Single Leg Outside Finish by Dan Vallimont
Misdirection can be a very useful tool in sports. From the crossover in basketball to the various passing routes in football, making your opponent anticipate one change in direction then flipping the switch on them disrupts their movement and ability to respond. The same thing can be said for wrestling as well. In fact, some of the most successful takedowns in wrestling are based on moving your opponent one way and quickly changing directions, either on your end or theirs.
The single leg takedown is perhaps the most notorious of takedowns for misdirection. You have multiple angles, pressure points, and reactions from your opponent to utilize. In the video below, two-time NCAA All-American Dan Vallimont explains how to use misdirection to finish the outside single leg takedown.
Vallimont starts with his outside single leg. His head is high and located inside and against his opponent’s rib cage. Notice how straight his back is with an upright posture; he isn’t arching low as this would prevent him from generating a lot of power from the mat. To bring the leg up, Vallimont drives at an angle to force his partner to put his weight on his far leg, making the targeted leg easier to lift.
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From here, your opponent has two options: keep the leg on the inside - leaving him open for you to run the pipe - or move it to the outside to force separation. Vallimont’s finish is based on the latter, as shown by his partner’s reaction.
To work his finish, Vallimont sets his arms in the right position: his near side arm is pinching the leg against his rib cage while his far side arm grips around the back of his partner’s knee. He creates movement by pulling the knee down, which forces his partner to catch himself on his hands. This is the first part of the misdirection, specifically the anticipated motion. The opponent knows that they need to get back to an upright position, and you know that they’re thinking that, too.
Vallimont’s partner pushes himself back up to a standing position, and Vallimont uses this momentum to hit his finish. The hand that was gripping the knee goes to their head pushing into you while your near leg (the leg closest to their standing leg) hits the trip by the ankle. This is misdirection at its finest, as your opponent is forced forward and responds by pushing back, resulting in the trip with their momentum. In dog training, this is known as opposition reflex, as you’ve seen with dogs who pull back against their owner’s leash. The same principle applies here with your opponent resisting the urge to face downwards.
Once you hit the finish, you have quite a few options considering that they land on their back. In wrestling, you can follow them down to the mat and work to prevent them from turning over. In catch wrestling and jiu-jitsu, keeping the single leg opens them up perfectly for leglock entries.
Dan Vallimont’s finish to the outside single leg is a prime example of using misdirection in order to complete the takedown. Using your opponent’s opposition reflex to push back against a standard finish, you can respond in turn by hitting the back trip. Think of other ways you can chain takedown finishes together to keep your opponent moving until they no longer can.
2x All-American Dan Vallimont has laid out the recipe for The Russian Tie Formula! Get your 2-on-1 going and land some stellar takedowns!