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The Foot Sweep: Economical, Effective, Beautiful.

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  • The Foot Sweep: Economical, Effective, Beautiful.

    For the rest of the post, including an instructional video from legendary foot-sweeper Steve Mocco, as well as video of the Greatest Foot Sweep in History by ILLINI Matt Lackey, click here.



    This paper details the ways the foot sweep is an excellent but underused takedown in wrestling. It is economical--only two movements are required. It is efficient--performed successfully, your opponent will be on or near his butt with possible back points. Finally, it is aesthetically pleasing--a beautiful throw--which provides the oohs and ahhs factor for spectators.


    There are usually at least two movements in a set up for a routine takedown. Then, when you add in the movements required to complete the takedown, you have complicated matters greatly.

    The foot sweep requires only that you (1) sweep (or block) a foot, while (2) pulling your opponent over his now-unavailable foot.

    There isn't even a specific tie that needs to be employed. Any tie will do, Russian, collar, under/overhooks, inside arm, outside arm, even simple wrist control. You just need somewhere to place your hand so that you can direct where (and how fast) your opponent's body falls.


    A well-timed foot sweep will put your opponent's butt on the mat. It requires little exertion on your part, and, very importantly, it is also less likely to result in points for your opponent. That's true especially when compared to double or single leg takedowns, high crotches, headlocks and inside and outside trips.

    As noted above, putting your opponent's backside on the mat results in a foe who is more likely to give up the takedown or back points. Moreover, it is the perfect move for the risk-averse type. Finally, it can be useful if you are leading the match late in the third period, and the ref has an itchy stall-calling fist.


    Who doesn't want to get the crowd to gasp? With the foot sweep, you can do it while exerting a couple of magnitudes less energy than with a supplay or mat return.

    When your foe goes from standing to sitting on his butt it is also kind of funny. Like when somebody slips and falls on ice. So, you have a throw that is both beautiful and comical at the same time. Very win/win.


    The current world leader in foot sweeps is probably some Judo guy. But near the top of the rankings, you are bound to find Luke Luffman of the ILLINOIS Fighting ILLINI. He has employed the technique on many occasions, including three times with great success in his last dual versus Purdue.