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The Single Leg Take Down
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The Single Leg Take Down

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The single leg take down is one of the most effective take downs in grappling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu specifically.  In our last blog post, we discussed the double leg take down and how important it is to develop a take down game to become a well-rounded Jiu Jitsu athlete, you can check it out here.

The single leg take down is one of the first two take downs you would typically learn along with the double leg. The reason it is so effective is because of the fact, that, like the double leg, it presents itself very often from standing, guard, and many other positions.

Learning a good single leg take down can advance many aspects of your bjj, you can use several variations of this position in many different aspects of bjj.  There has long been a discussion on whether or not it is better to learn wrestling or Judo to enhance your bjj.  We believe that wrestling may be the better choice due to its versatility.  You can use wrestling in the gi or without it. 

The single leg in particular is a devastating weapon to keep in your back pocket.  Many of the top bjj competitors have used single legs to win matches such as Marcelo Garcia, Buchecha, Bernardo Faria, Cobrihna, and the list goes on.  Why the single leg?  It is one of the foundations of wrestling that is also used for many sweeps.  Let's discuss this topic further in depth below. 

Single Leg Take Down Variations

One of the biggest advantages to the single leg take down is how much it presents itself.  You can set up the single leg take down from standing, from guard, and use it to escape side control.  There are many different ways to finish the single leg. With something that presents itself so often and is such a high percentage weapon it is wise to master this technique and learn it. 

Along with the double leg, if your penetration shot is quick enough, you can snatch a leg without grips, making it a dangerous weapon from standing.  Check out the high light below of Gracie Barra Black Belt and Division 1 wrestler, AJ Agazarm landing some single leg take downs at NoGi Worlds. Agazarm is infamous for his use of this take down and has used it time and time again with success.

As you can see in the video above, Agazarm is no slouch with his single leg, it is a thing of beauty.  You can use this take down with so many different variations of finishing.  There are different types of single leg's.  For example, we have the outside single, low single, inside single, and beyond that, there are a ton of ways to actually finish this take down.  

When you get a single leg, there are numerous ways to finish this position and solidify the take down.  You can do a traditional finish like the "running the pipe" finish or you can develop more complex and fancy finishes.  Some people will say that the single leg is limited with the gi, but in reality, the gi can enhance your single leg.  Using the collars, and the pant grips can make your single leg so much better to finish.  Check out this video below with IBJJF World Champ and Division 1 wrestler Hudson Taylor on how he finishes his single leg. 

Single Leg Take Down from Standing

The single leg take down is an amazing weapon when both opponents are standing.  It is a great way to get your opponent to the ground, although it is not as fast as the double leg, it may still be as effective.  For example, when you commit to a blast double, if you hit it, your opponent will hit the mat in seconds, the beauty and difficult part of the single leg, is being able to snatch one of your opponent’s legs up. 

Once you grab and control one of your opponent’s legs, there is a multitude of ways to finish the take down; the hard part will be getting your opponent’s leg.  Once you get the leg, you can be more methodical with your finish. Check out some set ups for a single leg with the legend, Marcelo Garcia, below.

As you can see, Marcelo has a unique perspective on some of his single leg finishes.  You can see just from watching all of the videos above with AJ, Hudson and Marcelo that there are so many ways to finish the single leg.  Some may be more effective than others, but ultimately, what works for one person, may not work for the other.  

Everyone is always going to do things differently.  When discussing the single leg from a standing position, we have to remember that the finish, although it is important, is not as important as the set up and the shot.  You want to develop a good grip fighting game, and a good shot in order to be able to execute your single leg.  If you never get the leg, there will be no single leg.  To add to your repertoire of single leg take downs, check out this variation with ADCC champ, Yuri Simoes below. 

Single Leg Take Down from Guard

The biggest benefit and application of the single leg take down in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu may be its effectiveness from the guard.  The single leg is a crucial component to a well-rounded guard player’s game.  You can set the single leg up from several different guards such as half-guard, deep half, De La Riva, Reverse De La Riva, butterfly and more.

To see an awesome set up for the single leg from De La Riva read our post on “The First Sweep you Should Learn from De La Riva.”  Also, below, check out Atos Black Belt and World Champion, JT Torres showing a single leg set up from Reverse De La Riva.

Have we blown your mind yet? the single leg is everywhere and there are countless entries, finishes, and grips.  You can teach an entire martial art on just the single leg, forget this article, we could write a book on this position.  As you can see in the video above, JT is setting his single leg up from the Reverse De La Riva guard, a position that many consider "new school" and fancy.  IT might be a flashy guard but all you need to know how to do from there is a get a single leg and you will be dangerous. 

Another one of the best guards to get the single leg from is the half guard.  The half guard is one of the best positions to learn if you are a wrestler.  Why?  Because a big part of the sweeps from the half guard come from wrestling and if have a background in wrestling it is easy to learn.  5x Black Belt World Champ, Bernardo Faria, developed an entire guard system based on the single leg, he calls it "the single leg half."  He has won multiple world championships using the single leg from the half guard.  

The Single Leg Take Down Summarized

The single leg will be an incredible asset to add to any Jiu Jitsu player’s arsenal, it is always important to implement some wrestling.  Not only is it vital to understand it for a strong offense, but also to be able to defend it.

 Along with the double leg, the single leg is one of the most important take downs you can learn.  You can apply it from standing, guard, escapes, and more.  If you only learn two take downs, make them the single leg and double leg. 

Be sure to check out one of our best-selling DVD's, "Wrestling for BJJ." with IBJJF World Champ, Hudson Taylor.  Hudson was a D-1 All American Wrestler who won the blue belt worlds after just 6 months of training and the purple belt worlds after just a year and a half.  He is an animal with his wrestling. 

 

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