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Defending The High Level Single Leg With Ben Askren

Defending The High Level Single Leg With Ben Askren

Ben Askren, born on July 18, 1984, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is a retired American mixed martial artist and former amateur wrestler. Askren gained prominence for his exceptional wrestling skills, and his achievements on the mat laid the foundation for a successful career in both collegiate wrestling and later mixed martial arts.

Ben Askren's journey in wrestling began at the University of Missouri, where he competed for the Mizzou Tigers from 2003 to 2007. During his collegiate career, Askren achieved remarkable success and solidified his reputation as one of the best collegiate wrestlers in the nation.

Key Highlights of Ben Askren's Collegiate Wrestling Career

Two-Time NCAA Champion:

Askren secured back-to-back NCAA Division I championships in 2006 and 2007 in the 174-pound weight class. His dominance on the mat was characterized by his unorthodox style, exceptional technique, and an uncanny ability to control his opponents.

Undefeated Senior Season:

In his senior season (2006-2007), Askren went undefeated, finishing with a perfect 45-0 record. His dominance extended beyond mere victories; he displayed a unique flair that captivated fans and showcased his wrestling prowess.

Hodge Trophy Winner:

Askren was awarded the prestigious Dan Hodge Trophy in both 2006 and 2007. The Hodge Trophy is presented annually to the most outstanding collegiate wrestler in the country, recognizing not only wins but also the overall dominance and sportsmanship of the recipient.

Olympic Aspirations:

After completing his collegiate wrestling career, Askren had aspirations to compete in the Olympics. However, he faced challenges in making the U.S. Olympic team, leading him to explore other avenues in combat sports.

One Aspect Of Ben’s Single Leg Defense System

The Single Leg Takedown in Wrestling: A Powerful Offensive Move

The single leg takedown is a fundamental and high-percentage offensive move in wrestling, valued for its efficiency and ability to quickly gain control over an opponent. Wrestlers often use this technique to exploit an opening in their opponent's defense and secure a strategic advantage. Understanding the mechanics of the single leg takedown is crucial for both offensive and defensive strategies on the mat.

Executing the Single Leg Takedown:


The single leg takedown typically begins with a setup. Wrestlers may use fakes, hand fighting, or level changes to create an opportunity to attack the opponent's lead leg.

Penetration Step:

The attacker initiates the move by taking a deep penetration step with the foot on the same side as the intended target leg of the opponent. This step is critical for closing the distance quickly and getting in on the leg.

Head Position:

Maintaining proper head position is key to a successful single leg takedown. The attacker aims to place their head on the outside of the opponent's body, controlling the position and preventing effective counters.

Grip and Lift:

The attacker secures a grip on the opponent's leg, typically just above or below the knee. With good head position and a secure grip, the wrestler lifts the leg, disrupting the opponent's balance.

Drive and Finish:

To complete the takedown, the attacker drives through their opponent, utilizing hip pressure and forward momentum to bring them to the mat. Controlling the opponent's free leg and maintaining top position are crucial for securing points.

Defending the Single Leg Takedown: Techniques and Strategies

Effective defense against the single leg takedown requires a combination of quick reflexes, solid technique, and awareness. Here are key strategies for defending against the single leg takedown:


A well-timed sprawl involves shooting the hips back and down while sprawling the legs backward. This widens the base and makes it difficult for the attacker to complete the takedown.

Down Block:

Executing a down block involves using the lead hand to push down on the opponent's head while simultaneously stepping back with the lead leg. This disrupts the setup and prevents the attacker from getting deep on the leg.


Applying a whizzer involves overhooking the arm on the side the opponent is attacking and applying downward pressure on their shoulder. This helps to off-balance the attacker and defend against the takedown.


Quick counterattacks can catch the opponent off guard. Techniques like a front headlock, snap down, or a well-timed switch can be effective in turning the tables on the attacker.

Maintain Good Stance:

A solid wrestling stance is the foundation of effective defense. Keeping a low, balanced stance with weight distributed evenly on both legs makes it challenging for the opponent to initiate a successful takedown.

Hand Fighting:

Engaging in hand fighting disrupts the opponent's setup and prevents them from gaining control of your head and arms. Maintain active hand fighting to control the ties and create openings for your offense.



By mastering these defensive techniques, wrestlers can thwart their opponent's attempts at a single leg takedown and, in turn, create opportunities for their own offensive maneuvers. Developing a well-rounded skill set that includes both offensive and defensive strategies is essential for success on the wrestling mat.