

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Last week’s article touched upon my travel to Leeds. These next two articles will be predominantly about the training sessions I attended with Grapple Wrestling on the first Thursday’s and Saturday’s of September and explore what I learned and my experiences. They will be more in-depth regarding the inner workings of wrestling than the norm, with the norm resuming week commencing 26th September.

Regardless of this, I hope those reading enjoy this two-part (or round!) article. Of course, e-mail me at maynardsmithlucian@gmail.com or send me a Facebook message for positive or negative feedback.

I had trained with Marty Jones on two previous occasions, which were joint seminars hosted by him and Johnny Saint and took place at the SWE Pro Wrestling School in Dundee. These sessions involved a lot of cardiovascular and conditioning work, something I had been working on and had improved recently so I could fare better in the ring and at training. With Marty being the head trainer of the Grapple Wrestling gym and the man taking the Thursday session I was attending, I would be learning from him again.

The class was well attended and I said hello to a familiar face in David Graves, who wrestles for Grapple as well as other companies in the north of England and beyond and someone I met at my first training camp with Johnny Moss. The class itself started with a warm-up that put my cardio and conditioning to the test as expected, featuring exercises such as push-ups, squats, leg raises and shuttle runs.

After the warm-up, we would then move onto some shoot wrestling, where the objective was to get your opponent’s shoulders down onto the mat for a pinfall, with no strikes or submissions being allowed. As someone that attended some amateur wrestling classes as a teenager, I knew that it was only a one count that was required to obtain a pinfall in this exercise, rather than the classic three count seen in pro wrestling. It had been years since I had done shoot wrestling in training, but I found it very beneficial in regards to conditioning, strength training and what to do if you are in an unexpected situation.

Three different moves were explored at this class, with them being the snapmare, single leg takedown and drop toe hold, all relatively basic moves, but ones that were looked into in detail and ways in and out of these moves were also explored. Going over these details and then being required to put them together in a match situation were also helpful, as each pair demonstrated a three minute sequence involving those moves in front of the class.

I enjoyed getting the chance to show people what I could do during the demonstration and I also picked up a couple of new things along the way. With there seemingly being a stronger emphasis and a higher demand for highspots and hard strikes these days, it was good to see the traditional British style of wrestling and a focus on fundamentals being positively encouraged at Grapple, as I often find these aspects of wrestling to get lost in favour of intricate sequences and moves.

All in all, it was an enjoyable class and I know that Marty is going to be hosting a training camp from 29-30 October at Johnny Moss’s wrestling school in Cumbria. I felt like he admired the fact I had travelled a long distance to train with him and with Grapple and was pleased with my work, which is something that definitely helps my confidence and moving forward with my career. Until then though, that was my first day training at the Grapple Wrestling gym complete and my second one would be two days later on a Saturday, which would be hosted by Paul Parisio and something that I will cover in the second part of this article.

– Lucian Maynard-Smith
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