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Set Up, Secure, and Execute the Perfect Single Leg with Lachlan Giles

Set Up, Secure, and Execute the Perfect Single Leg with Lachlan Giles


If you’ve been training BJJ for any amount of time, you’ve probably been exposed to a single leg take down.

The single leg is probably one of the most important techniques to cross over from wrestling to BJJ. It’s a basic technique, and it can be adapted to anyone’s game, boasting a multitude of different ways to execute, secure, and finish.

Depending on your background, a good single leg may already be part of your arsenal. If you came up as a wrestler for instance, it may already be your favorite take down, but if you’re starting from square one, I definitely feel that the single is a great place to get started, as it may be one of the most effective and safest take downs in BJJ.

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When we’re looking to pick up a single however, there are ways that lend themselves more readily to BJJ. Certain ways of securing the leg, ant he positioning of our head for instance, are important in a setting where, guillotines, kimuras, and other traps need to be accounted for. Its important to seek out these preferable methods and understand the dangers you might encounter while you’re working on adding the single leg to your toolbox.

Let’s take a look at a variation of the single leg from Lachlan Giles. In this video Giles shows us how to effectively secure and finish a single leg from beginning to end. There’s one detail in particular that blew my mind a little bit. It’s a departure from how I’ve always been taught and it definitely gave me a new perspective on the technique. Take a look!

From a traditional stance with his right leg forward, Giles looks to capture his partners trailing leg in this variation of the sing leg. Giles will look to perform a single leg where his head is on the inside of his partner’s body. As discussed before, this is one of the safer applications for BJJ.

Giles begins with a long penetration step to his partner’s back leg. As he wraps the leg, he’s careful to keep his spine in good alignment, and his body tight to his partners side body. With his body and legs close to his partner, Giles prevents the sprawl and the dismantling of his good position. With his head position near his partner’s chest, Giles keeps his body rigid with good posture, and drives up using his rear leg in to his partner, bringing the leg along for the ride.

With the entry to the take down completed, Giles uses some forward movement to make the leg he’s picking up much lighter. Using his head to push his partner toward his opposite leg keeps him off balanced and helps Giles lift the leg from the floor.

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So, the next detail Giles goes over is something a little bit new to me. I have been taught in the past to squeeze my knees together, and pinch the leg tightly, but Giles offers a different idea here. He keeps a very wide base, which provides him with a lot more mobility, as he’s attempting to run his partner down and keep him in a state of off balance. This gives his partner very little opportunity to mount any counter offenses, as he must focus solely on keeping his balance.

For a clean finish, Giles waits for a bit of resistance from his partner as he drives him across the mat. As he feels some energy coming back his way, he steps across the front of his partners body, and back with his rear leg. This puts his partner into a territory where there is simply no base to rely on, and completes the execution of the take down. Careful not to get impatient or sloppy and begin trying to rip the leg across your body. This may cause your head to pop to the outside, which will not only foil your attempts at this take down, but could put you in further danger.

If you find that your meeting resistance here in the form of your partner leaning in to you, Giles has a great solution. Once you’ve secured the leg, and you begin to encounter this type of resistance, Giles recommends transition the leg up to the shoulder. Here’s how he does it.

Giles begins with a small adjustment in his stance. He turns his back leg to face his partner’s leg, preventing it from traveling to the outside. He also steps back with his front leg, so that he’s now in a more sideways stance, with the leg resting on his thigh. Giles then slides his hand down to the ankle and again use his head to push his partner a bit, making the leg lighter. He then retracts and pulls the leg up to his chest line. Now he can switch his far arm to the underside of the leg. Now Giles can simply cup and pull down on the top of the knee and add a light foot sweep to finish the technique. Brilliant details here from a phenomenal teacher.

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