The Double Leg Takedown for MMA

If there’s one takedown that every fighter should know, it’s the double-leg. Also known as a “double,” this takedown is the most common technique used in mixed martial arts for a reason: It works. As a result, it is typically the first takedown that beginning fighters are taught.

There are many advanced variations to the double leg, however. This guide will help you understand the basic principles of the double leg without a set up. As you perfect this technique, you will learn many different set ups and finishes, but first you must understand how this move works on a basic level.

Before you start to practice your double, make sure you have a firm grasp of the penetration step. If you aren’t familiar with the penetration step, or if you need to brush up on the basics a little, check out the guide How to Shoot a Takedown in MMA. When you’re ready, read the following steps carefully to start perfecting one of the most effective takedowns you will ever learn.

Find your range:

A huge factor in how effective your double will be is the distance you shoot it from. The more athletic, elite-level fighters can hit this move from far away. However, when learning this technique, make sure you are close enough to your partner that you can touch their shoulder or head. Also, most takedowns require you to be in a staggered, or offensive stance. Make sure you are in a good, low stance and your feet are set with your trail leg behind you, ready to shoot.

Change levels:

Bend your knees slightly to drop the position of your body. This will help you get low enough to penetrate your opponent’s defense (hands and arms) and will also allow you to generate enough power to drive through your opponent.

Take a big step:

Push off of the foot of your trail leg and take a big step with your lead leg in between your opponent’s feet. Make sure that you take a big step roughly 2-3 feet in front of you, but not so big that you lose balance when shooting. To help you remember, think about this position as “3 feet in a row”: Your opponent’s feet, and yours in the middle. Doing this will ensure that you have stepped deep enough. As you do this, keep your elbows in towards your body.How Tip: Position BasicsThe position of your upper body is very important in making the double effective. As you shoot, keep your elbows in and your head and chest up. Once you are in on the double leg, use your shoulder to hit your opponent’s hips. Keep this position as you finish the takedown, with your head and chest up, and using your head to push into your opponent to help the takedown. Remembering these simple basics will increase the likelihood that you will finish the move successfully.

Drop your knee:

Drop the knee of your lead leg behind your opponent. As you do this, your shoulder should hit your opponent’s hips, and should knock him backwards slightly. If your shoulder does not hit your opponent’s hips, this means there is too much space between your bodies. Make sure that as you penetrate your opponent’s stance you are knocking him backwards.

Snake the legs:

As you drop to your knee and hit your opponent’s hips with your shoulder, use both of your arms to control both of your opponent’s legs. To do this, ‘snake’ your arms around the back of your opponent’s knees and to the inside of their calves. Pull their legs toward you tightly. 

Note: You won’t have much success trying to out-muscle your opponent above the knees because typically their hips and thighs will be too strong. If you try to control the legs too low you will most likely take your upper body out of position. The back of the knee is what you want to control.

Step up:

Step up with your outside leg, which should be your trail leg. Try to step a good distance away from your body and to the side of you so you can push off of this leg to drive your opponent to the mat. The bend of your knee when you do this should be slightly greater than 90 degrees. It’s important to stay in good position with your head and chest up, and with your opponent’s legs pulled tightly to your body.

Get to your feet:

Step up with your inside leg, or the leg of the knee you have on the mat. As you step up with your inside leg, push off of your trail leg and step outside your opponent’s body. For example: If your left knee is on the mat, push off of your right leg and step your left leg up and to the outside of your opponent’s right leg. This should be a big step, or even a jump. This will help to knock your opponent off balance so you can drive through the takedown.

Run him down:

After your initial step across your opponent’s body, keep running through him. Keep your knees bent and your butt down so you have enough power to drive your opponent’s weight. Take big “shuffle” steps to the outside of your opponent’s body, at a slight angle. You shouldn’t be trying to drive directly forwards or to the side. Instead, use your head and shoulder to drive your opponent to a slight angle. As you do this, pull your opponent’s legs in a sweeping motion towards the shoulder of your trail leg.

Finish & T-up:

If you’re in a good, low position, taking big steps, and sweeping the legs, you will get your opponent to the mat in no time. As you take your opponent to the mat, try to keep pressure on your opponent with your shoulder. Also, keep control of both of his legs and pull them up and toward your body. Try to get chest-to-chest, and circle on your toes until your body makes a “T” in relation to his. You now have side control.

    The Basics Win Fights

    Knowing the basics of the double leg will take you a long way in competition. Over time you will learn many different slick and sneaky variations of this move, and you will also learn how to mix strikes in with it. But for now, practice these steps while paying close attention to the details until you have it perfected. Also, talk to your coach about how you can tailor this move to fit your own style of fighting. Now get out there and get drilling!

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