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.