Half Nelson Wrestling In 10 Steps

If one series was to be declared the undisputed king of top techniques, it would be the half nelson wrestling series. The half nelson series has few defenses, and despite how effective it is, there is not very much technique required to execute it. All that is required to be extremely effective with it is a hard nose and the will to win.

Step 1 of Half Nelson Wrestling Technique:  The Breakdown

With your best breakdown, in this case the ankle down, break your opponent to their belly. Immediately transition to a three post position – both of your feet in the mat, your non-half nelson forearm at the base of the back of your opponent’s neck. You will need to use your hips and legs to drive the weight forward to keep their head down to later apply the half nelson.

Step 2 of Half Nelson Wrestling Technique: Get A Deep Half Nelson

When applying the half nelson, throw an uppercut with your half nelson arm under the opponent’s arm and drive it forward. When securing the half nelson, your fingertips should grab the opponent’s far ear and you should be able to read your wristwatch – if you had one on.

Step 3 of Half Nelson Wrestling Technique: Basic Half Nelson

When the half nelson is applied, drive the opponent to their opposite side than which you’re on. Once they are on their side, sink your arm elbow deep with your throat resting on their side. This will ensure the proper chest-to-chest pinning position with the half nelson. In the pin position, be sure to have your forehead on the mat and your feet wide, at the same time lifting your opponent’s head to apply the maximum amount of body pressure.

Step 4 of Half Nelson Wrestling Technique: Power Half Nelson

If the opponent puts up a bigger fight, the power half nelson will be needed. This time when you apply the half nelson, turn your non-half nelson hand up and lock your half-nelson hand on top of it. This will create a prybar affect on your opponent’s arm. Drive your opponent to their side so you can “read your wristwatch”. Finish the power half nelson the same way as you do the basic half nelson.

Step 5 of Half Nelson Wrestling Technique:  Spike Half Nelson

If your opponent builds up to their base, keep your elbow up at all times. Step up with your front foot and plant your inside knee in front of your opponent’s inside knee. Your first objective is to gather the far wrist by running over it. If you can keep the wrist, do so. If you feel yourself getting too high, release the wrist and get the pin by applying the same half nelson finish and the previous situations.

Step 6 of Half Nelson Wrestling Technique: Sweep Half Nelson

If you can not perform the spike half nelson, slide your inside knee in front of opponent’s inside knee. Sweep the opponent across your knee by pulling the half nelson and the wrist. This will put them on their far side, in the same position as the previous finishes. Understand that if you get to this step, you’ll probably have to use a combination of the sweep and spike half nelsons to get them onto their side.

Step 7 of Half Nelson Wrestling Technique: Suck Back

The changeover is an effective way to combat a good half nelson, you have to be ready for it. When your opponent tries a changeover from your half nelson position, release the half nelson and hook under both of their armpits. Drop step back, pull them back to danger position and put your chin on top of their shoulder to secure them to the mat. To get the pin, release the hook on the opoosite side of your head and wrap it on top of the front of your opponent’s head. Drive your shoulder into their chest as you turn the same hip down to ensure the pin.

Step 8 of Half Nelson Wrestling Technique: Hook and Post the Head

If your opponent turns away from the suckback, hook their elbow on the same side as your head. Put your elbow in their back, come off your knees to keep the pressure on them and post your other hand on their head to stop them from getting to their belly. Rotate out front of your opponent and replace your hand that is posting the head with your corresponding knee. With both hands, pull the hooked arm to your chest and thread the your arm opposite the hook. You are now in a deep half nelson position and can take them to danger. This and the suckback finish can both be used when the opponent is balling up on bottom. If they are doing that, pull them up to a sit position and perform either finish.

Step 9 of Half Nelson Wrestling Technique:  Spiral Ride Half Nelson

From the referees position, as you step your lead foot up, place your belly button hand inside your oponent’s thigh and your elbow hand extends their arm above the elbow. Be sure to get high on your opponent’s base to keep the weight forward and use your head to drive their head down. Keep driving the opponent down, with a combination of lifting their arm and driving their head down, as you drive your half nelson in and look for the far wrist. Once you get the half nelson, the series starts.

Step 10 of Half Nelson Wrestling Technique: Near Wrist Roll Half Nelson

Another great setup to the half nelson series is to capitalize off your opponent’s near wrist defense. Apply a near wrist to your opoonent. When they roll their wrist to clear, hook the elbow and throw your half nelson in from that side. The half nelson series now starts.

The keys to this series are securing a proper breakdown, and keeping weight forward throughout. Once these parts of the technique are established, the different options within the series will present themselves. Master a series which is both technical, and punishing!

Punish on Top, Coach Weber


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