Double Leg Takedown: 6 Most Common Mistakes

Double Leg Takedown: 6 Most Common Mistakes


Guest post by Mark Lajhner, founder and chief instructor of Kaizen MMA Academy in Belgrade, Serbia. He is a Judo black belt (Serbian national team member), BJJ purple belt and multiple medallist in Freesyle Wrestling. You can find Mark Lajhner’s FREE MMA course Here.

Double leg takedown is probably the most utilized and high percentage takedown in MMA. And it is not only used in that sport, but also in many others like freestyle wrestling, BJJ, grappling, sambo, sanshou…etc.
It is imperative for a an MMA athlete to know it well, but unfortunaltely I have seen many fighters that make a lot of mistakes when executing it.

Here are the most common ones:




Having a proper posture is imperative for a double leg takedown to work. You want a good athletic stance with a straight back and slightly leaning forward, like the start of a deadlift. If you are too upright then you will not be able to
produce a lot of power upon contact. If you are too bent over it is easier to sprawl on you. The correct stance will offer maximum forward potential and power generation.

The head should be up and pressuring sideways when cutting the corner, not down. When the head is down it is easier to push it down, sprawl and get a guillotine. And of course you want to avoid all of these. When shooting in for
the double some fighters tend to look away from their opponent in fear of getting punched or kneed to the face. This is wrong and you should always look straight ahead since the position of the head determines the direction
of the throw and it is preferable to look where your shooting.


The days when you could shoot in from 3 meters away like Royce Gracie did in the first UFCs are long gone and in modern MMA you need to get closer to be able to execute an effective double leg takedown. It is still possible to get a
takedown from far away, but the probability of it working is very low. I recommend going for the double when your opponent is at arms length.

Fighters usually want to shoot in from far away if they are afraid of their opponent’s striking and would like to avoid it at all costs. But it rarely works. So you must strike at least a little bit to be able to get close
enough to shoot. Another good way to get close is to slip or duck the punches and then shoot in. When opponent punches he has already cleared the distance and sometimes the penetration step isn’t even necessary.
Then the takedown will have greater chances of working that if you strike your way in.


Many many people make this mistake and I’ve done it for a long time until I learned better. The problem with planting the lead knee is that the force is going downwards instead of straight through the opponent.
Thus making it harder to finish the takedown and easier for the opponent to sprawl. What you want is to make a sliding motion when penetrating. Just like a child decending on a slide.


It is quite common for paractitioners to search for oppoenent’s legs with their arms instead of concentrating on chest and shoulder penetration. The arms are there to trap the legs and are weak if you are too far. You want to
go in deep and “spike” your opponent with your shoulder. Then the arms will be much stronger because you have gone all the way towards your opponent.

My double leg only started working when I inujred my right elbow and shoulder. I was unable to use my right arm and trained with one hand im my belt. So in order to succeed in double legging someone with just one hand,
my penetration had to be perfect and this is how I leared to do it properly.


It can be intimidating to go for the double leg in MMA. You might be worried if your opponent will uppercut you or knee you on the way in, he might have a good sprawl so you second guess if you should even go for it. It can
be difficult to time it right when the punches are in the mix so all of this makes it difficult to commit to the takedown.

Back when I use to train judo, my coaches would tell us that we MUST commit to the throw with full conviction. If we do – we MIGHT get it, but if we don’t we will SURELY fail. Like with all things in life there are no guarantees
but that shouldn’t stop us from giving our best. There were many times when I got stopped or even countered in judo even when I fully commited to the throw, but that is the only way to learn. Whenever I half-assed it I got
thrown every time.

So fully commit to your double leg when you decide to go for it. You should practice with partners who will not intentionally hurt you which helps tremedeously when learning and practicing, but that is another subject.


This mostly applies to high doubles. In a low double leg the most comon finish is cutting the corner, but in the high double legs you want to run through your opponent and not stop upon shoulder contact.
So just because you achieved contact with your shoulder on opponent’s stomach, it doesn’t mean he will fall down automatically. You must continue do drive to be able to finish the takedown.

So these were the 6 most common double leg mistakes. I hope you’ve enjoyed this video/article and that you will add these points to your training.

If you’d like to get our FREE MMA Course, click on the image to get it.