Wrestling Fans, I’m Writing a Book. Will You Please Help Me?

I’m writing a book!

I have been in wrestling for a long time now, and along the way, I have learned so many great lessons to help me in other areas of my life. I love the sport, and I really want to give back to the amazing sport that has helped me so much. I have decided to write a book to help out parents with the sport of wrestling. When my older brother and I got into the sport of wrestling, my parents were starting from scratch. They had no experience whatsoever with a sport like wrestling. I can only imagine some of the questions and concerns that they had. Well I want to be able to help some other parents who are new to wrestling, or maybe just provide a little different perspective to seasoned wrestling parents, so I am writing a book. I want it to be a good book that people will find helpful, but in order for me to do that, I need your help. I need to know what are the questions that parents have about how they can help their kids in the sport of wrestling. As a parent, I know that I want to do everything that I can to help my children succeed in life. When something is important to my children, it instantly makes it that much more important to me too. I know how addictive the sport of wrestling is and how much of one’s heart and soul that an individual will put into the sport. When you see your child struggle so much, you want them to succeed.

This is how you can help me 🙂

So this is how you could help me, and I am even going to try to bribe you to get your help. If you leave me your BIGGEST QUESTION, OR QUESTIONS, about what you want to know about helping your child succeed in the sport of wrestling, I will give you a FREE copy of the book when I am finished with it. Please just leave a comment to this post by clicking the link that says “Leave a reply” above the post. Thank you in advance for your help with this. Also if you could share a link to this post on your Facebook or Twitter feed as well as forwarding it to your friends, that would be awesome. I am trying to get as much feed back as I can. Writing a book is something that is intimidating but so exciting as well. Thank you in advance for your help. I really appreciate it!

About The Author

Justin Ruiz is a college and youth wrestling coach. He was a 2x NCAA All American for the University of Nebraska, 6x World Team Member, and a World Bronze Medalist. He is currently an assistant coach at Utah Valley University and is one of the founders,partners, and coaches of Fortius Wrestling Club, a club that offers wrestling training and coaching to elementary, junior high, and high school athletes. To contact Justin visit the link here. Please remember to like the Fortius Wrestling page on Facebook here. You can also sign up for email updates via the form on the home page.

Every kid should wrestle

10 Reasons Why Kids Should Wrestle

10 Reasons Why Kids Should Wrestle

Wrestling is a great sport that teaches athletes so many valuable lessons about sport and life in general. Dan Gable, legendary University of Iowa coach, World, and Olympic Champion; is quoted as saying “Once you have wrestled, everything else in life is easy.” I still think that life can continue to throw powerful punches and challenges, however, I am in agreement that wrestling is a sport that teaches hard work and personal accountability. If one fails on the wrestling mat, there is no one else to blame but the individual. It is hard to blame a coach or a teammate for a sub par performance, and wrestling forces an individual to look inward to see what you’re really made of. Here are my top ten reasons why kids should wrestle.

1. Wrestling develops basic athletic skills

Wrestling is one of those sports that requires a lot of body control. It isn’t enough to be able to run, jump, or throw. You have to be able to use your neck, your back, your arms, your legs, and everything else that you can control to help you to win a match. One of the staples of a good wrestling practice is tumbling in the warm up. People often recognize the value of signing children up in gymnastics, but many people are unaware that there are a lot of tumbling and gymnastics movements that are a part of wrestling practice. We make sure to spend a portion of every practice, especially with our youngest athletes, on tumbling. You have to build an athlete before you can turn him into a wrestler. That is not even to mention all of the flexibility, strength, explosiveness, and skill required to execute a lot of wrestling moves effectively.

2. Wrestling develops personal responsibility

Wrestling is a sport that makes you responsible like no other. Whether you win or lose, it’s entirely up to you. You are responsible for your training. You are responsible for making weight. You have to score. It’s all on you. There are dual competitions and team tournaments where every individual’s performance comes into play, but your teammate can’t step in to tag you out, if things aren’t going your way. You have to be ready to be ready to perform every single match.

3. Wrestling develops mental toughness

The training that is required for wrestling is very intense to say the least. In just a six minute match, you can feel entirely wiped out. In the heat of a tough match, your lungs can burn, your legs and back can be worn out, and your forearms can be completely swollen with blood. Because of the intense nature of the sport, you have to be prepared for anything. You also have to be mentally tough and prepared to square up one on one with your opponent. If you step on the mat, and you don’t believe that you are going to win, you are in trouble. You have to be mentally strong to be ready to perform under pressure on a regular basis. You have to be mentally prepared to push your body beyond what it wants to do.

4. Wrestling teaches about nutrition and weight maintenance

One of the hardest parts of wrestling is making weight. It is a challenge to go through the regular wrestling workouts, and when you are cutting weight, you also will probably be doing extra workouts on the side as well as cutting your calorie intake. You have to learn how to say no to the cake and say yes to fresh fruits and vegetables. You have to learn to say no to the soda and chips and say yes to water and chicken breasts. The better you eat, the more energy that you will have, and the better that you will perform.

5. Wrestling brings kids together and builds a strong camaraderie

Adversity has a way of bringing people together, and due to the challenges that a wrestler faces on a daily basis in practice and competition, the bonds between wrestlers become very strong. In a wrestling practice, you have a group of guys that are giving it their very all to become the best they can be, and in order to do that, they have to compete against each other, day in and day out. However, even though guys are trying to break their opponent during practice, they can also be some of the best friends after practice is over. There is a great feeling of empathy that is developed for the other athletes, and when they win big matches, you are happy for them. When they lose big matches, you can feel the sting of their loss too.

6. Wrestling develops discipline

To be successful in wrestling, you have to develop discipline. You can’t just show up to practice whenever you want to, or else you will not be properly prepared to compete. You can’t just compete on the days that you feel like it, and you can’t just watch your diet occasionally. You have to develop and stick to a routine. If you are undisciplined in any of your efforts, it can be disastrous further down the road when you show up to a competition untrained or unprepared. You have to do the work every day.

7. Wrestling brings different cultures and countries together

Wrestling is a sport that helps bring people together. Even though the competition is fierce, most wrestlers are able to look past where an individual is from. If you walk around in various cities all across the world, people can recognize your cauliflower ear, and they know you are a wrestler. Wrestling took me all across the globe, and I still have some great friends from other countries of the world like Germany, Egypt, Cuba, and Hungary just to name a few.

8. Wrestling teaches an individual how to focus on something and master it

There are a lot of techniques that you can try to master in wrestling, but the very best wrestlers usually have one or two moves that are unstoppable. It takes a lot of time and repetition to get a move down just right so that it can be executed during competition. Bruce Lee wasn’t a wrestler, but he has a quote that I really like. It says, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” This quote applies to wrestling as well. The wrestlers who dabble in a lot of different things, won’t be the greatest. The wrestler that can discipline themselves to focus on one technique and master it, will give themselves a great opportunity to win.

9. Wrestling provides opportunities to further education

Let’s face it. It is very unlikely that most wrestlers will get paid much, if anything at all, to wrestle. However, wrestling can provide an opportunity to earn a scholarship to wrestle in college and further one’s education. A lot of times when people think of getting a scholarship to wrestle in college, they immediately think that division I schools are the only places that they can go to get a wrestling scholarship. The truth is that there are more opportunities to wrestle in college and get school paid for by competing in other divisions as well. Division II, NAIA, and junior colleges also have programs will scholarships available. If young wrestlers are committed to the sport and do their homework about wrestling programs, hopefully, they will be able to find a school that they can wrestle at and further their education as well.

10. Wrestling is fun

Last but not least, wrestling is fun! Despite all of the challenges that are a part of the sport, it is so much fun and so rewarding to go compete and win. Having your hand raised at the end of a match is a great feeling. It is a very satisfying feeling to know that you are able to work hard, improve your skills, face challenges, and overcome them. You know that no matter what life throws at you, that you will be able to prepare for it, and come out okay on the other side.


Wrestling is such an amazing sport that provides youth an opportunity to learn things that will help them throughout their lifetime. It helps to develop strong minds and strong bodies. It helps youth to learn to set and work to achieve goals. It is a great sport that I am very grateful to have competed in, and I am still very fortunate to be able to continue to coach and pass along lessons that I have learned along the way. If you are a wrestler that is still competing, I hope that you continue to do so and keep learning things. If you are a parent of wrestlers, I hope that you continue to encourage them to work hard. If you don’t wrestle, I encourage you to give it a try. Finally, if you are a parent of youth that don’t wrestle, I encourage you to encourage them to try out wrestling. Even if they only do it for a short time, they will be forever changed.

About The Author

Justin Ruiz is a college and youth wrestling coach. He was a 2x NCAA All American for the University of Nebraska, 6x World Team Member, and a World Bronze Medalist. He is currently an assistant coach at Utah Valley University and is one of the founders,partners, and coaches of Fortius Wrestling Club, a club that offers wrestling training and coaching to elementary, junior high, and high school athletes. To contact Justin visit the link here. Please remember to like the Fortius Wrestling page on Facebook here. You can also sign up for email updates via the form on the home page.



Simple Chop Breakdown And Tilt From Top Position

The tilt is a great technique to score quick and easy points from the top position. A couple of key points are to use your legs to drive forward and keep pressure on your opponent, and to control your opponent’s hips and arm.

When you are using your knee to drive your opponent forward, you should literally knee him in the butt. The forward momentum will help to knock him off of his base, and it will make it easier for you to trap your opponent’s arm.

To keep your opponent’s arm controlled, I like to grip with my thumb next to my index finger instead of wrapping the thumb around his bicep. Then you want to pull your elbow back and towards your ribs. After you suck the arm back and keep your elbow pinched to your side, it is hard for your opponent to get his arm back.

Your other arm should be wrapping deep around your opponent’s waist to control his hips. Make sure to drive forward over the shoulder to pull his hips close to yours.

Take the time to master this move, and you will see how easy it is to pick up points from the top position.

How To Defend Leg Ride Attacks

One of the worst places to be during a wrestling match is to be stuck underneath a good leg rider. The leg ride position allows the top wrestler to use a lot of pressure to wear down their opponents lower back. Being on the bottom for too long can take a lot of energy out of the wrestler. It is very important to get to a good position that will allow the bottom wrestler an opportunity to take the control back in the match. There are a couple of key points to consider.

The first thing that you want to be aware of is that you need to protect your arms, especially the arm that is opposite of the leg that your opponent has in. So for example, if your opponent has their left leg in, you will want to protect your right arm at all costs. That opposite arm is the one that your opponent will most likely be attacking. I like to pull my arm in and keep it tucked tightly against my body. This helps to prevent the top wrestler to be able to get my arm and crank on it or pull it back.

The second thing that I like to do is to sit to the hip on the same side that he has his leg in. This helps you to get off of your base and it puts him on his butt. If I end up on my stomach and he is free to crank over my hips with his leg, that is really going to wear out my lower back and provide him with a chance to turn me. Also if he gets on opportunity to crank on me from the top position, it will make me more tired as I do get up to my feet. I want to spend as little time as possible underneath my opponent.

The key to being successful on the bottom position is to always be moving and improving your position. You only need to make small improvements, but the key is to keep advancing. You have to be patient, and you have to be smart. If you rush something or panic, you are more likely to provide your opponent with opportunities to score.

I hope that this video will help you to find your way to get out of a leg ride, just in case you find yourself in that position.

Stuff The Head And Score From A Single Leg

This video shows another one of Erkin’s favorite ways to defend the single leg attack. He does a great job of stuffing the head and pinching the head with his legs. Surprisingly, there are a lot of wrestlers who don’t take full advantage of the ability to use the legs in wrestling. If you are able to use your legs to your advantage, more and more scoring opportunities will continue to open up. You should also know that Erkin has his opponents waist wrapped tightly with his arm. As he drives his opponent over his hips and shoulder, he releases his arm from the waist so that he can post with it as he hits the mat with his opponent. If you don’t release your arm from the waist, it is easy to get caught up back in a scramble position that will give your opponent an opportunity to score.

This technique just like any other requires lots and lots of repetitions to master it. If you see a technique that you like, take time every day to drill it over and over so that you can get the move down and use it in competition. It is a process of working on a little bit here and there to become very effective with it. Don’t get frustrated if you don’t get it the first time out, most people don’t. Be patient with yourself and keep getting the reps in. You will be glad that you did.

Defend From A Single Leg Attack

There are many ways to defend from a single leg attack. Today’s technique focuses on countering your opponent from the standing single leg position and ending up scoring points from that position. Pay close attention to Erkin’s hand placement as he secures this move. He does a good job of basically grabbing a two on one while his opponent is controlling his leg. This is a great defensive technique, especially if you need to score multiple points at the end of a match that you might be losing.

We are very fortunate to have Erkin as a coach. He grew up in his native Uzbekistan and trained under some of the top talent and training programs from the former Soviet Union, a country that was known for their dominance in the sport of wrestling. Even today the countries that used to make up the Soviet Union are still very successful in the sport of wrestling at the Olympic and World Championship level.

Feel free to stop by during a practice to learn more great technique and prepare to be a wrestling champion.

How To Score From A Front Head Lock

The front head lock is a very common position in all types of wrestling. You can find yourself in the position from a poor shot by your opponent or you can snap them down and force them into the position. It is definitely worth the effort to learn how to do this technique well and develop the ability to execute the move in competition.

The first step to having a good front head lock is to get your opponent to tense up a little bit. This tension in your opponent will allow you to move him easier than if he is relaxed. One of the best ways to create this tension is to push into your opponent and use your hips to create pressure on him. The second step is to pull him down to the mat. You need to work hard to get his elbow on the mat because that allows you to get past one of his lines of defense. Keep your weight on his elbow as you circle around. The third step is to get a solid hold of your opponent’s leg. I like to grab the hamstring. The reason we want to get to a leg is to keep his hips from moving around. As you try to go around your opponent, he will try to square up with you and face you. He knows that if he gives you the angle that it will be hard for him to get it back. After you have the leg secure, keep circling around behind your opponent until you can scoop their ankle with your foot. This will help to secure the take down as well as prevent your opponent from moving much in the bottom position. It also opens up a new series of techniques that you can apply from the top position.

Hopefully as you continue to work on this technique, you will be able to see how effective this move is for scoring on opponents even at a very high level of wrestling. Good luck and please keep checking back for more great wrestling tips and techniques.

How To Develop Neck Strength For Wrestling and Combat Sports

Our last post was about how to build mental toughness. Today we will be learning about some of the exercises that you can do to build up a strong neck.

If you look around any wrestling tournament, you will notice that there are a lot of wrestlers with strong necks. It is one of the important aspects of the sport. By having a strong neck, you will be able to handle a match when your opponent is constantly trying to pull on your head and wear you down. However, most people aren’t born with extremely strong necks, and it is important to do the exercises that will help you to develop a good strong neck.

Some of the best exercises to develop a strong neck are: front bridges, back bridges, bridge flips, and bridge circles. Watch the video to see how these exercises are performed.

How To Develop Mental Toughness

How can you develop mental toughness? That is a great question, and depending who you ask, there are many different answers. However, what it really comes down to is striving to do more than you think you can do, and not giving up in the process. As wrestlers we are very fortunate to have the opportunity to develop mental toughness each and every day that we step onto the mat. If you aren’t mentally tough, you are going to have a rough go in your matches as well as life. But don’t worry, fortunately mental toughness is a learned skill, just about like anything else.

Let me share with you a couple of stories about me that helped me to develop mental toughness. The thing about mental toughness is that developing it is often times a challenge and is painful, but the lesson is generally worth the pain. While I was attending college at the University of Nebraska, we wrestled a 30 min live go one day. My partner was Matt Lindland, a world and Olympic silver medalist, the match was very one sided in his favor. He took me down in probably under a minute, then he rode me until the 15 minute mark. I tried to stand up, I couldn’t get away. I tried to roll, I couldn’t get away. I tried to switch, I couldn’t get away. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get away from him. I was frustrated and starting to get more and more tired every minute that passed with him on top of me. At the 15 minute mark, he cut me loose, and we were back wrestling on our feet once again. I was so glad to be back in a neutral position, and I felt like I would have a much better chance now that we were back standing. Unfortunately for me, I was dead wrong. He took me down again in under a minute and continued to ride me for the duration of the 30 min period.

The worst part about it wasn’t even that he rode me out, but rather the way that he did it. He was torturing me. He drove me to the edge of the mat in the corner and literally stuffed me in the corner. I was stuck in the corner furious that he had stuffed me in the corner, but I couldn’t get out. It was definitely a humbling experience that I will never forget. Despite my discomfort, something very positive came from that experience. I made up my mind right then and there, that I would never get ridden like that ever again. I worked harder and longer in that position to be able to get away from the best guys in the country, and the hard work paid off. I became very good and the bottom, and nobody ever rode me like that again.

Another time when I feel like I developed mental toughness was when I went on a run with a folding chair over my head. It was a running practice, and before we hit the track our coach told us to grab a metal folding chair. I didn’t have a clue as to why we would need chairs to go on a run, but I soon found out. We ran laps around the track, and all the while we were running we were supposed to keep pressing the chair up and down above our heads. A couple laps in and my shoulders were burning up. The chair didn’t weigh that much, but it sure felt heavy. By the end of the run, my shoulders were exhausted and I barely had the strength the keep it moving. I started to just let the chair bounce off of my head as I finished my last lap. It helped a little with the burning in the shoulders, but it didn’t do much to make my head feel good.

After the run, I put my chair away and was happy that I was able to finish with the chair above my head. I had finished doing something that was difficult, and I didn’t give up in the process. So the next time that you are looking to develop more mental toughness realize a few key things.
1) Do more than you think that you can do
2) Don’t give up
3) Try not to get too discouraged when you hit a rough patch or things get hard. Keep going and they will get better.

Thanks for reading our blog, and please come in for a practice. You can see our practice times here. Keep training hard and remember “Don’t think, just throw.” – Coach Ruiz

How To Develop A Sweeping Shot For Wrestling

There are so many different types of shots in wrestling that it is easy to ask yourself “which one is the best?” My answer to that would be, “whatever works for you and your wrestling stlye.” In a previous post, we covered a type of shot where you drive through your opponent and change direction. That type of shot is best for double leg attacks and high crotch attacks. The type of shot that we are covering today is good for single leg attacks. Even if you have a good double or high crotch, you are still going to want to develop a decent single leg attack.

By having the ability to attack both sides of the body, you allow yourself a better chance of scoring even when your opponent is able to shut down your offense to one side of your body. If my opponent is protecting his left leg from my left side high crotch, then it is very likely that his right leg will be leading. If I can shoot a single leg to that right side, then I will have a better chance of being able to score on my opponent, even though he isn’t giving me my preferred attack. It is this game of strategy and cat and mouse that makes wrestling fun. You execute a technique, and your opponent executes a counter. Then you have to come up with a way to beat the counter and score points. Back and forth, back and forth you learn how to create opportunities.

Creating opportunities in wrestling is much like creating opportunities in life in general. Maybe you learn how do something really well, but then a change in your industry or life circumstances makes you find a new way to survive, excel, and thrive. If you learn how to counter the counters, you will be more successful. If you aren’t able to counter the counters, you might have a rough spot until you learn to adapt.

Learn how to counter the counters and develop the techniques and skills that you need to be successful. Come train with us at Fortius Wrestling, and see the difference that you can make in your wrestling.