Defense from the Low Single

I'm the biggest sucker for low singles!! Any advice for
defending the low single would be appreciated? Also what
could I be doing to make myself succeptible to this? Thanks
alot in advance!

Try to reach over their back and grab their ankles and lift up .. it flattens them out.. and you are both in an almost stalemate position..

It is the same counter if they are doing the Iranian..

they must be controlling the tie-up and when you step toward them.. they shoot the low-leg

Hands low! If you're doing just "pure wrestling" keep your hands low, and shoot your hands down between the bodies when you opp is shooting in. If you're doing MMA and need to keep your hands up, just drill getting your hands down quickly when needed.

A low single is a SPEED attack, so it needs a quick defense (sprawl). If you're slow (like me ;) that can be tough to do. There's an old saying in wrestling - 'There is no counter to speed.' If your opponent hits you with something so fast that you don't even see it coming, how can you defend it? That's one of the basic principles behind a low single.

So there's the hands issue, there's the speed issue...

Why do you seem to be a target for it in the first place? Well...

Do you have a very upright stance? Settling into a lower stance (and keeping your hands lower) could help with that.

Is your stance very sugar-footed - lead foot staggered very far forward of your trail leg? If so, that lead foot being way out front can make for a tempting target to a low single specialist. Squaring your stance up a bit might help. There's nothing wrong with a sugar foot stance, but it can be overdone if your splitting your legs TOO wide in terms of lead-leg/trail-leg... leaving that lead foot unprotected.

Also, be wary of your forward/backward motion. Usually, you're not in too much danger of being hit with a low single during lateral movement (side to side), but the time when a low single person is going to hit you is either when you are coming forward to attack, or dis-engaging and moving backwards. Make sure to have a hand down to protect that lead leg when moving backward or forward.

OK, I just did a lot of general rambling. If you have any more specifics on how/when you're getting hit with it, let me know and we'll see if we can narrow it down.

Parklife, what's "the Iranian"? I've never heard of that. Is it a variation on a low-single?

Iranian: say you did a bad double leg and he sprawls on top of you.. then bring your head in.. and with your head between his legs you lift him up.. so he is almost doing a hand stand.. usually they try to grab your ankles across your back.. keep one of the legs and then dump him off to the side..

Ah, I can picture exactly what you're talking about - just had never heard a name for it before. Thanks!

Thanks to everyone for their advice! Chip- the way I am
getting hit w/ it is always from an open stance, never when
tied up. Maybe my stance is part of the reason, like you
suggested, I do have staggered stance the majority of the
time. Maybe I am leaving my lead leg out too much at times,
someone else who was a good wrestler suggested that also I
stand too offensively. I try to circle (lol, we would get yelled at
SO bad for backing up or moving too aggressively forward).
And yes, my question was in a grappling sense, not MMA
(although I do want to train MMA someday). I will definitely
try to be more aware of my stance!

One more thing.. Let's say someone shoots in for a low
single, and it is either to late to sprawl or the attempt to
sprawl failed.. Are there any last minute defenses? (of course
the best defense would be not to get taken down in the 1st
place but just in case :) And when I attempt to sprawl is
there an angle or technique to making the sprawl more
effective to a quick, low shot? Parklife, you mentioned
trying to pick their ankles, do you mean from a sprawl, from
what angle is most effective?

I appreciate everyone's help, sorry so many questions!!

"I usually take the back when someone shoots a low single
on me; even if they get it, they leave their back exposed."

Even though I've fallen for the same shot over and over and
over again, when someone shoots a low single real fast, I
usually get knocked down, arrghh, I'm such a sucker

lol, yup WhiteWhale, ankle picks from a tie up is another one
that I get caught with

Do you know any good solo drills to go along w/ shadow


Chip has started making reference to MMA cause I always add slight variations to techs/stances/etc in case someone is concerned with mma (damn me! lol). at any rate, it's good advice.

Try Choke,

If your'e getting ankle picked from the clinch, work on keeping your hips low and head up while in the clinch. it'll shut the ankle pick down.

Also, for basic shot defense, I always try to sprawl away from the shot. In other words, don't just sprawl straight back, but sprawl back and away (try to get a full 90 degrees from his direction of movement) from the leg the opponent is working for. if my opp is shooting a double with his head to my right side, I sprawl back and left while blocking/pushing him to the mat. If he's shooting a low single to my left, I sprawl back and to my right while doing the same thing with my arms.

work for control immediately after stopping the shot. my old coach called this downblocking and it worked like a charm.

no shame

if you are doing submission stuff, and they shoot a straight low single into your shin.. lean your shin into their trapezius, and lock up a front headlock (with your shin stuck in it) and squeeze. Tap tap.

If you can't get the leg back enough on the sprawl I've seen guys who link their arms around the shooter's body and then kind of keep rolling over backwards as they're taken down until the guy who shot in has their back facing the mat. You can at least get back to a neutral position from here.

I don't know if this technique has a name - anyone want to chime in?

they show a counter for it at under the wrestling video for kevin jackson and mike van arsdale. it is a preview of the video.


the way that i have heard of an iranian is slightly different then mentioned above. Let's say you shoot a bad HC on their right leg. Unfortunately, he is able to turn the corner and is on the right side of you, your head still to the outside. Plant the left hand on the ground and lift with the right hand. Helps if you can get under him more. I forget the finish exactly.

Jerry, you are the cause for all of this MMA/wrestling confusion. I hope you're proud of yourself mister! :-[


Tryangle - Most of the advice in my first post was "preventative" - so it's not too helpful if someone has already gotten that low single. If someone has already snatched my ankle, I (personally) find it very difficult to continue with a "normal" sprawl. At that point, I will usually turn my knee in whichever direction is most convenient - inwards or outwards.

Then I'll try to rotate myself around so that I am more or less squatting overtop of them. I then will try to "lock in the crotch" - settling my weight on them (basically sitting on them) and lock in the crotch by bringing one hand next to their waist and under the crotch, the other hand goes behind their butt and underneath their crotch, locking hands in the middle. (I may have over-explained that, it's a little confusing).

I then try to lift and take them out of position, keeping in mind that he has probably locked onto my ankle with a vice-like grip.

Note: this usually ends up degenerating into a dog-fight/scramble situation, which I am very comfortable with. One of my few strengths as a wrestler is that I've always been a decent scrambler, so this situation works well for me. If you are not comfortable with dog fights on the ground, this may not be the best option for you.

Another option: A lot of people will turn so that they are basically parrallel with the shooter (you're both facing in the same direction), with their captured leg on the mat next to the attacker, opposite side leg is up so their on their foot. They will then mule kick HARD to get out - like a sprinter firing "off the blocks." This is fine, BUT - you must do this fast and hard. A good low single person will finish quickly from this spot if you don't do anything, so you've got to just go bananas to get out of there. Don't sit and try to turn that situation into a dog fight - the deck is stacked against you (in my experience, anyway). In all liklihood you will need to kick as hard as you can, and do it 3 or 4 times to break your foot free from their grip.

Todd - that sounds like a nice little sub, but I get too antsy about the health of my knees, lol. I usually chicken out and bail by turning my knee in or out (like I described above). I'm not as brave as you, heh heh.

Matt, what you described as the Iranian is something that I once described in one of the archived threads, lol. I've never had a name for it :'(

I think it's one of the very first archived threads (near the bottom) about finishing a double or high-C after the guy sprawls out.

Chip, my coach more or less emphamisized sitting on them, and then baiting them to move from there. He wouldn't move, and it was very hard to move him. I always tried to do the same thing, I don't think I could settle as much weight or my balance wasn't as good, I always got too high or too low. I think I shall go for the kickout, but it is very easy for them to finish from that position like you mentioned.

I hear ya, Matt. The kick-out is very effective, but you gotta hit it hard and fast - you basically "spaz" with mule kicks 'till you're out.


Oh yeah, I forgot to mention this because it seems like more or less common sense, but just in case...

Once you've kicked free, you've got to immediately turn to square off with your opponent. If he's tough, you can count on him scrambling after you once you've kicked free. It's not like he'll just say, "Gosh, he kicked out, so I'll just let him go on his merry way." lol

"should u just try to turn as soon as possible with the kickout or is there a timing element.."

Do you mean turning to face your opponent once you've kicked free? If so, yes, just turn as soon as possible. Once you get out with some good hard mule kicks, if you did a "freeze frame" - there would be a split second where you are basically on your hands and knees maybe 5 or 6 feet in front of your opponent, and he is on his hands and knees behind you. As soon as he feels your foot come loose, he's going to come right after you to try to "take your back" while you're still facing the other way.

So as soon as you're free, turn and face him, and also expect him to be chasing you low (like in a fast crawl).

In my experience, the above is what happens about 9 times out of 10 from a mule kick out of a low single.

Back to locking in the crotch...

Personally, I don't like to sit and wait and see what he does here. I'll lock in the crotch and try to take control myself, forcing the action to make him either hang tighter on my ankle (in wrestling, it'll probably get stalemated) or make him let go and do something - which usually turns into a scramble situation, which I like.

thanks to all for the advice.. :)

A couple times in bjj class recently, my coach (who also used to coach HS wrestling)and I have been following wrestling rules as opposed to
bjj rules, it's been a lot of fun. :)

Ah, I see. To be honest, it's often tough to kick out right off the bat. It usually takes a little time to manuever yourself into proper position, THEN kick out.

"i can never get my foot out..." Yes, you can! Remember: you have to "spaz" and just go nuts with constant kicks. Intensity!