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The Benefits of Learning Take Downs
We have all heard the saying that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is “lazy wrestling.” This is because if you have ever met or trained with a high level wrestler you know how hard they train. In bjj, many people have a tendency to neglect the standup aspect of grappling. This is a crucial part of what initially made Brazilian Jiu Jitsu what it is today. Standup/take downs used to be an enormous part of Jiu Jitsu but with the vast growth in popularity, competitions, and practitioners, this mentality of neglecting take downs has trickled down.
People have advanced the guard of Jiu Jitsu exponentially but have disintegrated the technical level of take downs. As the guard progresses the standup regresses. This can dwindle the growth of bjj and effectiveness of it as a martial art. The standup has stalled. Again, this is subjective and dependent on the academy that you train at, but as a whole, we believe that stand up has regressed. We see much more guard players than we have ever seen and we see a much higher technical level of the guard.
There are many benefits to learning takedown. Takedowns can enhance your guard in several ways, they can make you dangerous from several different positions and increase your confidence, they are also important to helping you have effective techniques for self defense. Take downs have always been synonymous with the term grappling and people have always associated that bjj incorporates take downs. This is definitely true, but take downs are typically not practiced nearly as often as the guard is.
Take Downs for Enhancing Guard
Contrary to popular belief, take downs will actually help you develop a dangerous guard. There are several guards that have several sweeps that are dependent on take downs to finish your sweep. Take downs are extremely important to learn and can increase your sweep success in many ways.
What guards have sweeps that use take downs? Butterfly guard, half guard, quarter guard, deep half guard, De La Riva Guard, Reverse De La Riva, and X guard. All of these guards have exploded with popularity and have been utilized at the highest levels of bjj for a long time. These guards all have places where take downs can effectively be incorporated. There are so many sweeps with all of these guards that are dependent on using wrestling to finish them. Since many bjj practitioners lack knowledge on wrestling when compared to their guard, this may give you an advantage.
The single leg take down is one of, if not the most important take down to learn how to finish in bjj. There are several variations of the single leg and dozens of ways to finish. Why the single leg? Well it can be used from many of these guards. For example you can successfully come up on a single leg from De La Riva, half guard, quarter guard, deep half, and X guard. It is actually one of the highest percentage sweeps that you can use from these guards. There are several multiple times world champions that have used the single leg take down from guard to sweep high level black belts. For example, 5x Black Belt World Champion, Bernardo Faria has used the single leg often, Cobrihna has used the single leg, JT Torres, Andre Galvao. All of these famous names have used the single leg from guard. Check out this video below on a cool variation of how to finish the single leg with a trip from De La Riva.
Take Downs for Confidence
Having take downs will allow you to develop an extraordinary amount of confidence in your stand up and over all ability to execute things on the ground. Learning take downs can also be the secret move in your back pocket that allows you to win a tournament or a match. More often than not there are moments in matches that both opponents are standing, in this moment having confidence in your stand up is crucial. If a match is even and you need those last two points to win just having some confidence in your take down ability can be what sets you apart.
Many matches even at the highest levels have been won on just one take down. If you are able to take down your opponent and secure the first two points or the only two points this can be everything you need. When a match is extremely even and both you and your opponent’s guard and passing are good, the person with the better take downs often wins the match. For example, at the 2017 Black Belt World Championships, 10x black belt world champion, Marcus Almeida “Buchecha” was in an intense match with Erberth Santos and won the match with a beautiful blast double. This is what set him apart. Take downs are also what made the difference in so many matches this year at the 2017 ADCC Finland, which by many is considered the biggest and most prestigious tournament in grappling. Check out this official take down high light from ADCC 2017 below.
Take Downs for Self Defense
This goes without saying, if you practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu you should be able to defend yourself. Take downs are a huge part of self-defense. For most people, their bjj is completely useless unless they are able to get their assailant to the ground. If for some odd reason you find yourself in a self-defense confrontation that cannot be avoided and somebody is coming at you with punches, you HAVE to be able to take them down. Take downs must be incorporated in every Jiu Jitsu class so that the practitioners understand how to effectively take somebody to the ground.
We understand the mentality in neglecting high level take downs. Let’s face it, most rolls start from the knees and in most competitions, even submission only ones, there is not much emphasis on take downs. The only tournament that really encourages stand up is the ADCC. For self-defense purposes though, you must have a fundamental understanding of take downs, whether it comes from Judo or wrestling, there must be emphasis on learning basic ways to take your opponent to the ground. Once you take someone down, now you can start to use your bjj on them. If you get taken down, yes your bjj will work, but there is a possibility that in the transition you can get hurt, hit your head, or get punched.
So now after reading this you want to learn take downs, but the problem is your academy doesn’t emphasize them.. Well, take this matter into your own hands and get yourself some video instructionals. Here at BJJ Fanatics we have an excellent variety of DVD’s. If you are trying to learn take downs we actually have a DVD set by a D-1 All American Wreslter and Blue Belt BJJ World Champion named Hudson Taylor. Not only was he a successful division 1 wrestler but he had one of the best pinning records in the NCAA D-1 Collegiate wrestler. These pins translate excellent to bjj. Hudson trained bjj at Marcelo Garcia Acadmey before being promoted to blue belt, within one month of being promoted, Hudson continued to win the IBJJF World Championships at his weight in the blue belt division. This is EXTREMELY impressive. Check his DVD out.