One of the hallmarks of the last decade is the emergence of wrestling superstars. These fighters adopted different techniques to remain unpredictable, yet lethal enough to allow them rise to the top. So, what is chain wrestling and what does it entail?

Chain wrestling is a wrestling approach where the wrestler strings multiple fighting sequences in a looping manner. Its objective is to counter your opponent’s defense by transitioning to another fighting sequence after they stop your first approach. 

This article will explain the basics of chain wrestling, including its definition and the advantages it offers a wrestler. Read on to get a better understanding of this wrestling approach and some of the main rules associated with the sport. 

Definition of Chain Wrestling

Chain wrestling is a wrestling strategy whereby the athletes perform reverse holds in a continuous out-of-motion looping manner. Accordingly, the wrestler appears to be flowing through their moves without hesitation in a bid to counter their opponent. 

According to Pro Wrestler, chain wrestling is a wrestling art where the athlete links multiple moves together without hesitation. In this approach, the wrestler seeks to take their opponent down. In his book on chain wrestling, Ron Beer describes it as a unique drill performed in a continuous looping motion.

When chain wrestling, the wrestler constantly thinks of takedowns while hunting for submissions. Conducting moves in a looping fashion allows the wrestler to create an additional opportunity to force submissions. This approach is effective because it provides additional opportunities to force a surrender should the first attempt fail.

By making the submission attempts in a loop, the wrestler essentially sets up a series of chains. BJJ world further explains that setting up this chain allows the wrestler to shuffle through their options as they hunt for a submission. 

These chains thus provide a wrestler with additional opportunities for submissions or to take down the opponent. This is also where the wrestling strategy derives its name. 

As further elaborated by One Shot MMA, the wrestler moves fluidly through their sequences. And since they don’t focus on any specific strategy, other than the looping, they can switch their approach seamlessly.  

What Are Chain Wrestling’s Advantages?

Whether or not a fighter uses chain wrestling depends on their preference. But when it comes to fighting strategy, the objective is to get an advantage over your opponent. So why should you consider using it?

The advantages of chain wrestling are that it allows a wrestler to be unpredictable and increases their chances of winning. One of the drawbacks of sticking to one strategy is that it becomes easy to read and anticipate your moves.

The thing is, expert wrestlers are adept at reading their opponent’s approach and reacting to it. 

This is particularly so as the match progresses. Therefore, sticking to one strategy throughout the fight is not a winning formula. 

In chain wrestling, the wrestler will switch up their approach mid-match. This adds an aura of unpredictability to the fight. 

Think of the following scenario for a moment. When an opponent figures out a wrestler’s approach, they will adopt a defensive stance to counter it. Therefore, if the wrestler sticks to their initial strategy, they will lose. 

However, chain wrestling allows the wrestler to switch their attack. If the opponent changes their attacks to match this new approach, then the wrestler switches their attack once more.

Naturally, this approach requires the wrestler to be highly knowledgeable in different wrestling approaches. 

The video below explains how this strategy is a continuous movement (looping sequence). The wrestler does not stop switching his wrestling approach until he has pinned his opponent to the ground. 

Drilling in Chain Wrestling

Ted Witylski from explains that drilling helps wrestlers enhance their fighting technique. In these drills, wrestlers have more freedom to try out different approaches in order to defeat an opponent. 

For example, one wrestler can attempt a takedown while the other tries to land in a few shots. This back-and-forth approach allows the wrestlers to trade takedowns and perfect their moves. The objective of these drills is to teach wrestlers to use switches, stepovers or tilts to gain a position of control. 

These drills will also teach wrestlers, especially younger ones, how to successfully perform crawls and other approaches. More importantly, wrestlers can learn to perform these techniques in static positions as well as while in motion.

Using Chain Wrestling Drills in a Match

Chain wrestling increases your chances of winning in a match. However, your success largely depends on your knowledge about the various drills. To get a good understanding of how it works in a fight, let’s analyze John Smith’s formula.

John Smith’s Chain Wrestling Formula

John Smith’s formula focuses on always staying on the offensive. In his video explaining this formula (see above), John Smith highlights these key moves:

  1. The wrestler goes for the high crotch.
  2. Once stopped, the wrestler switches to a drag out.
  3. Next, the wrestler switches to a breakdown, then to a wrist.
  4. Finally, the wrestler switches to the back, and the sequence continues.

These steps exemplify what chain wrestling is all about. The fighter goes through multiple drills, switching from one to the other to counter defenses. This allows them to score points while staying on the offensive. 

How To Improve Chain Wrestling Skills

Although chain wrestling sounds easy, perfecting your skills takes a lot of time and dedication. According to Attack Wrestling, becoming a good wrestler takes time and practice. However, there are a variety of training packs and academies that can help you improve your skills.

To improve your chain wrestling skills, I recommend focussing on the following tips:

  • Learn how to string together numerous moves to strengthen your skills.
  • Learn how to effectively transition from one flow to another when your first attempt fails.
  • Work on your high-intensity practice drills as often as possible to develop chain wrestling-specific conditioning.
  • Purchase a chain wrestling program to provide some much-needed guidance.
  • Learn different chain wrestling drills.

Still, there is more to honing your mastery as a chain wrestler than just learning drills. As One Shot MMA explains, a wrestler needs to be able to string these sequences together, almost subconsciously. 

Accordingly, the wrestler does not have to think about their next move. Instead, they should transition seamlessly between these moves automatically. Remember, fighting is instinctive in nature. Any delays as a fighter tries to think of their next move will inevitably place them at a fighting disadvantage. 

Final Thoughts

In closing, chain wrestling involves moving through a series of fighting sequences subconsciously and in a lopping fashion. This allows a wrestler to quickly transition to a different fight sequence if their opponent stops their first approach. It also makes the wrestler less predictable in a fight.

There are different ways to hone your chain wrestling skills, including drilling, conditioning, and training as often as possible. These will help you make chain wrestling close to second nature and give you an edge in a match. Go ahead, try some of these techniques to improve your game.

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