Simple Takedowns for People Who Don't Know Takedowns
You show up for class like any other day, change into your rashguard and gi and head onto the mats to stretch a bit because you're early. As you casually stretch out your hamstrings and inner thighs, you overhear your Coach telling another student, "We're gonna work some takedowns tonight. Gonna start some matches from the feet."
Start from the feet? What in the "Rafa Mendes" is that? You're only on your first three months of BJJ, so every match or roll you've had has started from the knees. Or maybe you've been attending class for quite some time and you've not worked any takedowns in nearly forever.
Takedowns are probably trained less than heelhooks at the Gracie Academy across the whole of BJJ academies. There are a variety of explanations for this. First and foremost, takedown training can be intense. It can take a toll on the body of each student unless proper safety equipment and padding is used. Another reason is that the vast majority of jiu jitsu practitioners do not compete and competition is the time when we need takedowns the most.
So if you don't compete, or have never worked takedowns, should you avoid them? No, because from a self-defense perspective, being able to control distance and someone's body who is possibly attacking you is crucial. But where should you start? With any new element you want to explore and add to your game plan, you should start very simply and slowly. If you have access to any judokas on your team, seek out their help, but if not, you can take a look at the videos below and begin adding some simply techniques to your arsenal.
In the video below, Chewjitsu shows an extremely simple variation of the ankle pick that actually utilizes a grip on the knee to take the opponent down.
In the next video, 5 time world champion, Bernardo Faria shares a few of his favorite and simplest takedowns for BJJ players. He stresses that you do not have to have a wrestling or judo pedigree to be able to get your opponent down and shows you how here.
In the final video, Jimmy Pedro, one of the most decorated and respected judokas and coaches in America gives some valuable insights into dealing with opponents who are inexperienced and ultra-stiff. Rather than focus on trying to throw these opponents, Coach Pedro explains that unbalancing them and tripping them up is much more successful.
For more on Jimmy Pedro and his credentials, check out this BJJ Fanatics article on him!
Take some of your training time and start adding some ways to get your opponents to the ground. Whether you're a competitor or not, it's important to have ways to take them off their feet and introduce them into your ground game.
If you like what you see from Coach Jimmy Pedro, one of the most accomplished American judokas in history, check out his "Power Judo Guard Passing" DVD on sale today for only $37!