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Improve Your Shot Defense With These Three Techniques

Improve Your Shot Defense With These Three Techniques


If you want to go far in wrestling, you must have a great defense. When you watch high level guys wrestle, one of the things you will notice is that it is extremely difficult to take them down. Getting good at defense is one part learning different techniques and another part attitude. Knowing what to do when certain shots are shot on you mixed with an attitude of fighting to defend every takedown will help you immensely in your wrestling career. Here are three different techniques you can use to defend shots.

Single Leg Defense with Henry Cejudo

Who better to learn defense from than not only one of the greatest U.S. wrestlers, but one of the best combat athletes of all times. Henry Cejudo is an Olympic gold medalist and a two weight UFC champion. Here is a great video of Henry teaching how he likes to defend mid level single legs. 


As you can see in the video, the first thing you want to do is establish a whizzer. One important point is Henry does not put the whizzer in deep. Instead, he does what he calls a “raptor whizzer” because he keeps his elbow tight to his side and makes hook with his hand and wrist. With his other hand, he is attacking the far wrist which is very important because it prevents them from elevating your leg.

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Another thing Cejudo does right away is moves his right leg from in between his opponent's leg to the outside so he can use it to pressure into his opponent and block. It is very important to move you leg to the outside to prevent your opponent from elevating the leg and putting you in an even worse position. 

Once he has the raptor whizzer and has the leg blocking on the outside of the thigh, Cejudo is using his foot that is planted on the mat to drive into his opponent. It is very difficult to finish a single leg when you are moving backwards. Also, you will notice that Cejudo does not have inside head position, but if you can get your head to the inside, it makes it even more difficult for your opponent to finish the single leg.

Once you have defended the initial part of the single leg, the next thing to do is to get your leg back down to the mat. To do this, the hand that is down on the wrist is going to come under the chin and it will push up on the chin and you will turn and face your opponent. 

The last step is to break the leg free. To do this, Cejudo locks over his opponent’s arms with an “S” grip and kicks the leg down to the mat and pulls the arms up.

Sitting the Corner with Ben Askren

Different shots require different defenses. One common shot is a high crotch and one very effective way to defend it is by sitting the corner. In this video, Ben Askren demonstrates how to properly sit the corner when someone shoots a high crotch on you.


When someone shoots a high crotch on you and you sit the corner, it immediately takes away the power your opponent has because they can no longer use their legs and hips to drive you back. It also takes away the option for them to transition to a single or double leg. Plus, it puts you is a great position to not only defend the shot, but also score. 

When you sit the corner, be sure to push your opponent to the outside. This takes away their ability to drive through you. Watch now Ben sits to the mat. He doesn’t just drop to his butt; he sits in a circular motion. Once you are down on the mat, you can lock in the crotch, around the waist, or pull them in tight to you. The big thing is to not give them space. 

From here, Askren shows a couple different options. The easiest is to post up and get your hips on top so you end up on top in a leg ride position or you can roll them and end up on top and hit a near side cradle. He also shows two great cradle options from the sit the corner position. 

Reverse Neck Pinch with Ed Ruth

One common position you will find yourself in as a wrestler is your opponent will shoot a single leg and you will sprawl which will bring your both down to the mat. One defensive move you can use is called a reverse neck pinch which not only defends the shot, but also puts your opponent to their back. Check out this video of three time NCAA champion Ed Ruth teaching the cool move.


To hit this move effectively, the first thing you need to do when your opponent shoots a single leg is stuff the head and sprawl. This will bring the action down to the mat and take away the initial threat of the single leg. Once you the the head stuffed down the mat, watch what Ruth does with his hands and where he puts them. This turn is very similar to a three quarter nelson but the hand positioning is different. Lastly, watch how Ruth uses the neck pinch to take his opponent to his back. He is circling his feet and using the power from his entire body. This is not only a great way to put your opponent to their back but also a great way to defend a shot. 

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