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Sumi Gaeshi Takedown for BJJ
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Sumi Gaeshi Takedown for BJJ

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The Sumi Gaeshi takedown in Judo is one that has a lot of appeal for BJJ players.  While many BJJ competitors begin their matches in a crouched, defensive position, the Sumi Gaeshi counters and takes advantage of that exact position.

In the video below, Judo Olympian Matt D’Aquino demonstrates the position and then discusses entries into the Sumi Gaeshi and finer points of the technique.

The Sumi Gaeshi

D’Aquino considers the Sumi Gaeshi as a takedown option when his opponent is bent over.  He enters into the Sumi Gaeshi by grabbing his opponent’s right lapel with both hands and jerking downward to completely break his opponent’s posture.

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From there, D’Aquino pulls his opponent to him so that his opponent’s head is below D’Aquino’s armpit.  D’Aquino then reaches over his victim’s back and grabs his belt using his right hand.

D’Aquino emphasizes the importance of putting weight into the elbow across his opponent’s back to keep his posture broken.

He shows a number of options for his left hand.  One option is to underhook your victim’s arm and grab the belt with that arm, too.  Another option is to underhook and grab your own right wrist. But the simplest option is to keep the grip on the lapel.

The next step in the Sumi Gaeshi is a quick leg transition.  The left leg moves forward and between his opponent’s legs and, immediately, the right leg rises to hook inside his victim’s left thigh.

It is important, at this point, to avoid sitting or falling back.  If you sit or fall back, your opponent can simply sprawl on top of you.  Instead, D’Aquino squats down on his own left leg, keeping his center of gravity under his opponent.  

As D’Aquino shifts his gravity downward, his grip on his opponent and his hook on his opponent’s thigh lift and flip his victim.  D’Aquino then rides his opponent over and ends in the mount position.

Entries into the Sumi Gaeshi

After demonstrating the Sumi Gaeshi, D’Aquino demonstrates a few different entries into the takedown.

Instead of grabbing his opponent’s lapel with both hands, D’Aquino can also bait his opponent by holding out his own left arm.  Since he knows his opponent will grab that arm, D’Aquino is ready and wraps his hand around to grab his opponent’s arm. He then adds his second hand, pulling his opponent down and toward him.  This puts him in the exact same position as he was before, ready to perform the Sumi Gaeshi.

Another entry into the Sumi Gaeshi involves an arm drag.  D’Aquino uses his left hand to grab his opponent’s right wrist and drags that arm downward and across his opponent’s body, breaking his posture.  D’Aquino then pulls his opponent into himself while reaching over his back for his belt. Once again, he arrives in the same position.

Fine Points of the Sumi Gaeshi

D’Aquino also discusses some of the fine points of the Sumi Gaeshi takedown.  For instance, he stresses how important it is to keep your opponent’s posture broken by applying weight on the elbow across his opponent’s back.  He explains that, if he allows his opponent to return to an upright position, his opponent can pick him up and throw him.

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D’Aquino also explains that, if he feels that the Sumi Gaeshi won’t work, he always has the option of sprawling onto his right hip, driving his opponent to the mat.  D’Aquino can then circle around and take his opponent’s back.

The sprawling option also works if your opponent attempts a single leg takedown while you are setting up the Sumi Gaeshi.  In this case, D’Aquino again sprawls, bringing his opponent to the ground where he can take his back.

Another tip that D’Aquino offers involves breaking the posture of strong opponents.  If a downward pull doesn’t break his opponent’s posture, D’Aquino then opts for a downward and circular jerking motion, forcing his victim off balance and ready to fall victim to the Sumi Gaeshi.

Finally, D’Aquino shows that, even if his opponent attempts a double leg takedown on him, he can still squat straight down and flip his opponent.

For all of Matt D’Aquino’s demonstration, entries, and tips on the Sumi Gaeshi, watch the complete video:

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