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Defend One Of The Most Common Takedowns In Wrestling

Defend One Of The Most Common Takedowns In Wrestling


The Single Leg is easily one of the most common takedowns in all of combat sports. You see it in wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu, and definitely MMA. The classics are classics for a reason, and that is because they work. SO you mess up and fall for some misdirection and boom, they now have your leg! While there are many great options for defense let’s take a look at Ed Ruth’s approach. 

Ed Ruth is a 3x NCAA Division 1 Champion. His credentials speak for themselves on the wrestling mat. Ed is also a contender in Bellator MMA where he has an overall MMA record of 8-1. Ruth brings the intensity of his collegiate wrestling background into the cage, where he lands hard hitting takedowns complemented with some devastating ground and pound. But the question remains how does HE defend the single leg? 


While prevention may be better than the cure here, if someone gets in on your leg it’s not the end of the day. You can see that many of the normal defense you would use is at play here. Ruth still uses  heavy sprawl and head push to initially defend the shot. Even though the video is only 3 minutes long, there are plenty of details to unpack!

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First let’s check out the hand/arm configuration Ed uses to turn Bernardo throughout the video. Ruth weaves his hand through Bernardo’s grip that he has on the leg. The weave is done by taking the outside arm that is on the same side as the single leg attempt, and applies a modified overhook. As his hand threads through he is able to get it to the other hand that was stuffing the head. The other hand will find a good spot on the partner’s neck with the bony part of the thumb as the overhook hand hooks it to keep pressure on their neck. 

By locking on the reverse neck pinch Ed is able to create an immense pressure on the back of his partner’s neck that will cause them to either turn to their side or abandon their takedown attempt.  Here is another look at the reverse neck pinch, with more of a strictly wrestling emphasis. Check it out!


One difference to note is how the partner is on their knees during the single leg attempt. This makes the turn slightly more difficult since their base is lower. However, Ruth applies the same lock as before. One might say you need to be Ruth…..less in applying pressure to your opponent’s neck to help complete the turn/defense. 

The Cradle Machine by Ed Ruth

Scientific Shots by Ed Ruth

On top of dominating the wrestling and MMA world, Ruth has set his sights on providing Top-Tier Technique instructionals. The Cradle Machine and Scientific Shots are out and changing the game as you are reading this. Don’t miss out on Ed Ruth’s breakdown of the techniques that helped him Dominate the mats!