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Duck Under Masterclass By John Smith

The Duck Under is one of the most important attacks in grappling. The reason the duck under is so valuable is because of what it achieves if done correctly. In wrestling, when two athletes square off, they are in an equal position to both attack and defend. The reason is because they can both see what the other wrestler is doing, both arms and legs are free to move and defend as necessary. 

If a wrestler can successfully perform a Duck Under, they remove all of the tools their opponent has. They cannot see you as you are behind them, the arms and legs do not have as much dexterity while reaching behind the body, and because of the close contact movement is restricted.  

It does not matter whether it is submission grappling, Greco Roman, Freestyle or Folkstyle, if a wrestler gets behind another, that wrestler has an incredible advantage to attack. Leaving the other wrestler to solely focus on defending. 

At this point we could argue over who has had the best Duck Under over the years or who coached the best wrestlers etc. What we cannot debate over is statistical fact, and statistically speaking the best American wrestler of all time is John Smith. 

John has had a very successful coaching career since his last Olympic Gold Medal in 1992, and has consistently produced some of the most dominant NCAA Champions over the last 3 decades. 

So when John Smith talks wrestling, you listen. Look on the internet for Duck Under instructionals. How many of those videos even last 5 minutes? What you are about to see is an almost 15 minute masterclass on how to perform the duck under and why it is important from one of the greatest wrestlers the world has ever seen. 

This is a Masterclass on the duck under. So get comfortable, take notes and enjoy this excerpt from Johns Instructional series.


This is quite the exchange that John shows. Using that overhand “Monkey Grip” on the side he is going to step into the center to pull down hard as he Ducks the opposite side is incredible. His other leg creates distance to the outside. 

John makes no assumptions that this will work every time, but what he said is great about the Duck is the changing of levels, so instead of coming up and going around the back he can transition into a double or another attack. John explains that the duck under is one of the most exciting and “wow” moves a werstler can have in their arsenal. 


Using the elbow control allows a wrestler to be aggressive and create reactions. Once you get that reaction you get low and explode around the corner.  As he says “I get position and I am gone!” meaning he is driving through that take down. 

Being a realist, John says that your hands are going to lose grip from time to time. So he explains that if you lose the grip, the hands will come down, and you will be right in a double leg takedown position, but you have to be ready for it. 

This is the kind of detail John goes into on all of his techniques. He starts with fundamental concepts, moves through the move, then options in case things don't go well! The “American” has created one of the most comprehensive attack systems ever recorded with Fanatic Wrestling. A six part instructional that covers it all, the OSU way.


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