The Ankle Pick Takedown : A Simple and Effective Wrestling Takedown!

The Ankle Pick Takedown : A Simple and Effective Wrestling Takedown!

There are several excellent takedowns in grappling, but one that is really effective, yet underused is the ankle pick. It is a very simple technique - when done right, it is super effective!  

The ankle pick is pretty solid technique. It works in both Gi and No GiSince it was adapted into Jiu Jitsu, it’s evolved tremendously, now with various effective ankle pick techniques for you to learn.  

In this guidewe’re going to break down the ankle pick and show just how simple and effective it is. Starting with its origins, detail a few setups, and give key details to remember when you for an ankle pick. Read on for the full breakdown! 

The Ankle Pick Takedown

Origins of The Ankle Pick

The Ankle Pick technique originated from wrestling. In amateur wrestling the ankle pick was developed to easily take an opponent down at their weakest point.   

With normal takedowns above the knees, the opponent is stronger and harder to take down. An ankle pick bypasses fighting the opponent for the takedown by changing level really low going for the ankle.  

Not only did Jiu Jitsu adopt the ankle pick for No-Gi, but it is really effective in the Gi. The grips in Gi really advanced the ankle pick, giving you even more options to set it up. 

Ankle Pick from a Collar Tie Hold

Here is one option to get an ankle pick from a collar tie. Have good control of your opponent’s head, while you’re cupping their elbow.  

You’re going to take a step on the side you’re cupping their elbow and turn. When you complete the turn, let go of your collar tie, change your level and grab their far ankle.  

To finish, simply use your forward momentum to drive forward and take your opponent down. Watch Ben Askren demonstrate this technique here.

Ankle Pick w/ Wrist Control

For this ankle pick setup, you’re going to have a collar tie and wrist control. One hand is controlling the head and the other is grabbing the opponent’s wrist.  

You’re going to step towards the side, you have the collar tie and turn. When you do this turning motion, you’re trying to get your opponent to bring their foot forward.  

As your opponent brings their foot forward, you’re going to drop down and grab their ankle. Keep the collar tie and break their posture more by pulling their head down as you change levels.  

Once you grab their ankle, pull it towards you to complete your ankle pick takedown. Watch Chewjitsu breakdown this technique in this video.

Simple Ankle Pick with the Gi

This ankle pick technique is basically the same as the No-Gi technique we just detailed, but with Gi grips. Instead of a collar tie and wrist control, you’ll have a far collar and sleeve grip.  

Circle around to make the opponent’s foot come forward and then drop down and lunge forward grabbing their ankle. Pull their ankle towards you with one hand as you push them away with your collar grip. 

Chewjitsu again shows great details for this technique.

Arm Drag to Ankle Pick

There’s a great ankle pick you can do off arm dragging your opponent. The set up happens when your opponent is trying to grab your shoulder or take a collar grip.  

Swim your arm inside with a wax motion redirecting their arm into an arm drag. Although a lot of times an opponent might defend by stepping back.  

When this happens, you’re going to use your forearm to push them back. Once you push them it brings their foot forward and that’s you’re opening to take an ankle pick.   

After you grab their ankle just walk into your opponent and trip them for the finish. Watch Ritchie Yip demonstrate this technique below.

Key Details To Remember

Here are the key details to remember when going for an ankle pick. Remember these details and you’ll hit this takedown frequently. 

  • Low Level Change: When you go for this takedown remember you have level change lower than a normal takedown. Get low, so you can be in range to grab the opponent’s ankle.
  • Penetration Step: Always remember your penetration step when you go for your ankle pick. Otherwise you’ll be diving across the mat and that won’t work.
  • Ankle Control: Make sure to have good ankle control on your opponent or they can step out of your grip. 
  • Drive Forward: With a basic ankle pick remember to drive your body forward on your takedown attempt. 
  • Shoulder On The Shin: When you drive forward be sure to press your shoulder against the opponent’s shin. This is what knocks them backwards as you’re driving forward.
  • Ground Control: Once you get the opponent down remember to establish control over their body to complete the takedown. If you don’t do this, you’ll be in a scramble situation, where your opponent might escape. 

How To Defend The Ankle Pick

Along with knowing how to do an ankle pick, you also need to know how to defend them. Remember these details for defending against an ankle pick. 

  • Don't Bring Your Foot Forward: The key to most ankle picks is that you get baited into bringing your foot forward. Be aware of this and you can avoid  ankle pick.  
  • Use Your Hands: Your first line of defense with any takedown is using your hands to keep your opponent away. When they go for an ankle pick put your hands on their shoulder to keep them at bay. 
  • Palm The Head: If you want to be meaner when defender an ankle pick, you can palm the opponent’s head. As the opponent comes in, palm their head and plant it to the mat. They can’t take you down if they don’t have control of their head. 
  • Sprawl: Like every takedown defense, when the opponent gets past your hand, your next line of defense is sprawling. Drop your hips down and kick your legs back to avoid ankle pick. 
  • Step Away:  As soon as you see the opponent drop down for an ankle pick just step away. Don’t just sit there and let them grab your ankle when you can move. 
  • Cross Face: If the opponent is trying an ankle pick from gripping your Gi use a cross face with your sprawl. A cross face forces the opponent’s head to turn and hinder their takedown attempt. 

Final Thoughts

In any sport, sometimes simple is your best bet. And that’s exactly what you get with ankle pick Takedown. Simple, yet very effectiveThis was just a small taste at how effective and easy ankle picks are to pull off. All you need is to bring the opponent’s foot forward and you can get an ankle pick for the easy takedown!  

If you’re a smaller grappler it is especially recommended that you add ankle pick to your Jiu Jitsu game. No matter how big someone is, they will go down if you get in on an ankle pick. The bigger they are, the harder they fall