The Cop’s Russian is a combat variant of the Russian Tie. Wrestling is a very diverse, constantly evolving art. The Russian Tie exists in Greco-Roman wrestling, Freestyle wrestling, Folk (high school and collegiate) wrestling, as well as Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Submission wrestling and Catch wrestling. Therefore, what constitutes a “normal” Russian Tie may vary depending on who you talk to. Here is the Russian Tie as it was taught to me in the US.
The “normal” Russian Tie
As I have said in the Cop’s Russian chapter, the grips and leg positions are different in Russian Tie than Cop’s Russian.
From that Russian Tie position, your goal is to bend your opponent forward at the waist so that he is doubled over and staring at the mat. PIC
You do this by moving your upper body forward and down.
Ukrainian Variant Russian Tie
The differences between a normal Russian Tie and the Ukrainian Variant include the placement of your head, hands and feet.
So as you see, this Ukrainian Variant is very different than a normal Russian Tie which is very different than a Cop’s Russian. For sport purposes, the advantage of combining a normal Russian Tie with its Ukrainian Variant is that it makes you less predictable. When the opponent expects you to go clockwise, you go counter-clockwise. When he protects his elbow, you attack his shoulder.
For combat, I prefer the Cop’s Russian to both of them because it’s easier and less risky for me to take people into a wall than it is to take them down. Or, if I’m going to take them down I’d rather take them to the wall first to break their balance and then take then down than try to take them down in open space.
But what if there’s no wall?
Well then, taking people down in open is easier than trying to disarm somebody standing in open space. If I’m trying to take somebody down from Cop’s Russian there might not be time for me to switch grips, but the mechanics of these other variants give me options:
Do I put my head behind his shoulder or up against his shoulder?
Do I put my near leg forward, my far leg forward or do I sprawl both legs backwards?
Do I spin myself and my Badguy clockwise or counter-clockwise?
Do I attack his shoulder or his elbow?
The answer will of course depend on any number of things within that situation but mainly on how my Badguy is moving at that particular point in time. If I make all three variants part of my Narrow Focus and I put in the necessary training time to get to a good level of timing with all 3 variants, I will have more options to flow into what my Badguy is doing.
Three variants of Russian Tie is enough for my Narrow Focus, but for my Wide Range I will probably be visiting Greco-Roman Wrestling instructors all over the world and picking up variants until I’m too old to train. The reason is that I want as a deep an understanding of Russian Tie as possible.
There are many takedowns and armlocks but for dealing with weapons they are all secondary to the Russian Tie because the Russian Tie in 30 years of exploring martial arts the Russian Tie is the only arm control that I know of that maintains 3 points of control (Maybe Chickenwing and Hammerlock have three points of control if you do them right, but they have other disadvantages.) Double-Leg and Single-Leg takedowns, bodylocks and most throws are a very bad idea against a knife. All of your takedowns must maintain the best arm control possible and that means the Russian Tie and its variants.
So what if my Badguy somehow blocks all 3 variants?
Are there more ways to take a Badguy down from Russian Tie without letting go of his weapon arm?
The Shoulder Shrug
The Russian Tie has many entries but within the art of wrestling there are 3 entries that are particularly useful: Shoulder Shrug, Arm Drag and Baseball Grip.
The most common entry is the Shoulder Shrug:
Opponent puts you in a collar tie (grabs you by the head or neck). In one motion you will move several parts of your body clockwise.
Ukrainian Variant Shoulder Shrug
I learned this Ukrainian Variant of the Shoulder Shrug from its inventor, Renat Akhmedhanov, of SpartaBox gym in Kiev. The body mechanics with the Ukrainian Variant are identical to that of a normal Shoulder Shrug. The only difference is the added feature of a “Pinch and Twist”, which, in my opinion, makes the Ukrainian Variant superior to the Shoulder Shrug I had learned in the US.
The secret of this move is not the pinch. The pinch is a weak control that would only hold a strong opponent for only a second at best. However, the pinch is combined with a twist that creates tight, strong pressure like the turning of a vice-wrench. With proper form and timing, even a strong opponent would have a lot of trouble breaking out. By the time that happens, he will already be deeply in your Russian Tie.