A Helpful Guide on Mastering the Single Leg Takedown

The single-leg takedown is one of the most fundamental moves and techniques in grappling martial arts. It will help you develop a savage standing game BJJ, MMA, wrestling, and even sambo. In addition, mastering various movements will go a long way toward transforming you into a fearsome fighter and competitor. You might be wondering, though, if a single-leg takedown is appropriate for beginner grappling fighters?

The single-leg takedown is a fundamental technique in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and wrestling to bring an opponent to the ground from a standing position. Both beginners and advanced practitioners enjoy constructing brutal standing games using this takedown variation to conquer even bigger opponents.

For grappling fighters at any level (beginner to advanced), this guide will assist you in understanding and achieving the single-leg takedown from various positions to improve your standing game. Stay tuned!


Single Legs Takedown Basics

The single-leg takedown is an excellent attack that can be executed from standing. This wrestling move is used effectively in various grappling martial arts, including Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and MMA. So, what is a single leg take down?

The single leg takedown is a fundamental grappling move in which you attack one opponent’s legs to bring him from standing to the mat. 

The following video will teach you the fundamentals of single-leg takedowns. Otherwise, it gives you a breakdown of the proper way to shoot this takedown movement to avoid knee injury.

Source: TeachMeGrappling Coach Brian

Single Leg Takedown Setups

Single leg takedowns, like double leg takedowns, are among the most effective offensive techniques from standing in BJJ, wrestling, etc. Wise grapplers use this beautiful move to force their opponents to the ground. As a result, you’re probably wondering how to do a single-leg takedown?

The steps summarized below will help you achieve a successful single-leg takedown in BJJ and wrestling

  1. Get yourself in the proper stance for the single takedown.
  2. Manage the hand fighting and distance smartly to open the gap for the takedown.
  3. Seize the right moment to shoot your leg between the opponent’s legs. Then, close the distance with your hips and secure the opponent’s leg within maintaining a solid position.
  4. Finish the single-leg take-down by pulling and pushing your opponent into space (disbalance his center of gravity).

Need more help!

Single leg takedowns for Brazilian jiu-jitsu: In the following video tutorial, Andre Galvao teaches the best single leg take down for Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Have a wonderful time!

Source: Bernardo Faria BJJ Fanatics

Single leg takedowns for wrestling: Bekzod Abdurakhmonov teaches you the wrestling moves single leg takedown set up in the following video instruction. In addition, he breaks down the common mistake that you should avoid. Stay tuned!

Source: Bernardo Faria BJJ Fanatics

Single leg takedowns for MMA: In MMA, going for a single leg take-down can be a risky move that must be calculated precisely to avoid a knee landing in your face.

In the following detailed video, Royston Wee (UFC Vet and Pro MMA fighter) teaches you the proper way to shoot a single takedown in mixed martial arts. Have fun!

Source: Stuart Tomlinson

Single Leg Takedowns Variations

The single-leg takedown is a fundamental takedown that you can learn to improve your overall standing game. Otherwise, there are numerous single-leg variations that you should be familiar with and have tested. So, what is the main classification of single leg takedowns?

Single-leg takedowns are divided into three main categories, each containing many additional techniques variations. And, depending on your stance, some are better than others. Here are the three main categories:

  • High single leg
  • Mid-level single legs
  • Low single leg

High Single Leg Takedowns

The high single leg takedowns are among the most effective techniques for beginners because it is simple to enter and finish.

Variations: back trip single-leg, overhook single-leg, foot sweep single leg, Tomahawk trip single-leg, underhook single-leg, open shot single leg, etc

The following video teaches you some great high single-leg takedown moves for Brazilian jiu-jitsu and wrestling.

Source: Championship Productions

Mid-Level Single Leg Takedowns

The mid-level single legs are the most frequently used takedown variations in grappling martial arts. It starts with smooth penetration steps and then provides you with various options for finishing the takedown move.

Variations: Arm drag single-leg, underhook single-leg, snap-down single-leg, open shot single leg, etc.

In the following detailed video, Giancarlo Bodoni explains two easy and effective single-leg take-downs in jiu-jitsu gi.

Source: Bernardo Faria BJJ Fanatics

Low Single Leg Takedowns

Low singles are one of the most commonly used wrestling moves to bring someone down. It necessitates careful wrist movement and plenty of open space. However, a failed low single can put you in a bad situation, so you should be cautious when attempting this type of takedown.

Variations: Snap-down single-leg, clear wrists single legs, open shot single leg, etc

In the following video, you’ll learn step by step some great low single-leg takedowns for Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Source: Aaron Benzrihem bjj

In the following video, Nick Rodriguez teaches you some great low outside single leg takedowns.

Source: Bernardo Faria BJJ Fanatics

Single Leg Takedowns Defense

A successful single-leg takedown provides a fighter with a significant advantage over his opponent. As a result, defending the takedown is a great way to stay in the game while never giving your opponent free points. So, how do you avoid a single legs takedown?

The single-leg takedown defense necessitates strong hip movement and directional opposition. To avoid being taken down and gain control over your opponent, you can use techniques such as pushing the opponent’s head away, slipping the traped leg out, or using an overhook to weaken the opponent’s grips.

Need more help!

In the following detailed video, you’ll learn three ways to defend the single-leg takedown.


Source: Tiger Muay Thai and MMA Training Camp, Phuket, Thailand

Single Legs Takedown Mistakes

You will be in big danger if you make a mistake while performing the single takedown technique. In that case, you risk exposing your head or back, which could lead to you being in the wrong positions and giving your opponent a significant advantage in a fight. So, what are the fatal single-leg technique mistakes you should avoid?

  1. Attacking the single leg with a bad posture.
  2. Shooting for a single leg with a wrong head position.
  3. Inadequate distance management when attempting the single take-down.
  4. Trying to finish the single takedown in the wrong direction. 

Need more!

The following video tutorial gives you some common mistakes to avoid when attacking a single leg.

Source: TeachMeGrappling Coach Brian

Single Legs Takedowns Drills

Drills will assist you in improving your single-leg attack execution. The following video demonstrates three excellent single takedown technique drills that you should practice to become more fluid in applying this technique.

Source: William Abreu

Final Thoughts

Single leg takedowns are a powerful technique that allows you to take your opponent down from standing. It’s a powerful takedown technique used in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, sambo, wrestling, and MMA.

This type of takedown is an excellent way to start a fight or gain an advantage over your opponent. As a savvy grappler, you should learn and practice this attack from the start.

Speak your mind; Is the single-leg takedown among your favorite techniques?

If you’re a takedown lover, here is a helpful guide on mastering the double leg takedown in BJJ and wrestling; Click here.

To learn more about some of the best throws and takedowns for BJJ; Click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Awarded Points for a Successful Single Leg Takedown?

Two excellent points will be awarded to you for a successful single-leg takedown. Aside from that, it’s an excellent method of dominating your opponent in a jiu-jitsu or wrestling game.

Are Single Leg Takedowns Allowed in Judo?

Yes! Shooting a single-leg takedown is allowed in a judo martial art. And, it is considered among Te-Waza techniques (hand throwing techniques).

Is Single Leg Takedown Effective Against Bigger Opponents?

The single-leg takedown is one of the best and effective takedown techniques against larger and bigger opponents.