Sprawl (grappling)

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A defence against a takedown attempt—the top wrestler scoots his legs away from the opponent and hips downwards.
Classification Clinch hold
Parent style Wrestling

A sprawl is a martial arts and wrestling term for a defensive technique that is done in response to certain takedown attempts, typically double or single leg takedown attempts.[1] The sprawl is performed by scooting the legs backwards, so as to land on the upper back of the opponent attempting the takedown. The resultant position is also known as a sprawl or sprawling position.

Ideally, the sprawling combatant should arch his back as much as possible and keep his knees off the floor. His options from the sprawl include attempting to gain leverage on the lower back by hooking underneath the elbows, throwing in a headlock, and grabbing his opponent's ankles and trying to get behind his opponent.

In mixed martial arts, sprawling is an important aspect of the sprawl-and-brawl tactic, although the sprawl is favored among numerous wrestlers and mixed martial arts fighters.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Renzo Gracie; John Danaher (2003). Mastering Jujitsu. Human Kinetics 1. p. 46. ISBN 978-1-4504-0769-4. Retrieved 16 July 2013.