Backflip Single Leg Defense To A Takedown
Now let’s go ahead and start this off with a disclaimer. This is a high level wrestling move. Doing a backflip should not be your go to single leg defense nor should you attempt this out on the mat if you have never even tried this in practice in a controlled setting. If you like this defensive move, you need to practice it. If you don’t, you could injure yourself or even your opponent. Now with that being said, let's go ahead and have a look at it. Check out this video by Dan Vallimont where he shows how to properly backflip out of a single leg.
Pretty cool, right?
Before getting into breaking down the backflip, let’s talk about shot defense. In wrestling, there are different levels of defense. On the feet, a wrestler’s first line of defense is their head and their hands. If you hold good position, you can use your head and hands to defend a lot of your opponent’s attacks.
If your opponent is able to get past your head and hands, and they get to your legs, your next line of defense is your hips. Defense like sprawling, driving your hips into your opponent, and using a whizzer are all fundamental ways to defend a single leg.
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As you can see in the video, the backflip single leg defense happens when your opponent has broken through all those lines of defense and has your leg in a high single leg position; more specifically a high single leg on the far side. This position is incredibly difficult to defend. If your opponent has your leg correctly it is impossible to use a whizzer or sprawl. They should have you bouncing and be moving your all over the mat. This is now the proper time to hit the backflip.
When you watch Dan do the backflip, one of the first things you notice is that he is not actually doing a backflip in the truest sense of the term. It is more like a hybrid backflip mixed with a cartwheel. Notice when Dan does the flip, it is very controlled and before he flips, he is already thinking about where his hands and hips need to be before he lands. This comes from practicing the move. If you don’t practice this and just go out and try it in a match, you might look cool for a brief flash, but that won’t matter because you will have gotten taken down!
After Dan lands on the mat, he is reaching with his inside arm to the inside leg of his opponent and he is making sure to get his hips up off the mat and securing a single leg of his own. So not only does this help you defend a single leg in a tough position and looks super cool, but if done correctly, you should be able to get a takedown of your own.
This move might look wild, but if you are a more advanced wrestler and practice doing this backflip, you can be successful with it and it can be very frustrating for your opponent to not only lose a single leg is a great position, but then to also get taken down. This backflip single leg defense is one of those outlier flashy moves in wrestling that not only works well, but also looks super cool.
Dan Vallimont was a two-time NCAA All American for Penn State and an NCAA finalist. If you want to learn more high level shot defense from Dan, be sure to check out his video titled “Next Level Defense Fundamentals by Dan Vallimont”.