Even if you don’t like wrestling a lot, it’s still very important to know how to defend some of the common takedowns that someone may attempt against you. This is important because if you are tied in a match and someone ends up attempting a takedown which you can’t defend, you could lose. If you defend it and end up in a superior position though, you just secured yourself a victory.
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The two most common takedowns you see used in Jiu Jitsu are the double leg and the single leg takedowns. Each one must be defended distinctively, mean there is no one defense that works against both. The most important skill that one should master for defense is the sprawl.
The sprawl works really well against a double leg, even if it’s pretty deep. Unfortunately, if you get caught in a single leg, the sprawl won’t work, at least not immediately. Because of this, we need to drill defenses that are specific to the single leg.
In order to defend a single leg takedown, we have to be able to escape our trapped leg first. After escaping the trapped leg, we can proceed in a number of ways whether it’s sprawling or just separating from our opponents.
In the following video, Japanese black belt and Judo master Satoshi Ishii illustrates a few very effective and simple defenses for the single leg. See below:
Rotating our leg to the outside of our opponent’s’ legs is vital, but at this stage, it’s natural for everyone since we see it so often. The problem I always had with this is that if a stronger grappler had the leg, I would be able to push my leg to the ground.
This issue is mitigated by how Satoshi gets under his opponent’s head. What this small yet important maneuver does is extend the arms so much that it is difficult for the attacker to maintain control of the legs.
The second technique Satoshi shows is similar but this time, the attacker doesn’t let you get under their head. In this scenario, it’s important to rotate directly in front of the attacker so that you can sprawl effectively.
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