Poser of the Week: How NOT to Stop a Tackle

Do NOT Buy a Used Takedown Counter from This Man

When I first saw the video “Takedown vs. Wing Chun,” I knew something was wrong. The defenses against a double leg takedown just didn’t seem right to me, and several of the strikes, like the opening kick, struck me as weak and ineffective.

One hint is that the video has 86 dislikes and 17 likes (and how many of those likes come from Sifu Satin Pants, Sifu Satin Pants’ family, and Sifu Satin Pants’ friends?). Many of those comments come from people who say, “I do wrestling/MMA, and this is wrong.” Others come from people who say, “I do wing chun, and this is wr0ng.”

So I called my nephew James, the champion wrestler, and got his take. I am already at my main point –Get over your ego and ask for help. I am not an expert on grappling. I am not knowledgeable about takedowns and takedown defenses. I am trying to educate myself, and the first step is to say, “I don’t know. Please show me.”

So when my nephew came over for Thanksgiving, I taught him some empty hands and the basics of Big Stick Combat. Then I asked James to show me takedown defenses. I probably bugged the hell out of the guy, asking him questions, “What’s your favorite technique? How do you stop a double leg? Show me a Russian tie.”

Now when James showed me a crossface and sprawl he may have been thinking, “Geez, anybody who’s been two weeks in wrestling knows this.” I don’t give a crap whether I look like a martial arts hotshot or not, I’m going to learn.

Back to the video. What’s wrong with these takedown “defenses”?

According to James:

1)  The shooter starts from too far out. James tells me, “We’re taught not to shoot unless you can touch his chest.” When your opponent starts his double leg takedown with a running start from across the room, it’s easier to see it coming.

2)  The shooter just seems to be diving and grabbing the legs. A wrestler (or an enraged drunk) is going to be driving through with that tackle. The tackler’s objective is not to hug your calves, but to drive you into the pavement.

3)  The shooter has both knees down. “If you go down to one knee, it should be for just a split second,” James explains. The shooter in the video goes down to both knees. From this position, he can’t finish (mount an offense) without resetting.

4)  The defender stays straight up. James is absolutely certain, “If you’re caught standing straight up, you’re done.” It is simply a matter of physics –if someone gets under your center of gravity with forward momentum, you’re bound to fall. Try a sprawl.

5)  My Take. It seems to me that the defender has too much weight on his back foot. This is not a good position to be in against a tackler.

One easy (and lame) defense of these farcical counters runs something like, “You’ll most likely be attacked by someone who is falling down drunk and who has zero martial arts training.”

If someone were to claim that a technique on my blog is not realistic I could counter by saying, “Yeah, but if I were attacked by an 80 year old woman with cerebral palsy who has just chugged a fifth of cheap gin, that technique would work,” but no one would be fooled.

So what am I saying, that these wing chun defenses wouldn’t work against a champion MMA fighter, or a Tito Ortiz on steroids, or a 7 foot tall maniac who’s been wrestling as long as Tiger Woods has played golf? No, I am saying these will not work against anybody with any smattering of knowledge. Look at the videos of wrestling camps, or go to a high school wrestling practice, and you’ll soon realize that there are thousands and thousands of trained wrestlers out there. Add to that the new MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu craze, and those numbers swell even further.

The easiest person to fool is yourself. Don’t get sucked up into the “perfect system” with all the answers. Don’t be too proud to admit you don’t know and to learn something new.


One Response to “Poser of the Week: How NOT to Stop a Tackle”

  1. I think it needs to be remembered that when something is branded as Wing Chun or any other style it does not mean that the instructor speaks for all Wing Chun.

    The first 2 or so take down attempt are relatively close but then after that everything is running tackle which is not a BJJ/MMA/Shootwrestling take down.

    People without training will do a running take down, people with training will do a close take down with a set up, it will be a calculated move and not a wild running take down like most done in the video. The best counter for most of the take downs shown is just to walk off the angle of attack, you have that much time lol.

    These takedowns are like some knife disarms I see where the attacker swings the knife all the way to the back before stabing forward as if shouting, “Look out, here I come with a knife!”.

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