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1-15 Drill: Freddie vs. Michael

Going back to the Freddie Mercury underhook we discussed before, this drill helps the bottom person develop their skill in winning the battle for the underhook. The top player is also looking to establish a controlling underhook but, the way they go about it has to be different than the bottom player’s method. If the top player uses the Freddie mercury swiveling method, they risk arm drags and back takes. So, I ask my students to lead with the fingers instead, like a swimmer. This is precisely what you want to avoid on bottom but is the best method I know on top. Since it resembles a swimming motion, I call it the “Michael Phelps” underhook. For ease of remembering the drill and relevant points, I call it “Freddie vs Michael.”

The bottom player initiates the game by off-balancing and swiveling their arm underneath their partner’s armpit. The top player, before the bottom player establishes the underhook completely, dives their fingers into their partner’s armpit and digs to establish their underhook. This is repeated for as long as you decide you want your rounds to last, and you should make sure to practice both sides equally. Also, keep in mind the “challenge, but don’t frustrate” concept from the previous drill.

A detail which might help the top player here is to use the free arm to post on your partner’s neck to create distance to pummel under their armpit if they are tight to you. The bottom player can use the off-balancing we discussed earlier to facilitate their part of the game.