We need wrestling in our schools

James31 Roar Rookie

By James31, James31 is a Roar Rookie

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    With MMA fast becoming the most popular sport in the world, it’s hard to see an Australian or a Kiwi for that matter ever becoming a world contender in the UFC.

    It’s not because we are not talented enough but more because we are at a clear disadvantage.

    The Americans grow up on wrestling – it’s entrenched into them at a young age and is one of the most popular sports amongst young teenagers in the states.

    The collegiate system strongly supports wrestling, and many of the great MMA fighters have been All-Americans.

    Brazillians have jiu-jitsu backgrounds, which also is a favourite pass time in South America.

    If you wondered why all the UFC champions were either from America or Brazil now you know why.

    If Australians want to be a force in MMA, I think we need wrestling in our schools right next to football, rugby union, rugby league, AFL and cricket.

    Guy’s like Jon ‘Bones’ Jones, Rashad Evans, Georges St Pierre and Frankie Edgar have all grown up with wrestling as their chosen sport and have gone on to be wrestling champions through high school and university.

    When most of the professional football codes, whether it’s AFL or rugby, use wrestling coaches for fitness, strategic reasons or tackling methods, doesn’t it make it logical to have wrestling in our schools?

    We could have the next Cain Velasquez or Jon Jones at high school and he wouldn’t get the chance to learn his skills at a young age.

    Australia and New Zealand are producing some awesome fighter’s like Kyle Noke, George Sotiropoulos, Mark Hunt and James Te-Huna, but the reality is these guy’s may never become championship contenders because there wrestling skills aren’t up to scratch with the Americans.

    With wrestling been so dominant in MMA these day’s, it’s hard to see the Southern Hemisphere ever producing top notch fighters unless we start training them at a young age like the South Americans.

    Sotiropoulos been he most decorated fighter coming out of Australia but his last bout was a loss because he was unable to get Denis Siver to the ground.

    His BJJ is very good, but without that All American wrestling style he was unable to pose his will on the German and ended up getting a beating and a half.

    Let’s put things into perspective: if Mark Hunt took on someone like Velasquez it would be over in less than a minute if it went anywhere near the ground.

    We need wrestling in our schools so kids can learn basic self-defense. If they’re good enough they may get scholarships to compete in America.

    Either way, our fighters may never be close to getting a belt, unless they are superb freaks and have been given coaching and direction in their youth.

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    The Crowd Says (17)

    • February 1st 2012 @ 10:12am
      Yahweh Yahya said | February 1st 2012 @ 10:12am | ! Report

      Georges St. Pierre didn’t grow up on wrestling. He also never wrestled in high school or college. He only took up when he started training for MMA. In fact, he says that he learned his wrestling from training with national champions of eastern European countries.

      Sotiropoulos’ last fight wasn’t against Siver. It was against Dos Anjos. He was knocked out with one punch early on in the first round.

    • February 1st 2012 @ 11:06am
      luke20 said | February 1st 2012 @ 11:06am | ! Report

      yeah mate you don’t know what your on about GSP grew up on wrestling he surrounded himself with guy’s like Greg Jackson thats where he got his wrestling european wrestlers have been doing it for year. the writer is right on the money we need to grow up on wrestling if we can ever compete with the likes of Jon Jones. there’s a lot of kiwi’s trainining with Extreme Couture. Thats what guy’s like Te huna need to do I donn’t know what Te huna will learn training at the panthers.

      • February 1st 2012 @ 12:13pm
        Jon said | February 1st 2012 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

        Actually, you’re completely wrong about GSP Luke.
        He only started wrestling when he took up MMA, he definatly did not grow up with it (wrestling is not particularly popular in Canada, certainly not in French Canada). He was in his twenties before he started serious wrestling training.
        And he credits a huge part of his success at wrestling to extensive work with Eastern European Olympic wrestlers. Obviously his time with Greg Jackson would also have helped, but he personally credits European grapplers with developing his game. He said basically that he worked with the best European wrestlers, and suggested that more fighters should work with wrestlers from Europe, and not exclusivly with American wrestlers.
        And in the US wrestling is reasonably popular in high school and college, but it not a major sport. It is well behind other sports like football, hockey, basketball and baseball.
        Further, Brazilians don’t wrestle in high school or college, they focus on BJJ (which most Aussie fighters also focus on).

        Really only the US fighters and a few of the Europeans have a real strong wrestling background. Most Brazilians have a BJJ background, or a striking background, either orthodox boxing or muay thai, combined with BJJ.

        You don’t HAVE to be a great wrestler to compete at the top level – ie Anderson Silva, Junior Dos Santos, Jose Aldo are all champions and none have a wrestling background. What they do have is good or great takedown defence (an apsect of wrestling, but really in a way it’s anti-wrestling, just knowing enough to nulify take downs, and little more), and great BJJ, so they are in little danger if they do get taken down, and can attack with submissions from the bottom.
        They all train in wrestling now, in fact any MMA fighter has to, and they will usually look to guys from the US (though GSP chose European wrestlers) to coach them. GSP is kind of an anomoly, because while he doesn’t have a scholastic background in wrestling, he has been able to train enough, combined with his natural athleticism, that he is now one of the best wrestlers in the UFC, and it is his greatest strength. This is a credit to him as an athlete, remarkable considering he started training wrestling so late.

        Almost all the really succesful US fighters DO have a strong wrestling background. Jon Jones, Frankie Edgar, Dominick Cruz and many challengers like Sonnen, Dan Henderson and Faber are all decorated collegiate wrestlers, some Olympic level.

        But there are many exceptions to the wrestling prototype who are succesful, both from the US (Nick and Nate Diaz are BJJ and boxing specialists, BJ Penn is a BJJ prodigy, with strong but unorthodox striking) and outside the US (Europeans like Overeem, Bisping and Siver are primarily kickboxers, virtually every Brazilian is a BJJ fighter purley like Maia or Dos Anjos, or a striker with strong BJJ like Silva or Dos Santos, and there’s even Okami, who has a Judo background from Japan).

        So it’s not nearly as simple as the atricle makes out. Yes, US fighter do benefit from their strong wrestling backgrounds. But plenty of fighter from other parts of the world are very succesful without the same wrestling pedigree. They make up for it by being world class in other disciplines, whether that’s boxing, muay thai or dutch style kickboxing, BJJ or even Judo, they make it work.
        Ask every single Brazilian champion.

    • February 1st 2012 @ 1:02pm
      James31 said | February 1st 2012 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

      Dude you don’t know what your talking about I have been to wrestling schools in America there full of young kids training to hone in the craft of wrestling they have competitions all the way throw junior college right up to college and it is highly competive guy’s like Matt Hughes Chris Kroschek the list goes on, and comparing the Aussie fighters to the Brazillians come on!!

      • February 1st 2012 @ 1:30pm
        DJ said | February 1st 2012 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

        I dont even know where to start….

        1. “all the way throw junior college ”
        2. “Chris Kroschek ”

        James, seriously, get your fact correct before submitting “articles”…

        1. GSP didnt grow up wrestling… His original discipline is a form of karate I believe.. so he comes from a striking background eventually..
        2. Sots fought Siver 2 fights ago…

        • February 1st 2012 @ 3:42pm
          Jon said | February 1st 2012 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

          Kyokushin karate is what he started with. Then he began training in BJJ, muay thai and wrestling.
          Used a variety of coaches, some Brazilian, some US and some European.
          More than anything else, his natural athleticism is what made him great, combined with his incredible work ethic and discipline.
          He absorbed the stuff he was taught, particularly his wrestling. It’s incredible that a guy who didn’t start wrestling until his twenties has become the best wrestler in the welterwight division.

      • February 1st 2012 @ 3:12pm
        Jon said | February 1st 2012 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

        James, I am American, I’m from Boston. I live in Aus now, but I would bet that I know alot more about the US than yourself.
        As I said, wrestling is reasonably popular in schools in the US (though not all schools) and the better high school wrestlers then go on to very proffesional wrestling competitions in college.
        However, to suggest wrestling is anywhere near as popular or recognised as a sport as baseball, US football, basketball, hockey or even soccer is absurd. These sports (really the first four with soccer a distant fifth) dominate all sporting programs in the US, in almost every school. They receieve the bulk of the funding, interest, popularity and participants. Wrestling is completely ametuer. Before the UFC, wrestlers simply stopped after college, or at best became wrestling coaches at a high school or college.
        The point I was making is that you don’t need to be a scholastic wrestler to succeed in MMA. You must have at least a solid wrestling base in order to prevent takedowns and maybe sneak the odd one yourself (like Overeem for example – a kickboxer who has learnt wrestling fundamentals), but this can be learnt as an adult.
        In fact, with the very occaisonal exception, virtually the only wrestlers are US fighters.
        Brazil is highly succesful without any scholastic wrestling. So are many European and Japanese fighters.
        The point isn’t that Australia is fine, just that introducing wrestling into schools (while not a terrible idea) is not the only way we could produce champions. Perhaps the Brazilian focus on BJJ and kick boxing combined (which has been highly succesful – think Anderson Silva, the Nogeuira brothers, Jose Aldo, Overeem, Bsiping etc) or combining traditional boxing with BJJ (the Diaz brothers, Dos Santos, BJ Penn) would be a better route. It would be alot easier to go the Brazilian way, since we already have many succesful kickboxers and boxers, and good coaches for both, as well as a growing and reasonably strong BJJ community, with a number of top black belts and coaches. It would be alot easier to work with what Aus already has and simply try to merge wrestling into that, then to reinvent the wheel by introducing an entire sport into our school systems (one which is not popular, well known or funded in Australia).

    • Roar Guru

      February 1st 2012 @ 1:28pm
      Sam Brown said | February 1st 2012 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

      It is not as simple as this article makes out. Yes, the US kids often benefit from training in wrestling but that is inly the begining of Mixed Martial Arts. Want an example? Look no further than recently retired Brock Lesnar. There could be no more pure a wrestler but when it came to it a takedown and ground n pound couldn’t keep him at the top.

      Great think piece though. It has got me thinking about combat sports place in Australia. I think there are a lot of rugby league, union and afl players who would have made great MMA fighters had MMA been top of the sporting pile in Australia instead of out footy obsession.

    • February 1st 2012 @ 1:38pm
      Wal Footrot said | February 1st 2012 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

      Bugger UFC, Imagine how much our rugby league teams would benefit!

    • February 1st 2012 @ 2:00pm
      luke20 said | February 1st 2012 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

      gsps striking game sux he rely’s on his wrestling thats what saves him most of the time he’s not a genuine striker noway gsp maybe one in a million. he uses his wrestling to tire guy’s out like pitbull if GSP had no wrestling pitbull would of destroyed him

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