Strategy is Key for USA Grappling's Morgan

By Marc Berman

ASTANA, Kazakhstan (September 6th) --  John MORGAN (USA) was only 9 years old when he started traveling the world to compete in speed chess tournaments. He learned to think quick, problem solve and prepare strategically from his chess experience.

For Morgan, who will be representing Team USA at 71kg, Grappling is no different than those early days of chess. He’s forced to make decisions quickly, accessing a database of grappling knowledge while under duress. In his hunt for a world title at this week’s Grappling World Championships Morgan says he’s ready to utilize experiences in chess, folkstyle wrestling, and even surfing if it helps him capture gold.

“Running, surfing, stance motion drills, working defense from the feet, using the labels for reversals and whatever else. I am always focusing on how to integrate it all in a strategy to win against any type of opponent.”

Grappling presents a number of challenges: understanding how to successfully navigate the transitions from top to bottom, takedowns and the groundwork, leglocks and different opponents. It’s a new game for many competitors, but one Morgan says he’s tailored to his training in preparation for the world championships.

“Strategy is everything,” says Morgan. “The inner moment of realizing your not good at something sucks but, you have to go through it to get to the next level.”

Catch Morgan and the rest of Team USA this week on in the United States and internationally on United World Wrestling.



2019 European Grappling Championship


Bucharest, Romania (April 6th) –After an action-filled first day of No-Gi Grappling yesterday, the athletes put on the Gi and tied their belts for action in Grappling. Day 2 was just as good, athletes showcased their adaptability and utilized the Gi to the fullest to tangle up their opponents with sweeps from the guard and chokes from all positions and every angle.

Men’s Grappling

World silver medalist in 2018 and veteran of the 62KG division, Dmytro BARANOV (UKR) came better prepared than ever to this year's European edition. BARANOV (UKR) won 3 matches on his way to the final including a redemption match against France’s Anthony DE OLIVEIRA who defeated him in the final of No-GI yesterday. In the finals against Akhmed Zulpukarovitch MAGOMEDOV (RUS), his veteran's experience proved the difference, winning the match 5-5 ( criteria).

Khachbar KHACHILAEV (RUS) aggression and takedown oriented game were too much for his opponents over the course of both days. At +100KG this explosive athlete was all over his opponents winning gold in both styles. In the final of Grappling, Abdel Hakim DJABALI (FRA) was a game opponent but fell short 5-2.

Women’s Grappling

One gold medal was not enough for Svitlana SKRYPNYK (UKR). After winning big yesterday she followed up with an equally impressive performance in the Gi. Taking on 4 opponents on her way to the finals, SKRYPNYK (UKR) defeated all including the bronze medal winner in No-Gi Anzhelika PEKH (RUS). In the finals match  Polina KRUPSKAIA (RUS) proved to be her toughest test of the day. After an early back take to score 4 points, SKRYPNKY (UKR) was forced to make use of her skilled guard retention to hold off the surging Russian. The 4 points was just enough for the win and with it the title 53KG.

Grappling Team Results:
1.) Russia
2.) Ukraine
3.) Poland

Next up for Grappling and Grappling No-GI will be the Pan-American Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina on  April 15th and 16th. Make sure to catch it all on United World Wrestling.