What Is Scissor Leg Takedown? | a Guide to Scissor Leg Takedown Techniques

The scissor leg takedown is a powerful and advanced technique used in the martial art of sanshou. Unlike traditional takedowns that involve grappling and wrestling on the ground, the scissor leg takedown takes place in mid-air. The execution of this technique requires precise timing, agility, and exceptional control over one's own body. It involves using one leg to press against the opponent's chest while the other leg is strategically positioned behind the opponent's knees. By delivering a symmetrical and forceful kick, the goal is to knock down the opponent effectively.

Why Is the Scissor Takedown Illegal?

The scissor leg takedown is a grappling technique that involves using ones legs to sweep an opponents legs out from under them. However, despite it’s effectiveness as a takedown move, it’s considered illegal in many combat sports and martial arts competitions. The main reason for this is the potential for serious damage to the knees of the opponent.

In addition to the potential for serious knee injuries, the scissor leg takedown also carries a higher risk of accidental groin strikes, especially if not executed with precision and control. This can be particularly dangerous and painful, further emphasizing why it’s prohibited in various competitions.

It’s essential for fighters and practitioners to be aware of these regulations and prioritize safety when engaging in any form of combat or combat training.

Historical Context: Exploring the Origins and Evolution of the Scissor Leg Takedown, Including It’s Use in Different Martial Arts and Combat Sports Throughout History.

The scissor leg takedown is a technique used in various martial arts and combat sports. It’s origins can be traced back to ancient grappling techniques, found in historical combat systems worldwide. Throughout history, the scissor leg takedown has been seen in different forms and variations across various disciplines, such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, and wrestling.

This technique involves tripping or sweeping an opponent by positioning one leg between their legs and crossing the other leg over it, creating a scissor-like motion. Over time, practitioners have refined and adapted this takedown to fit different martial arts styles, incorporating it into their training and competition strategies.

Today, the scissor leg takedown continues to be a fundamental move in grappling arts, offering practitioners opportunities to off-balance opponents, establish a dominant position, and initiate further attacks or submission holds. It’s effectiveness and versatility have made it a valuable technique in both self-defense situations and competitive combat sports.

Scissor leg raises, also known as scissor kicks, are a powerful exercise for strengthening the abs and core. This exercise involves lying on your back and moving your legs in a scissoring motion, alternating each up and down. Not only do scissor leg raises target the lower abs, but they also engage the quads and lower body, along with the hip flexors. Incorporating scissor leg raises into your workout routine can effectively support your overall core strength and stability.

What Are Scissor Leg Raises?

Scissor leg raises, also known as scissor kicks, are a dynamic exercise that primarily target your lower abs. To execute this movement, you start by lying flat on your back with your arms by your sides. Then, you lift both legs off the ground slightly, keeping them straight.

Next, you begin to alternate the movement of your legs in a scissoring motion. While one leg is raised towards the ceiling, the other leg is lowered towards the ground. As you continue to perform the scissor kick, your legs will switch positions, resembling the opening and closing of a pair of scissors.

Additionally, this exercise also recruits your quads and other lower body muscles, contributing to overall leg strength and muscular endurance.

These muscles work together to maintain stability and prevent excessive twisting of the torso during the scissoring motion.

Moreover, scissor leg raises also have the added benefit of strengthening your hip flexors. The action of lifting and lowering your legs requires activation of the muscles responsible for flexing your hip joint, thereby increasing their strength and functionality.

Incorporating scissor leg raises into your exercise routine can help you build a strong and well-rounded midsection. However, it’s essential to perform them with proper form and control to avoid strain on your lower back. Begin with a manageable number of repetitions and gradually increase the intensity as your core strength improves.

How to Incorporate Scissor Leg Raises Into a Full-Body Workout Routine

  • Start by lying flat on your back, with your legs extended straight out in front of you.
  • Place your hands palms-down underneath your glutes, with your fingertips pointing towards your feet.
  • Engage your core and slowly lift both legs off the ground, keeping them as straight as possible.
  • As you raise your legs, try to separate them and create a “V” shape with your body.
  • Hold the raised position for a few seconds, focusing on squeezing your inner thighs and lower abs.
  • Slowly lower your legs back down to the starting position.
  • Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.
  • For an added challenge, you can use ankle weights or a resistance band around your ankles.

Mastering the scissor kick in water involves coordinated movements of the legs, creating a fluid motion that propels you forward. To perform the scissor kick, your top leg moves forward while your hip and knee bend, maintaining an angle slightly less than 45°. Simultaneously, your bottom leg moves in the opposite direction, bending significantly at the knee and slightly at the hip. These synchronized movements allow for efficient propulsion in the water, helping you improve your swimming technique.

How to Do Scissor Kick in Water?

Scissor kicking in water is an essential technique for swimmers, helping them maximize their propulsion and efficiency in the water. To execute the scissor kick, you need to focus on coordinating the movement of your legs and hips in a synchronized manner.

First, position yourself horizontally in the water, with your arms extended for balance and your face in the water. Your top leg, which is the leg opposite to your dominant arm, will move forward relative to your body.

Simultaneously, as your top leg moves forward, your hip and knee on that leg should bend, reaching a position slightly less than 45°. It’s important to note that the bottom leg should have a more exaggerated movement, compared to the top leg.

As you continue the scissor kick, the roles of your legs will reverse. Your top leg, which had moved forward, will now move backward in the opposite direction, while your bottom leg moves forward. These alternating movements create a continuous, scissor-like motion, propelling you forward in the water.


The scissor leg takedown requires a precise combination of speed, strength, and timing to execute successfully. With it’s symmetrical force, this takedown can bring an opponent down with great impact. As a result, mastering the scissor leg takedown can greatly enhance a practitioner's overall skill and effectiveness in combat situations.