Body Lock Takedown – How To Set Up, Execute, and Finish

Body locks are great against grapplers that like to scramble out of leg attacks. Additionally, you don’t need a penetration step to do a body lock takedown (although you can certainly take one if you’re comfortable with it).

One unique aspect of the body lock is that there are numerous different finishes, but fewer set ups. We’ll explore them in this post.

Body Lock Takedown Set up

Depending on whether you want to finish the body lock takedown in front or behind the opponent, your set ups may vary. To get behind the opponent, a duck under from bicep or wrist control is very effective and so is an arm drag. In fact, you can set up the duck under by faking an arm drag and vice versa because you’re pulling the arm in opposite directions.

Underhooks and elbow posts are good for opening up just enough space to lock your hands in front of your opponent. Sometimes you may be able to get behind the opponent too.

If you maintain good posture with one of your leg attack shots, you can transition into a body lock as well.


For the body lock takedown, all you need to do is follow your opponent’s hips and lower your level so that your center of gravity (hips) is lower than your opponent’s. This gives you more control and applies to both the front and back positions. At the same time, lock your hands around their waist. The lower you get, the more control you will have with the body lock.

Body Lock Takedown Finish (front)

The easiest finish from the front is pulling your opponent’s lower back in with your locked hands while pushing forward with your head (ideally, your head will be in your opponent’s chest). If you are somewhat perpendicular to the opponent, you can also twist them into the ground. With this variation, you’ll end up in side mount right away. However, the most effective takedown is to lift your opponent into the air and throwing them. This is because opponents cannot scramble out of a takedown when they’re being lifted into the air.

Body Lock Takedown Finish (Back)

The mat return is where you get perpendicular to your opponent while locking hands to lift them up before following them to the mat. Done right, this is the cleanest and most effective finish from the back. You can also trip your opponent’s legs while keeping your hands locked, too. Of course, you can also finish with a suplex for style points. You may want to check to see if this is legal in under whatever rules are being contested at your tournament though.

In general, the finishes where you lift your opponent off the mat are harder to learn and may take a little more strength and power, but have a higher success percentage because it’s much harder to counter an attack while you’re in the air.