Improve Your Stand-Up Game With These Judo Leg Grab Takedowns

Improve Your Stand-Up Game With These Judo Leg Grab Takedowns

If you’re eager to improve your Leg Grab takedown game while training and competing in the Gi, then you’ll be happy to hear that Shintaro Higashi – 6th degree Judo black belt – has three variations prepared!
Let’s take a look at them.



Shintaro explains that from a Judo perspective, it’s quite difficult to just shoot in for the takedown, because your opponent can make a grip on your collar, blocking your ability to shoot in on their leg by doing so.

For that reason, it’s very important that you establish control over your opponent’s hand first (either at the end of the sleeve or at the elbow), so that you can then use that grip to set yourself up for an Arm Drag!
The Arm Drag will make it possible for you to get in a whole range of throws. What Shintaro does is that he grabs the training partner’s arm, changes his level and then clears the arm over his shoulder, shooting in for his partner’s leg.

Once he grabs the leg, Shintaro stands up and now has great options – he chooses the high crotch one. Pay attention to how he doesn’t lift with his back, but utilizes his hips in order to make his training partner go airborne.


The Single Leg takedown in Judo also demands that you become wary of your opponent’s grips. Shintaro shows that, in order to set the Single Leg, you first need to make sure that you’re blocking any of the impending collar grabs your opponent might be aiming for.

Then, Shintaro grabs his training partner’s collar and blocks the inside position collar reach with his elbow.
From that position, Shintaro slides his hands down, grabbing his training partner’s leg and slipping his head directly into the creek of the partner’s elbow, trapping his arm to his body. Here, he emphasizes that the arm which is grabbing the leg from the outside needs to have its palm facing down when gripping the other hand (which is facing up). This way, it’ll be very difficult for your opponent to peel the grip away.

From there, Shintaro drops down to the training partner’s ankle, elevating it with his arm towards the ceiling and walking in towards him, scoring the takedown.


Shintaro points out, yet again, that when your opponent has their grips established on your collar, it’s very difficult to effectively shoot towards their legs – as arms are the first line of their defense, keeping you away from their legs.

For that reason, you have to take initiative – grab your opponent’s sleeve or, if you can’t get the sleeve, grip their collar.
Once you have the grip, Shintaro explains that you can attack your opponent’s lead leg, going for a High Crotch takedown. However, in this case, as Shintaro takes a shot towards his training partner’s front leg, the partner pulls that leg back. This makes it possible for Shintaro to attack the back leg – not by going for the „regular“ single, but by going for a Sweep Single, where he circles around that leg and attacks it from the back. Then, he pushes his head into the side of his training partner’s rib cage, which makes it possible for him to elevate the leg and score the takedown.

Also, pay attention to how he doesn’t stop mid-way when his training partner pulls back his front leg. Shintaro doesn’t disengage and then go for the back leg. Instead, he stays engaged by immediately switching his leg to the outside and sweeping around the body.

Learn how to grip, move, and off-balance anyone from one of the most respected teachers in the USA

  • Master the basics with Shintaro Higashi, 6th-degree black belt and US National Champion
  • Sharpen your judo basics and start scoring takedowns with technique (instead of muscle) with judo professor Shintaro Higashi’s fundamentals course.