Single Leg Defense Debate

Leg in between the legs, outside, or across?

By: John Clarke

In training for my last fight, a debate came to my attention about leg placement for defending a single leg attempt.  Some Brazilian Jui Jitsu and wrestling camps teach leg outside, some teach across, and some in between the legs.  Through my training and experience I have found the best choice is in between the legs, but with your instep in the groin.

The reasons for this vary, but most importantly would be to limit your opponent’s offense.  The most dangerous takedown that you are open for with your leg in between is if your opponent runs the pipe (hikes the football for us Florida boys).  This is a great technique; however it is not pulled off easily.  Even if done perfectly, it can still be countered with excellent balance.  When you add a whizzer or a sprawl to your defense it becomes even more difficult to execute.

With your leg across, you open up an array of offensive takedowns.  The position also puts you at a balance disadvantage and makes you an easier target for trips.

Your leg outside, in my opinion, is the worst.  You leave yourself wide open for a blast double leg takedown and a variety of trips.  In sport or reality fighting, the force alone of a blast double can end the fight.  You can also give up side control very easily (a fan favorite for a ground and pound specialist).  I’ll attach a video to bring these points home. 

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