The single leg takedown is one of the main moves in freestyle wrestling, but it becomes considerably harder to pull off when you put the gi on.
That’s because with the gi your opponent usually just grabs your lapel and sleeve, stiff-arms away, and makes it hard to get at his legs. This can be very frustrating for people looking for single and double leg wrestling takedowns in BJJ.
Now judo players have an easier time dismantling this sort of defense since gripfighting is so integral to their sport.
Does that mean that you should learn Judo? I started doing Judo when I was 11 and think it’s a beautiful art, but the sad truth is that most judo throws take a very long time and thousands of repetitions to develop.
Also many Judo throws don’t translate well to no gi and MMA type scenarios.
But if you want to stick with a wrestling approach then you absolutely CAN adapt the single leg to work with the gi!
The key is setting up your grips.
In a previous article I showed my own favourite gripping sequence in the gi. It’s centered around first getting the ‘across the back’ grip and then using your opponent’s reactions to take him down (and the single leg takedown was one of those techniques covered).
But today we’re looking at another sequence to secure the single leg takedown in the gi. The sequence consists of the following steps:
- Open your opponent’s left lapel with your left hand and then back away
- Now insert your right hand low on his right lapel and slide it up as high as you can comfortably get
- Pull your opponent forward so that he steps his right leg forward and postures up and backwards
- Step forward and off balance him backwards by pushing his chest with your face/forehead
- Pick up his lead (right) leg, which should now be light, with your left hand and drive forward
- Keep his leg elevated, pull down on his lapel, and circle to your right to take him down
This sequence, taught by Rob Biernacki, is a lot easier to understand if you check out the video below.
Hope this helps!
More Easy Takedowns
A lot of people have asked me about throws and takedowns over the years so I’ve actually written about this topic numerous times on my blog. If you’re struggling with getting the fight to the ground then make sure that you check out at least these
Three Easy Throws for BJJ – My favorite gripping and throwing sequence that I learned from a UFC champion
Takedowns for People Who Don’t Do Takedowns – Elliott Bayev shares some great information for new-to-takedowns grapplers.
Best Takedown vs a Bigger Opponent – BJJ world champion Brandon Mullins shows how he tackles bigger opponents, even those that might outweigh him by 80 lbs.
The Top 10 Throws and Takedowns for BJJ – And overview of some Judo, wrestling and BJJ-specific moves you should check out.