What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of wrestling, apart from singlets? The double leg takedown will surely be among the first things you associate with wrestling. In that sense, it is also a tape of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well, albeit in a slightly modified version to wrestling. That said, why is the double leg takedown such a reliable and high percentage move?
A Story About the Double Leg Takedown
Let me tell you a little story about the double leg takedown. When I first started out, my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu club had still been in its early infancy stage. I was not particularly athletic or even interested in any sport of the physical variety. One of the first things I did learn was the double leg takedown, and it made all the sense in the world.
All it took was one look at my training partner and I instinctively knew when to launch myself at their legs. That is until I started getting sprawled on, guillotined, and countered with corner reversals. Suddenly, what had been clear as day became a mystery. Again. Then my coach gave me a new set of double leg takedown tools.
It saw me progress from just seeing it as my ‘launch yourself at legs’ move, to watching out what leg was in front of me, which side of the hip was squared, etc. I also started dropping down to a knee, traditional wrestling style, circling to the outside with what I think was a fairly good knee-rotation. When I’d get hit with a sprawl I’d sit out. But as you might be guessing, I hit a dead end yet again.
With my posture great and technique sound I could no longer finish. I just didn’t have the drive and mental determination that I had had in the first place. I’d drop down with great posture. They’d just frame and push me off. I wasn’t stuck in a sprawl or a guillotine, but still, I’d wasted lots of energy, and my confidence waned with each defense my opponents pull off.
This got me to hate the double leg takedown for a while. I’d work around it by looking for my opponent’s sprawl so I could do stuff like butterfly sweeps or guard pulls. I took this route for a year, maybe longer. Then, hallelujah, I got the setup I’d been looking for: the elbow pull.
When everything starts to make sense with the double leg takedown
Honestly, I hadn’t thought about the double leg takedown in a while. Upper body takedowns made much more sense to me during the time. Then, I got around to seeing this video. It showed me a different way of viewing the double leg takedown, especially when it came to actually finishing the move.
The first thing to think of is shoulder placement. If you can place your shoulder in the opponent’s hip, you’ll most likely be able to finish a double leg takedown, even if you don’t get other mechanical details right. If the shoulder touches first, and one of your legs end up between the opponent’s leg, you’ve got everything you need for double.
That said, there are a couple more little details that will make your double leg takedown seem world-class. The first one is the direction of finishing. One simple rule is to always try and force the butt of your opponent over the block you’re creating with your arm. That means pushing to the side, forcing them over that arm, rather than straight back.
Finally, if you like to send people flying, try and incorporate a lift along with the block finish. As your shoulder touches their hips and you establish leg grips, move your center of gravity directly underneath the opponent before you look to block and push them over. This will literally send them flying before they come crashing down to the ground in a twisting manner.
Setting Up Takedowns For Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
The one thing that can help you get a higher percentage rate on your double leg takedown for BJJ is the way you approach setting it up, The nature of exchanges and the rules of Jiu Jitsu are different from wrestling. This means that shooting across the mats from several feet apart is not always the best option when it comes to Jiu Jitsu.
The shooting setup of a double leg will work in BJJ, but it does have a limited success rate. The combination of the Gi, the fac that the match won’t end when a person touche the ground, and countermoves like front headlock chokes and Kimura traps all factor in here.
A much better option is to go for a double leg takedown off of a clinch. People in BJJ start matches crouching as low as possible anyway. Since they’re low and looking for grips anyway, clinch takedowns, like from double under or a collar and elbow tie make a lot more sense than hitting a power double from a distance.
Just as a last addition to this rant, you might frown upon the technique in the video. Combat sports practitioners are almost always incredibly critical when it comes to technique, but if we’re being completely honest, anything that works makes for sound technique. The double leg takedown is one of the best ways to get someone to the ground. All it takes is fine-tuning the finish and entry so that it suits your game and the rules of sport BJJ.