Essential BJJ Takedowns
Although most of a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu match occurs on the ground, it doesn’t start there. You might be one of the best jiu-jitsu technicians in the world, once you’re on the mat, but if you don’t know some essential BJJ takedowns, you’ll always start at a disadvantage.
So, what is one to do? Both wrestling and judo offer countless takedown options. If you have the time and incentive, practicing one or both of them along with jiu-jitsu would be ideal. But that’s not an option for most of us. Not only does that mean an extra monthly tuition, but wrestling and judo training is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard. And your body will hurt.
But if you want to elevate your jiu-jitsu game and consistently hit the top of the podium, it’s unavoidable. What you can do, however, is train smart. You really only need to know a few good takedowns to set yourself apart from the rest.
Don’t know where to start? Here are six BJJ-friendly takedowns you should master:
Single Leg Takedown
Everyone should have a solid single leg takedown in their arsenal. There are many variations of a single leg takedown – different entries and different ways to finish – but they all fundamentally focus on controlling and elevating your opponent’s leg, to off balance him or her.
Double Leg Takedown
For those looking for something a bit more explosive and Instagram-worthy, a nice double leg takedown is a must have. The trick to a great double leg takedown is to get your own hips close to and underneath your opponent’s in order to achieve the necessary “lift”.
Another essential wrestling takedown, one that requires a bit more finesse, is the ankle pick. Executed properly, a good ankle pick will elicit some serious admiration from the crowd. Just as with the prior two takedowns, there are many variations, but a favorite – sneaky – one of mine begins with a fake guard pull.
Arm Drag to Trip
If you’re intimidated by takedowns that require level changing – or maybe your knees aren’t as good as they used to be – a great alternative is the arm drag to leg trip. This is especially effective when you can time the arm drag to just before they tie up with you, utilizing the opening they create.
If you know anything about judo, you’ll definitely have heard of an “uchi-mata”. One of the original 40 throws in judo, it means “inner thigh reaping throw.” A powerful throw, it utilizes your hip and a back swinging leg to load your opponent and toss him or her to the back in a big, impressive movement.
Drop Seio Nage
Finally, a judo throw that is guaranteed to make the crowd go wild is the drop seio nage. Another one of the original 40 judo throws, “seio nage” means “shoulder throw” or “loading onto the back throw.” While some might be wary of the move, thinking it exposes the back too much, if executed well, there’s no stopping it.
Whether you’re a serious competitor or a humble hobbiest, these six essential BJJ takedowns are guaranteed to take your jiu-jitsu game to the next level.