I see many resources on how to prevent a Double Leg takedown from even occurring initially, including Sprawl technique, or knee to head etc. However, how do I defend against a double leg takedown when an opponent has me on the shoulders and in the middle of the air? Do I just prepare for better luck and go with a Judo fall, or should I attempt to elbow opponent in mid air?

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  • 2
    MMA or self-defense? MMA forbids elbows to the back of the head, so answers might differ. Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 19:00
  • hi @PhilipKlöcking I didn't know that, single or both answers will work, thanks
    – mattsmith5
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 19:37
  • hi @PhilipKlöcking I will take answers for both
    – mattsmith5
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 23:48
  • That right shin looks like it's in a happy place for kicking. ;) Commented Dec 21, 2021 at 19:05

3 Answers 3


In a self-defense scenario, your primary objective is to protect yourself. Tuck your head forward to avoid it impacting the ground. If possible, pull your shoulders forward to activate the muscles in your back to ensure that the meat of your back, and not your spine, hits the ground, and try to turn slightly to one side so that you don't land flat on your back and get winded. I believe (I don't have statistics) that most self-defense double-legs do not involve much of a lifting off the ground, focusing more on taking the other person down, so there will really not be time to try to secure strikes on the other person before impact.

On the bright side, in a self-defense scenario, you're likely to be dealing with someone who either has learned double-leg secondhand from watching the UFC, or comes from an amateur wrestling background, so once you've ensured you do not sustain serious injury by tucking your head and protecting your spine, you're more likely to have an opening to start pummeling at their head after the impact, and if they do try to lift you, especially for an untrained individual, there's a decent opportunity to try to throw them off by twisting and shifting your weight during the lift.

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    Nitpick: Do not flatten your back as it is the crunch (shoulders pulled forward-inward) that will a) activate the muscular structure protecting the spine and b) help protecting the organs by having them stay in place as well. Also, if possible, am at turning slightly during the fall so that you do not fall flat on the back if it's on hard ground. Otherwise, with a flat back, you will not only have no muscular tension (or in the wrong way) but also will get winded badly. Commented Dec 17, 2021 at 22:03
  • I will amend that tonight. Commented Dec 17, 2021 at 23:32
  • Could you also push down with your feet from the top of their thighs to loosen their grip by moving up and then out?
    – FrontEnd
    Commented Dec 23, 2021 at 4:46

Obviously, try and fight your way out of it but if your opponent is in that deep? You're going for a ride. In which case, tuck your chin to your chest so as not to smack the back of your head on the mat/floor/ground/etc and exhale as soon as your back hits the mat/floor/ground/etc.

  • Actually, you should exhale before you hit the ground (and keep your airflow free), as otherwise, the pressure on the lung tissue would still produce damage. Commented Dec 30, 2021 at 13:51

Disclaimer: this comes from someone who doesn't train. At all.

Self defense: gauge their eyes with your thumbs. One at a time. That's got to hurt. A strike beforehand would aid their cooperation in the endevour.

Sparring: cling on. If you hug the person it's difficult for them to throw you to the ground. And even if they do it gives you wrestling options.

  • interesting, if you don't train, how did you derive this information? from personal experience, etc?
    – mattsmith5
    Commented Dec 24, 2021 at 19:22
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    Eye gouges rarely are as effective as they are sold to be. Firstly, people naturally evade this by instinct. Secondly, from an inferior position, all you achieve is getting hurt faster and more. Commented Dec 24, 2021 at 19:29
  • @PhilipKlöcking I've never gauged an eye(thankfully!!!) but what makes You think that in the photo posted by OP - if there were no gloves - the right hand would be more useful for hugging the opponent's ribs instead of what I suggested?
    – Vorac
    Commented Dec 24, 2021 at 19:32
  • I did self-defense seminars where people were explicitly allowed to try eye-gouging, biting, and scratching from inferior positions on the ground. Against those who knew how to capitalise from superior positions, they regretted each try fast. To be fair, there is not much you can do once you are in that position anyway. If one chooses to do something offensive, best bet would be anything that disturbs balance physiologically (slap on the ear, neck strike) and wiggle to lessen control afterwards imho. I'd rather cling to them and mitigate damage myself though. Commented Dec 25, 2021 at 17:07

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