Top positive review
High-Quality Wrestling Book for Sport and Self-Defense
Reviewed in the United States on October 9, 2019
Randy Couture's "Wrestling for Fighting" offers the retired UFC fighter's instruction on grappling fundamentals, and adapting those to fighting. MMA changes so quickly that works highlighting a particular fighter's style often are "overcome-by-events." Unlike those works, we get a wrestling tutorial from one of the sport's best. Moreover, the book is beautifully laid out, with full-color photographs from multiple angles. A color coded scheme at the upper right corner of the page, visible when the book is closed, allows quick navigation among the wrestling, Greco-Roman and eponymous "Wrestling for Fighting" sections.
Couture's career trajectory is impressive. He entered mixed-martial arts competitions at a relatively advanced age after an extensive wrestling career that included being a three-time NCAA Division I All-American, a three-time Olympic team alternate and a semifinalist at the 2000 Olympic Trials. That is, Couture's skills always were wrestling weighted; he wasn't well-rounded -- no depth in Muay Thai, not an elaborate submission artist, his punching crude and utilitarian. Couture made his "boxing" work in the clinch, becoming one of the only fighters since the 19th century London Prize Ring Rules to have a "chancery" game. At the same time, Couture neutralized faster, younger fighters' superior hands and kicks by controlling the range and position.
The book reads like a personal lesson from a master. Couture offers some refinements to clinching, holds, set-ups and even advice where to grab an opponent (one sprawl hooks the fingers deep in the armpits for control) that could improve anyone's skills. I picked up tweaks to some basic throws I had done for years, and hadn't realized how I could have been doing them better.
Couture's book also focuses on set-ups from various positions, down to wrist pummeling. Consider how many books focus heavily on takedowns, throws, holds and submission techniques without covering this important entry consideration. The wrestling sections dovetail into the fighting section, where Couture shows how he set up big throws and takedowns with his hands. I gained insights into some of his strategies I hadn't gleaned before. I always wondered why Couture would lead with a massive overhand right, never set up with jab, just lobbed like a death-stroke. If the punch landed, great; more often than not Couture used it to set up big double-leg takedowns when the reeled away from the overhand right. Couture even offers low-risk, no-frills sweeps and other means for taking down an opponent, and techniques for handling an opponent's ground guard. After all, he was a ground-and-pound innovator as well.