Countering The Takedown

Although you should always head into a fight with an offensive mind-set, understanding how to block your opponent's takedowns by sprawling, as well as understanding all of your options off the sprawl, is critical for both the striker and grappler. Strikers obviously want to avoid getting put on their back because they lose their ability to make the most out of their punches and kicks. Grapplers want to avoid getting taken down because the majority of MMA competitors are now well versed in submissions, making it much more difficult to finish an opponent from your back. Every once in a while a grappler lying on the canvas will throw up a triangle and get the finish, but it doesn't happen nearly as often as it used to. Most of the time he gets dragged over to the fence and absorbs a barrage of downward punches and elbows. In such a situation, his survival often comes down to his ability to escape to a top position or climb to his feet.

Sprawling is a basic wrestling technique that you must incorporate into your offensive game. Learning how to sprawl and execute all of your options off the sprawl takes time and practice. You must incorporate sprawling while sparring, shadow boxing, and hitting the heavy bag and mitts. It also helps to practice a sparring drill where your partner's only goal is to throw strikes and go for a takedown, and your only goal is to throw strikes and defend against the takedown. As your opponent constantly drops his level, you'll slowly learn how to differentiate between a real shot and a fake one that is used to create an opening to strike. You must also learn how to move laterally. Constantly employing side to side movement not only makes it difficult for your opponent to zero in on you for the takedown, but it will also create openings for you to attack.

Once you understand the dynamics of the sprawl, you must then work tirelessly on developing your timing. The first step to accomplishing this is becoming a master at reading your opponent's movements. Every time your opponent drops his level, he is putting himself into a position from which he can shoot in. However, if you sprawl the instant your opponent drops his level, he still has the option of abandoning the takedown and firing away with punches. To keep this from happening, you simply want to drop your level the moment your opponent drops his. Instead of sprawling, you're mirroring your opponent's movement with your hands up. If your opponent pops back up into a standard stance, you still have the base and balance to come up with him. If he decides to shoot in from his crouched stance, your level is already dropped, making it easy to kick your legs back for the sprawl. The tricky part is not only spotting the exact instant that your opponent commits to the takedown by penetrating in for the shot, but also executing a flawless sprawl in that exact same instant. Learning how to spot that commitment and then react to it is not something that you can learn from reading a book; it can only be developed through experience and a lot of mat time. If you don't put in your dues, you'd best become a master at fighting off your back because that's probably where you will be spending a lot of your time.

Countering the Single-leg

When an opponent shoots in and manages to secure both of your legs for the double, there is a large probability that you'll end up on your back. This isn't true when an opponent snatches up one of your legs for the single. Although the single is easier for him to acquire, you have a lot of options to escape. The first step to defending against the single is developing exceptional balance. In training I'll have a partner snatch up my leg and then run me around the cage. As he tries to take me down, I maintain balance by hopping on one foot. If you can maintain that balance, your options are great. You can sock your opponent in his unprotected face, as well as execute one of the techniques I've included in the upcoming section to either break his hold or use his hold against him and take him to the ground, putting you in the top position. Having developed good single-leg defense has saved me from ending up on my back in many, many fights.

I'm in my fighting stance, squared off As Reagan steps forward with a jab, I par- Immediately following the jab, Reagan drops with Reagan. ry it with my right hand. his level and shoots in for the takedown. As he tries closing the distance, I dig my left forearm into the left side of his neck. This prevents him from getting the penetration he needs for the takedown.

Kick Boxing Guide

Kick Boxing Guide

This is a guide that will help you learn everything you are needing to know about kick boxing. You will learn such things as all the safety tips, misconceptions, perfect workouts, all the basics and so much more.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment