Passive Learning vs. Active Practicing

Cary Kolat addresses a question commonly asked of him throughout his career, “How do you wrestle an opponent with a height advantage?”.  Almost every person Kolat wrestled against was taller with a longer reach than him. Merely explaining in a video how to wrestle a taller opponent is not enough to fully learn and implement these techniques. Seeking out a training partner to practice these approaches is the only way to truly build and execute these skills.

Rules of Engagement

Wrestlers who were taller and longer than Kolat had a few commonalities and tendencies they tried to use against him. They would like to post on his head or shoulder and keep distance. Kolat’s strategy was to take the mat away and apply extreme pressure. A typical and classic mat is cut into three strips. His strategy was to pressure them into staying within half the circle and not allow them to run around. Every time they take a step back he would step forward and crowd them. This would force his opponent to take a bad shot. He could then down block and front headlock or close the gap so he could get to his legs. A taller opponent feels just as threatened as you do. With tall opponents, there are a lot of opportunities for font headlock and spin situations. As uncomfortable as you feel with your opponent posting on you, don’t reach for the hands keep taking the mat.

Choosing Wrestling Partners

In order to fully learn these techniques, you have to seek out a longer, taller wrestling partner. During Kolat’s career, he continuously chose to wrestle and drill with all types of wrestlers. He would practice with taller guys or against lighter guys who were faster and try to match their speed. This is so important Kolat uses it during college practices. He’ll tell his wrestlers to switch partners and specifically to find a different body shape. It forces you to realize the adjustments you’re going to need to make against different body shapes. Overall, learning what strategies to use is great but it means nothing if you’re not practicing them before you’re against a taller opponent in competition.


Where to find ASK KOLAT

RUDIS Wrestling Podcast on YouTube