Saturday, January 24, 2015

Takedowns for Jiu-Jitsu: Keep it Simple, Use Your Feet

Over the years, anyone who knows I'm a black belt in Judo and used to compete regularly asks me what takedowns I like for Jiu-Jitsu. My answer is always the same.

I look for low risk opportunities to knock the guy down.
It doesn't have to be pretty, it just has to work, and by "work", I mean but him on his back.
Knowing that at any moment in the match he can simply sit down or jump guard, it's silly to waste a ton of energy dragging him around the mat like my life depends on it.

I'm not saying I don't see big, huge, audience-thrillings takedowns in Jiu-Jitsu. I'm just saying I don't see them very often.
You see some nice cross grip seionages by guys like Rodolfo Vieira. But up to this point, he remains an outlier because I see few other guys effectively using it.
I could make a cool video with some sweet takedowns from Judo that you virtually never see in competition at the higher belts, but why?

At any rate, my takedowns are virtually always set up from a low risk (I define low risk as a low risk of counter/low risk of me ending up on bottom after a reverseral) foot sweep.

The three components of effective throwing, to me, remain always: effective gripping, good posture (this changes a bit due to the posture/stance/guard pulling in sport Jiu-Jitsu), and getting the other guy MOVING (and if he doesn't move, get him moving by attacking his feet).

An object in motion is much easier to move than a guy with the death grip in flat-footed land.
If he's stiff, tense, uncomfortable on the feet, I use my feet to get him moving. In each of the videos linked here you see my feet initiating the takedown. The beauty, or rather, the advantage of flat-footed opponents with bent over posture is that their feet are stationary targets. So while this gives them seemingly strong, defensive grips, their posture is poor and their are slow moving once you begin targeting their feet to set up your takedowns.


And in NoGi, the rule is the same. I use an arm drag/pull to get my foot entry and trap the foot to hit and over/under type grip to end up on top.

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