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How to Do the Merkle in Wrestling

If you’ve ever seen the merkle done in competition, you know it is a sight to behold. The merkle is a turn that was first used in freestyle, but has become a “flashy” way to earn back points in folkstyle. This is a great home run move to use when you are behind in points, or if you just want to catch your opponent off guard. Read on to begin learning this unorthodox technique.

1. Jump & Lock

The first thing you need to do is get in position to lock your hands around your opponent’s upper body. It’s best to move to the side of your opponent’s body that you are not already positioned on, and then lock your hands from there. For example, if you are originally positioned on the left side of your opponent’s body jump to the right side of his body and secure your lock around his upper body.

To lock your hands, reach one of your hands under your opponent’s nearest armpit and over his shoulder on the opposite side of his body. This allows you to control his upper body so you can vine your leg in and start the move. To get the correct lock, reach your near arm over your opponent’s far shoulder, and place your far arm under your opponent’s near armpit. From here, lock your hands along his chest. For example, if you are positioned on the right side of your opponent’s body, you would follow this procedure:

  • Reach your left arm over his left shoulder and around the back of his head.
  • Reach your right arm underneath his armpit and lock your hands.
  • Pinch your elbows and pull your opponent towards you.

After you have secured the lock, make sure you are off of your opponent’s body, but still hip-to-hip with him. For example, if you are positioned on the right side of his body, keep your left hip connected with his right hip. This will allow you to get your near leg in, just make sure to keep your legs wide so you can keep your balance. You should also use your lock to force his head down in this position.

2. Leg In

With your hands locked around your opponent’s upper body, place your near leg in between your opponent’s legs. From here, vine your leg into his near leg so that the top of your foot/shin is resting on the back of your opponent’s lower leg.

For example, if you are positioned on the right side of your opponent’s body, you will vine your left leg around his right leg. Your shin and the top of your left foot will be touching the back of his lower left leg here.

3. Roll

Keep your opponent tight to your chest with your lock. Bring your far leg in towards your body and start to turn your hips towards your opponent. As you do this, start to roll across your back away from your opponent. Bring him over your body and onto his back.

For example, if you are positioned on your opponent’s right side, move your right leg towards your body and start to roll towards your left as you bring him over your body.

Hot Tip: The Right Roll

It is important that you perform a fast and hard roll. If you roll slowly, you may not be successful. Performing a quick roll will allow you to catch your opponent off guard.

4. Secure Your Opponent

After you have completed the roll, you should end up next to your opponent with your lock around his upper body and your leg still vined with his. From here, there are several things you need to do to secure your opponent on his back and get your points:

With your legs:

  • Near leg: Straighten the leg you are using to vine into your opponent’s leg. Also, lift this same leg upward to keep him from being able to place his foot on the mat.
  • Far leg: Bend the knee of your free leg slightly and place your foot on the mat. You will be able to push off of this foot to keep your back off the mat and place more weight on your opponent.

How you secure your opponent with your arms will depend on how your opponent attempts to escape:

  • If he turns away from you: Pull your lock in towards you and downward to keep his back angled towards the mat. Also, use your free leg to push your hips towards him to keep him from turning to his stomach.
  • If he turns towards you: Straighten your arms out and pull his far shoulder down towards the mat. Also, move your hips away from your opponent to ensure he doesn’t turn on top of you.

It is possible that you will earn a pin from here. However, most of the time you will only be able to score back points. Because this technique is so unorthodox, it will take time to learn how to secure your opponent on his back. If you keep your lock tight, elevate your opponent’s leg, and use your free leg to distribute your bodyweight, you will undoubtedly come away with a few back points!

Critical Back Points

The merkle, like any other technique, must be practiced regularly in order to be mastered. Don’t expect to just read this guide and be able to go out there and score with it! Make sure to drill the merkle with these tips in mind to achieve perfection. Once you get the merkle down, you will have a powerful home run move in your arsenal that is sure to get you points when you need them the most. Good luck!

The merkle is a spectacular and effective turn used in folkstyle wrestling. Check out this guide to learn the fundamentals of this flashy technique.
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