Finishing the Single Leg Takedown with Ben Askren
The two most commonly used takedowns in wrestling today are the double leg and single leg, and it makes sense. We’re taught from the very beginning to shoot on the legs and work to manipulate their balance through constant repetitions and combinations. While the double leg takedown may be considered the most eye-appealing of the two due to its prominence in MMA (I mean, just look at Matt Hughes’ running double leg slam on Frank Trigg), the single leg adds a lot of variety and versatility to finishing the shot.
The single leg takedown has a plethora of finishes depending on how you want your opponent to land and their leg placement for defense. In the video below, standout collegiate wrestlers Ben and Max Askren take a look at three of the most effective finishes to the single leg.
Ben starts his single leg off by keeping the ankle connected to his ribcage by pinching his left arm. Using his other hand (in this case, his right), he grabs the back of Max’s neck. From there, Ben steps in with his left foot and uses his right foot to trip Max’s right foot while pulling down with the neck. That extra pull adds some much-needed momentum to hit the move; otherwise, your opponent may try to hop to avoid the trip. If you’re using this takedown for catch wrestling or BJJ, the finish is perfect for setting up the leglock series.
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Pressure the Knee, Drive Forward
The second finish from the single leg covered here starts in that same position: pinching the ankle to the ribcage. Ben points out that the initial push here can be done to the opponent’s side or to the knee, but for the sake of consistency the latter of the two will be mentioned here. Ben pushes Max’s knee down using his hand, causing Max to land on his hands (very similar to the quad pod). Ben finishes the move by continuing to move forward and attacking the other leg. In essence, you’re basically pushing the opponent down and climbing the body. From there, work your rides/back takes.
Uppercut and Sweep
Unlike the previous two, the uppercut and sweep finish takes a little more finesse to complete. Ben once again has Max’s leg in the same position but instead uses his free arm to uppercut the back of the knee. This causes Max to lift up slightly, which Ben takes advantage of by hitting a back trip to the far leg and bringing him down to the mat. In the video, Ben talks about two mistakes people make when hitting the move: rhythm and stepping in. You have to hit the uppercut and sweep in succession in order to make it work or else your opponent is going to stay firmly on the mat.
Askren also mentions a common finish that many kids hit that isn’t effective: the forward trip. He states that it isn’t a good finish because your opponent can roll through and work on your leg instead. So, it appears that Askren is a major fan of hitting single leg finishes from the back where you have more control.
Try adding a few of these single leg finishes into your game and watch your takedowns become more Funky Fresh! Ultimate Askren Wrestling has you Funky Fans covered!