Wrestling Spladle – The Powerful Single Leg Counter

The Spladle is a wrestling technique that is most commonly used to counter an opponents attempt to execute a single leg take down. It is also a unorthodox wrestling pin that puts a lot of pressure on an opponents body.

The creation of the Spladle is credited to Wade Schalles, a two time NCAA Division I champion and National Wrestling Hall of Fame member. When competing Schalles frequently used the technique to pin his opponents and win the match. Schalles holds numerous record for competitive pins. Dan Gable has  reportedly said that he’s the best pinner that he’s ever seen.

Schalles has a background in folk style and catch wrestling so it is not surprising that the Spladle is also popular in many forms of submission wrestling. Variations of the technique have been used successfully in Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Sambo, and MMA among others.

How to Get a Spladle

As you can see in the picture above the wrestler with the spladle has trapped both of their opponents legs. The legs are being stretched in a way that is very uncomfortable for their opponent and also puts a lot of pressure on their neck and will impact their breathing.

Here are the three most common positions from which to hit a spladle:

Single leg counter

The spladle is most commonly performed when an opponent attempts a single leg take down. It begins when the opponent shoots in and has a grip of the leg. The the wrestler attacking the spladle will then drop their weight on their opponents head to stop them advancing and finishing the single leg takedown. At this point the wrestler will reach across their opponents body to grab the far side leg. Simultaneous they wrap their near side leg around the back of the opponents near side leg. With both legs now hooked the wrestler attempting the spladle rolls forward onto the mat to secure the position. It can also be performed as a counter to the ankle pick.

Spladle from the Mat

This position presents itself when an opponent has shot in on a deep single leg. The odds of sprawl stopping the takedown attempt are not in your favor. As a result you concede the takedown by sitting out. However while sitting out you reach for the far leg and clasp hands together. You then trap their other leg with your own leg and sit back into a spladle. See Wade Scalles video below demonstrating this particular technique.

Spladle from Top

The technique can also be hit from the top position. The opportunity to hit it most commonly occurs when an opponent is tripoding on the mat. Before the opponent regains their posture there is an opportunity to hook the near leg with your own leg while at the same time reaching over grabbing the other with your hands. The attacker then rolls off the top of the opponents back, dragging them into a spladle position on the ground.

Spladle Tips

  • You can pin your opponent by thrusting your hips forward. This forces your opponent’s shoulders closer to the mat and also increases the pressure on your opponent as they are forced to carry your weight
  • It is important to not lie flat on your back once you get the position. If you do this your opponent may be able to free their arms and quickly pin you. To avoid this try and stay on the your hip as you force your opponents back down.
  • Be careful when using this technique as it puts a lot of pressure on your opponent. If practicing it in training you could easily injure a teammate if you put it on too fast. Be extra careful with teammates with limited mobility.

Use in Jiu Jitsu

Jiu Jitsu matches start on the feet and often include takedowns and wrestling exchanges.

Eddie Bravo setting up an Electric Chair

There are a number of variations of the Spladle that are primarily used in Nogi Jiu Jitsu. These moves are favored by Eddie Bravo and the style of submission grappling that he teaches at 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu. Popular variations of the Spladle include The Electric Chair and The Banana Split. Both of these submissions put severe pressure on the groin and hips by separating the legs of your opponent. Both positions are typically set up from the half guard.

The Electric chair is one of Bravos favorite submissions and works by trapping one opponents leg using the leg lockdown technique and separating the opposing leg using your arms. The Electric chair can be a very painful submission depending on the flexibility of your opponent. If they have good abductor flexibility then the chance is that they will not tap. However the position can still be used as a way of sweeping an opponent.

The Banana split is very similar to the Spladle. However rather than pinning your opponents shoulder to the mat the objective is to cause as much pain to your opponent as possible. When the banana split position is achieved you have the option of putting your head on the inside or the outside of your opponents leg. Just like the Electric chair you can use the banana split to sweep if you are not able to finish the position.

The traditional Spladle position is sometimes seen in Jiu Jitsu but it is quite rare unless attacking a submission as it provides no real advantage to the attacker.

wade's spladle from the mat
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