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If you haven't heard Jamill Kelly's Olympic story, then you should immediately stop what you're doing and quickly watch this.
OK, now that we're all caught up we can admit that going from DNP at NCAAs to Olympic silver is one of the greatest leaps in levels in the history of wrestling, right?
So how did Jamill Kelly do it? If you ask him he'll give you a very "Oklahoma" version of the story — modest, unassuming, and almost self-deprecating. The truth is that Jamill Kelly was the perfect storm of the right guy for the job at that perfect time and with the perfect ruleset.
In 2004 the rules of freestyle wrestling were different. If there was no score then you would go to a chest-to-chest clinch and you would wrestle from there. This was right in Kelly's wheelhouse. When I went to Arizona State this winter (because who doesn't want to winter in Tempe?) I got Jamill to open up and teach not only the specific techniques that made his 2004 Olympic run possible, but I also got him to talk about his thought process that went into every position.
The following isn't just a hodgepodge of throws that we happened to capture. This is a very calculated set of techniques that can have you thinking one, two, or even three steps ahead of your opponent.
It All Starts With A Wizzer Kick
When I think of a technique series often times I like to visualize a wagon wheel. There's a cog in the center of the wheel that becomes the de facto 'home position." This is where you create all the different reactions to the original technique. The spokes in the wheel are the reactions. For example, if he moves his head this way, then you do this. Or if he drops his hips this way, you do that, etc.
This whole series of upper body attacks is going to center around this wizzer kick.
Wrap Leg Throw
Depending on how comfortable your opponent is with upper body attacks, they may try to bear hug when you try to wizzer kick. Coach Kelly goes right into a wrap leg throw that can result in big points and, if done well, get a huge POP from the crowd.
Step Around Throw
When you dig in for a big under hook, oftentimes they'll try and rip the hook out. In doing so they open themselves up to Step Around Throw.
When guys feel threatened in those upper body positions they'll pull their hips away from the situation. If you catch them just starting to bail their hips, it's pretty easy to hit an Inside Trip. Jamill breaks it down.
Don't let them bail out! If their hips go away snap them down into a front headlock (or your favorite short offensive position) and score from there.
Far Knee Block
I love this technique. At first glance, it looks really complicated, but if you do everything right (Coach Kelly calls it a "slow suffer"), even if you don't wind up scoring with this technique, you put your opponent in so much danger they'll have to bail out and then you can go back to your snap down.
All The Rest
The rest of Jamill Kelly's series is outstanding. If you have a basic understanding of upper body attacks you should add these to your arsenal right after wrestling season, they'll be match ready by Fargo. Check out the full series here.