The Tomahawk Trip by Logan Stieber
One of the highest percentage takedowns in wrestling today is the single leg. Taking away one of your opponent’s limbs and leaving them completely vulnerable to their own balance (or lack thereof) is significant. However, there will be opponents in your competitive lifetime who can stay nimble on their feet even with one of their legs elevated. Defensively, one of their options is to move the leg to the outside and work to create separation. This may seem like a tactical advantage, but it leaves your opponent open for other attacks.
Your opponent moving their leg to the outside during a single leg attempt can be the opportunity you need to finish your takedown. Logan Stieber, the 2016 freestyle World Champion, demonstrates this effectively with the tomahawk trip in the video below.
Set-Up and Shot
Before discussing the actual tomahawk trip finish, Stieber goes into detail about one of his preferred set-ups for the single leg. He reaches for the opponent’s wrist that is on the same side as their intended leg and moves it back and forth. Stieber doesn’t just jerk the wrist once, but multiple times in order to elicit a reaction. The opponent responds by pulling back and opening their posture, making it easy for him to go for the outside single.
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Dealing with the Leg
Like any good wrestler, Stieber’s opponent responds to the single leg by moving the leg to the outside. This is smart because it allows them to create some form of outside positioning instead of staying inside Stieber’s inside control. It also allows them to disrupt your posture with a whizzer or head pressure. Stieber maintains control despite this position by doing three things: driving in, circling, and lifting the leg high. The opponent’s base is further spread apart, making their balance more unstable.
Trip, Then Trip Again
One of the best ways to finish a takedown is to keep your opponent moving on their feet (or, in this case, their foot). Stieber tries to front trip his opponent, who responds by either landing on their hands and pushing back up to standing or trying to hop around the tripping leg. This accomplishes two goals: it gets the opponent moving in an predictable manner and allows you to center up with them. The latter goal is significant, as it makes your finish more head-on rather than a battle of angles. Once you’re centered up, you can trip the opponent from behind while pushing on them with your free arm. The pushing motion is, as Stieber describes, like using a tomahawk across their collarbone. Your next task after hitting the trip is to follow your opponent down to the mat and cover the hips for your points.
A good wrestler knows how to maintain their balance when faced with a takedown. A great wrestler knows how to use their opponent’s balance against them. Logan Stieber’s tomahawk trip finish from the single leg keeps your at bay until you’re ready to bring them to the mat.
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