Double Leg Takedown: how to do it and most common mistakes

The double leg takedown or ‘morote gari’  is common and highly effective takedown used in wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and many other grappling sports. In the BJJ every fight starts standing and ideally you gonna try to take your opponent to the ground, expect if you are guard puller but that is a story for another time. This takedown is one of the first that beginners learn and although it looks very simple at first there are many details that differentiate successful from a failed double leg.

How to do double leg takedown

Lower your level by bending knees and shoot for takedown using your rear leg to push yourself to the opponent. At the same time, drop your lead leg knee in between of opponents legs (not recommended on hard surfaces) and grab his legs (around thighs ) and squeeze them together. Hold your chest and head tight next your opponents body to avoid guillotine. Pull rear leg to the outside of your opponents legs so both of your legs are parallel to each other. Once you have your legs in position and tight, secure hold on his legs, push up and to the side while pulling the opponent’s legs.

Remember use leverage and try not out muscle your opponent especially if he is bigger then you.  Double leg properly executed will leave you in the side control. For this sequence to be successful you need to it explosively and ideally, the best time to shoot for a double leg is when your opponent is going toward you or in the case of MMA/street fight punching.

Double Leg Takedown common mistakes

  1. Not committing to the takedown: One of the first lessons don’t do take down if you are not gonna go through with it! Changing your mind in the middle of the takedown is gonna get you in a bad position especially in MMA. Getting hit with a knee in the head or giving your opponent way to your back can be very scary. Before you decide to do this takedown in the competitions or fight, drill it intensively.
  2. Shooting for a takedown from too far away: Today everyone who trains grappling sports is going to learn double leg takedown and the way how to defend it. Even people who just watch MMA gonna know what double leg is. The best distance for a double leg is arm’s length distance, shooting from more than that is going to give your opponent plenty time to react.
  3. Bad posture, leading leg knee position and wrong use of arms: Having good posture is crucial for a good double leg takedown. The posture for this takedown is similar to deadlift stance, so straight back while slightly leaning forward but not too much or you won’t have enough power to finish the takedown. Another mistake is to focus on your hands too much to finish the takedown. A lot of people try to lift opponent with their arms and in the process forgetting about legs to generate power or to change the angle. This mistake is even more noticeable when you stop movement upon knee contact with the ground and then you try to grab legs while pulling them towards you. Just because you have contact with your opponent it doesn’t mean he will go down automatically still, you have run through your opponent, moving him from starting position.

How to counter DL takedown

The double leg takedown can be countered by sprawling, moving away, and/or guillotine choke in a poorly performed takedown.

  1. Sprawl: Is defensive technique executed as a reaction to a certain takedown, usually double and single leg takedowns. The sprawl is performed by shooting the legs backward while lending on opponents upper back. This is the basic defense that everyone should learn.
  2. Guillotine Counter: can be a nasty submission for people who do not commit to takedown or do it with extremely poor form. The usually seen reaction, when caught in a guillotine while performing double leg takedown, is completely freezing in place waiting to get choked. Another reaction, when stuck in a standing guillotine choke, is continuing to drive straight forward right into the opponents full guard.

The double leg takedown is powerful move and it should be included in the arsenal of every grappler. Even if you don’t plan to use this technique, crucial is to know how it works so it’s going to be easier to counter it. If you plan to use this technique most important thing is to drill it properly and commit to takedown.