The single leg is the most commonly used takedown in wrestling at all levels. A single leg takedown can be High, Medium, or Low-level attacks. Each of these is defined/described briefly as follows.
High Single – You will typically be in a tie-up such as a Russian 2-on-1 or an underhook prior to attacking the leg. You will have already penetrated into the opponent by the means of a tie-up. Once you are near the leg, you simply lower your hips and grab the leg at the knee and pull it upward and towards you. Your knee never touches the mat in a High Single Leg takedown. If a penetration step is required the Step-In is used.
Medium (mid) Level – This takedown can be executed with or without a tie-up. Drop Step or Step-In penetration step is used depending upon your distance from the opponent Your hand should be placed behind the knee, with your fingers hooking around the “cords” which are on the back side of the knee. Your trail knee may hit the mat during the process of completing the Drop Step. This is ok; but you should bring up knee back up as soon as it hit the mat (the reaction should be like you landed on a sharp tack).
Low Level – You will have your trail knee either on the mat or very close to it (6” to 1’). You will be in a “Staggered” stance with a longer than normal split 18” to 24” between your front and rear feet You will not take a penetration step into the opponent Instead you will drop down on one knee, and probably post your hand on the same side to the mat to provide support/balance. To attack, you will move your weight forward rolling your lead knee to the mat You want to place your outside hand on the mat approximately 6” behind the heel of your opponent’s foot. Your head will be inside of his foot at the same height as his ankle, and your shoulder will be placed against his shin.
There are a few simple rules that must be followed in order for you to be successful using the single leg takedown.
1. Your head always goes to the inside of the leg your are attacking
2. Always attack the leg with a straight-ahead penetration step.
3. Your angle to your opponent will be either head-to-head, or from the outside at a 45-90 degree angle to the opponent.
4. Always touch the opponent before you execute a penetration step. This accomplishes two very important things.
A. It makes sure you are close enough to the opponent, so that you will not get overly extended by the time you reach the opponent’s leg.
B. Touching the opponent helps set him up, by distracting him, and perhaps causing him to move out of a good defensive position.
Lock your hands so that your hand around the outside of the opponent’s leg is pointed down. When locking your hands together, keep your thumbs next to your index finger, and then lock your hands together at a 90-degree angle (Gable Grip)
There are several ways to get yourself into position where you can attempt to secure a High Single Leg. At the beginning level we want you to use the Russian 2-on-1 tie-up as your primary means of setting up the takedown attempt. You can also use an underhook tie-up to attack with a High Single Leg using similar steps as listed below.
1. Secure a Russian 2-on-1 tie-up.
2. Step behind the heel of the opponent’s near foot. This will prevent him from stepping backward away from your attack.
3. Release the overhook, and “Squat Down” lowering your hips enough so that you can place your free hand behind the opponent’s knee.
4. Reach around the knee far enough that your hand is on the inside of the opponent’s knee.
5. Pull the knee towards you, placing his leg between your knees/thighs.
6. Release your opponent’s wrist, and lock hands with your inside hand palm up.
7. Put your forehead into the opponent’s ribcage just below his arm pit At this point you are ready to do a variety of finishes.