Having trouble scoring from your feet? Try adding this lateral twist to your arsenal.
Brought to you by 1976 Olympian and US legend John Matthews, this lateral or “Pavel twist” is a quick-hitting technique that could steal the spotlight due to the recent rule change in Senior Greco Roman wrestling. Throws are always nice, but at a level of the sport where jockeying for position (often) dominates the action, you need something else up your sleeve. The best part about the lateral twist is that even if it doesn’t score points, its proper execution will lead directly to your opponent being off-balance, thus opening up other opportunities.
There is a misdirectional component to the lateral twist. One item that Matthews emphasizes is the coercion of an opponent’s weight from the back to the front leg. This all begins with a wrist-and-underhook tie and ends with the underhook arm (in this case, the right) pulling the opponent towards the mat. Another key to pay attention to is stance. Matthews starts off by demonstrating with his left leg leading while his left hand is holding the right wrist of his partner. When it is your left hand holding the right wrist with the right arm acting as the underhook, this technique is executed with the left leg taking the lead. This is evident towards the middle of the video clip when Matthews switches his stance but still follows through with his left leg leading.
Notice how Matthews makes it clear that pressure is the x-factor here. Just having the position and moving your feet is not enough. It is imperative that pressure is created by the motion of your stance. He also asserts that part of the Pavel twist’s effectiveness is predicated upon feeling out your opponent’s aggressiveness and adjusting your own pressure output based on that.
Newer Greco Roman wrestlers or those having trouble translating some of their folkstyle strengths may find that the lateral twist adds a moment of clarity. It is not always about pushing and grinding in hopes of securing a bodylock. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple tie-up position and an understanding of balance and footwork that opens up a whole new world of possibilities. You can drill this technique as a scoring hold, a setup, or go straight to it in your warm-up.
Fast, effective, and available from a variety of tie-up positions, a lateral twist is too important of a technique not to include in your training.