Chip: Penetration skill question

In your "Level change" thread, you mentioned you were going to write something about penetration skill later, but I haven't seen it.

I'm asking because I read in a wrestling book that in a double leg, you should lower your level and then take a penetration step, once your level is where it's going to be, for the double leg. After this, you may or may not rock over your lead knee for further penetration. Still, I see so many wrestlers simply not step at all with their lead leg but rather just lower their level and go over their lead knee and bring their trail leg up. Does mean that their lead leg was close enough before the double? Someone?

my 2 cents

A lot depends on what your opponent is doing. Is he coming to you or backing away?

Penetration is much more important if hes stationary or backing away, then you really need to step towards him.

If you set him up so that he is coming to you, a lot of times a simple level change and kneel thru is all thats needed.

Hope that helps.

jonpall, this is an excellent question and one I've wondered about as well. I look forward to Chip's response. To expand on your question, if you're in a staggered stance and will not be stepping your lead leg forward its obvious to lower level and then penetrate. However, what if the guy is not as close and you need to step forward with your lead leg? It seems like it would be difficult to lower your level, step lead leg forward and then penetrate.

Again, great question that I hope some wrestlers can help out with.

"I see so many wrestlers simply not step at all with their lead leg but rather just lower their level and go over their lead knee and bring their trail leg up. Does mean that their lead leg was close enough before the double?"

Yes, basically their lead leg was close enough. GrapplerHK answered the question pretty well. Basically, the shot (penetration) you are describing is sometimes called a "drop step" or "knee dip" - take a look at noshames's "Basic 8 - Knee Dip" in the archives for a great description. It sounds pretty simple, but it's actually a type of shot that many people have trouble mastering until they get a decent amount of experience under their belt.

FYI - the "Seven Basic Skills" threads are very time consuming for me, part of the reason is that I'm probably too anal with them so I go back and edit them and re-edit them before posting. I would like to eventually get to it, but I don't have the time right now.

intrigue - "It seems like it would be difficult to lower your level, step lead leg forward and then penetrate."

I know it seems difficult, but yes, that's what you have to do if you want to take a shot on an opponent that's farther away from you. There are two basic shots (for head outside attacks anyway) - the penetration step (what you described) and the knee dip or drop step (what jonpall described). If someone is far away from you and you want to shoot - you either take a penetration step, or you close the distance and hit a knee dip (which is the "short range" version of the penetration step).

*Note - you shouldn't be shooting from too far away, anyway. When I say he's "far away" from you, I mean you're forehead to forehead with him. When I say that you close the distance, I mean that you're basically tied up with him (with underhooks or inside ties, or whatever). If I'm not close enough to smell his breath, I ain't shooting. He's got too much time to react and counter me.

Blast double as taught by chip

hehehehehe sorry chip, couldn't resist



Great answer Chip. Thanks


"Still, I see so many wrestlers simply not step at all with their lead leg but rather just lower their level..."

jonpall, I think more might be happening there than you realize. In order for a wrestler to be able to hit a knee-dip type penetration (and be successful with it!) he's done a lot of work to set him up first. He's set him up properly, is moving his opponent around, and is most likely making good use of tie-ups/pummeling/handfighting before hitting it. A good wrestler hitting a knee-dip shot isn't just doing it on a whim like, "Hmm, should I hit a penetration step or a knee dip? I think I'm in a knee dip mood." It's a very purposeful decision (or should be, anyway). Like GrapplerHK mentioned, a lot of it has to do with the actions/reactions of your opponent - a guy pressuring into you is asking for a knee-dip shot, a guy that's more passive will probably call for penetration step.

Also, I said that a knee-dip can be tricky for some people to master until they get some experience under their belt. Maybe I should explain myself...

A knee-dip is sort of like a "cheat" on the penetration step - which is cool if you know what you're doing. The problem is that there is some subtle nuance of positioning that can be lost if someone is a little less experienced, so they don't just cheat on the penetration step, but they cheat on ALL the aspects of good positioning on a shot.

I learned this lesson by coaching. I started off trying to teach a group the knee-dip first (because I prefer to use that if I can) and many of them were doing it so-so, but not very good. Their positioning and execution was just... "off." I then went back and taught the penetration step, which they seemed to pick up quite well. And we drilled it, and drilled it, and then a few months later, I re-introduced the knee-dip. It went MUCH better that time!

I think the reason is that the full "penetration step" shot forces you to be very consious of your positioning. Once someone has a very good grasp of the proper positioning, they can then "cheat" on the penetration step, but they won't cheat on the other fundamental principles of positioning on a shot.

I'm sure there are many good coaches and wrestlers that could present very legitimate arguments against me here, but that's been my experience coaching, so take that for what it's worth.

Excellent, Chip.

Like usually, Chip's answer has made me not only understand the subject but be preprared to write an essay on it, which is just the way I like it. And the joke with "I think I'm in a knee dip mood" was most appreciated as well.


Now, I'm not really worthy, but I smell an archived thread here.

Thanks a bunch once again, man. Cheers.

So are you feeling like you're in a knee-dip kind of mood now? ;)

If you want it archived, consider it done. I'm going to wait a little bit though, because if I archive it, it yanks it off the main forum.

The reason you don't see him take a step is because he achieved his penetration through proper angles instead. There's no one textbook answer.. it's sort of like asking why there wasn't a footsweep at the end of a guys ippon seoi nage in judo.. simple, it wasn't needed.

"it's sort of like asking why there wasn't a footsweep at the end of a guys ippon seoi nage in judo..."

ummm, what???

sorry, since he comes from a judo background, I figured it'd make sense. the reason he didn't need to take the step was because he was already in position, had proper angle, etc, and stepping was totally unnecessary.. eh, crappy example.

Todd, I think I speak for everyone here when I say you need to watch your language. I'm not really sure what you said, but we're trying to run a family oriented forum here. We just don't need that potty talk.

Chip (and all), I have a related question. When dropping levels for a longer distance shot (forehead to forehead), do you bring your rear foot up closer to your lead foot right before you shoot? Or do you simply drop and shoot with your feet in whatever stance they are currently in? I recently trained with someone who told me to bring my rear foot forward into a momentary narrow stance near my front foot - that way, when I explode off the rear foot, I am cover a foot or two more of distance than if I had simply shot from a regular staggered stance. It made sense in principle to me, but I figured I'd ask those with more mat experience before I devote a lot of training time to it. Thanks in advance,


Hey Jeff, long time no see, buddy.

No, I have to disagree with whoever you learned that from. I understand that the idea seems to make sense intuitively, but against a guy ready to club your head into the ground when you shoot, it doesn't pan out too well.

In wrestling jargon, you would be "telegraphing" your shot - i.e. - giving him a lot of advance warning that the shot is coming. Keep in mind that a half second qualifies as a lot of warning. In fact, taking a little stutter step like that is a bad habit common in beginners that you have to drill out of them. The better someone becomes, the smoother and more effecient each movement is. Please DO NOT train yourself into making this a habit.

You simply drop and shoot. Lower your level and *BANG* fire forward into the shot.

Thank you for rescuing me before I jumped off that particular cliff, Chip. You got mail...


Chip, this may be a silly question, but when you step that first step between the opponent's legs, do you try to step with your weight on your heel or ball of the foot?


oh man, that sucks. i forced myself to learn that drop stutter step because kevin jackson said so in his video. my wrestling coach told me not to do it and i didn't listen. :( how bad in a pickle am i? anyone here agree with kevin jackson on that?