Here Are 5 Takedowns You Can Perform With The Overhook

In grappling sports like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, and wrestling, mastering various takedown techniques is crucial for gaining an advantage on the mats. One versatile grip that offers a range of tactical options is the overhook, a method used to control the opponent’s upper body. This technique involves hooking one arm over the opponent’s arm and securing control, which not only limits their offensive capabilities but also sets up potential takedowns. In this article, we explore five essential takedowns that can be applied effectively using an overhook, each suited for different situations and opponents.


Establishing Control

It is an absolute requirement in grappling to establish strong grips at the onset. By controlling the opponent using various grips, you can effectively force them to vulnerable positions they usually would not go to. Using techniques like the overhook allows you to stay mobile and simultaneously limit the opponent’s defensive options, thus making it easier to go on the offensive. While many prefer the underhook over the overhook, this position is still filled with a lot of firepower when used intelligently. Now that we understand the benefits of the overhook, here are our suggested takedowns from the position.


1) Uchi Mata

The Uchi Mata is a classic Judo throw that is highly effective when adapted for BJJ and wrestling. By securing an overhook on your opponent’s arm, you leverage their body against their motion to execute the throw. Position your thigh against the inside of your opponent’s thigh.

The motion involves lifting and throwing your opponent over your hip, using the overhook to control their upper body and prevent counter-movements. This technique requires a lot of precision and balance, so it is best to drill the movement without a partner numerous times. If applied correctly, the uchi mata is by far one of the most impactful throws out there.


2) Lateral Drop

Ideal for situations where your opponent is applying forward pressure, the lateral drop is a powerful technique in wrestling and submission grappling. With the overhook secured, position yourself at a right angle to your opponent. Use your free hand to create additional leverage by pushing on their far side.

The critical movement is a combination of pulling the overhook down and inwards while twisting your hips slightly. This action causes your opponent to lose their balance and momentum, allowing you to drop them onto the mat laterally. Mastery of this technique can turn defensive positions into surprise attacks, making it a strategic tool in competitive matches.


3) Cow Catcher

Known as one of the classic upper-body takedowns in grappling, the cowcatcher is a strong takedown that begins with a robust overhook and control of the opponent’s neck. Push the opponent’s head down while simultaneously lifting the overhook. This dual action severely compromises their posture and balance, facilitating a straightforward takedown. This technique is particularly useful in aggressive grappling scenarios where maintaining control and imposing physical dominance are crucial.


4) Foot Sweep

Foot sweeps are beautiful techniques that require precise timing and a good understanding of your opponent’s movements. With an overhook in place, control the pace and direction of the bout. As your opponent steps and places weight on the foot on the same side as your overhook, initiate a sweeping action with your foot against theirs.

The key to a successful foot sweep is disrupting their balance at the exact moment their foot sets on the mat, using the overhook to pull their body in the opposite direction. This takedown is less about brute strength and more about finesse, making it a valuable technique for practitioners who rely on timing and speed.


5) Single Leg Takedown

The single-leg takedown is a fundamental move in wrestling that becomes particularly effective when combined with an overhook. This technique involves pulling your opponent toward you to create an imbalance (Kuzushi), then quickly dropping to capture their opposite leg. Drive forward while lifting the captured leg, maintaining downward pressure through the overhook. This not only destabilizes your opponent but also restricts their ability to escape or counter, providing you with a clear path to the ground.


Integrating Overhook Takedowns Into Your Strategy

When training takedowns from the overhook, there are several key aspects to focus on to ensure effectiveness.

First, proper body positioning is essential. It is the cornerstone for leveraging your strength and making the most out of the overhook grip. This involves aligning your hips, shoulders, and legs correctly to maximize force and control during the execution of a takedown.

Second, timing is pivotal. Developing a keen sense of timing helps in executing these moves precisely when your opponent is most vulnerable. This could mean catching them off-balance or during a transition, making the takedown more effective and harder to defend against.

Lastly, strength and conditioning play a vital role in the successful application of overhook takedowns. Engaging in specific exercises that enhance core strength, stability, and mobility will significantly improve your performance. These physical attributes are crucial as they directly contribute to your ability to execute takedowns swiftly and maintain control throughout the move. By focusing on these areas, practitioners can greatly enhance their grappling skills and overall effectiveness in using overhook takedowns.



The overhook is a foundational grip in the grappling arts that opens the door to a diverse array of effective takedowns. Takedowns from the overhook position provide grapplers with the tools needed to control, dominate, and submit opponents in both training and competitive settings. By incorporating these takedowns into your regular training regimen, you can expand your grappling skills and enhance your overall tactical acumen, making you a formidable competitor and a versatile martial artist.

If you are new to stand-up techniques, we recommend that you at least explore the overhook (and underhook) as they can provide a simple yet comprehensive arsenal that you can use as you go up the ranks. These functional techniques are classics for a reason and will give you a guaranteed boost in your grappling.


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