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"A good takedown is like hitting someone with the planet."
Gary Wuerthless and Others
Takedowns are one of the most important skills for grappling. In fact, I would argue that takedowns is one of the top 3 essential skills a well rounded grappling martial artist INCLUDING Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athletes should posses.
A takedown is simply the art of taking someone off their feet and putting them on the ground. There are many styles of the takedown arts including Wrestling, Judo, Sambo, Shuai Jiao and variations. Grappling or Wrestling is one of the oldest sports known the man. The game of "do whatever you can to make your opponent quit without hitting him" is as old as time! You see it in all cultures documented from the beginning of time. Most of this documentation references the art of takedowns, though some suggest that there is elements of ground combat as well like we see in modern Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
As humans, I think takedowns and grappling overall just make sense to us. It's in our blood, our DNA. It starts as early as when kids start to walk, wrestling with Dad becomes part of play. Most striking based martial arts or sports, like boxing, require protective gear to train. For example, did you know that one of the main reasons boxers wear gloves is to protect their own hands? Have you seen a boxer get his hand wrapped? It's essentially a mallet with a glove on top. In the grappling arts, you don't need all that shit. All you need is a grip and a well executed takedown.
You even see takedowns as part other major sports: American Football, Rugby, Hockey and of course: Folk style Wrestling in our High Schools. What's more exciting then seeing a lineman drill the running back to the ground and end up on top of him roaring with satisfaction? A good tackle is always in the highlight reels. It's obvious... takedowns are in our blood and culture.
There is a deep world to takedowns just like all aspects of grappling. But the best takedown competitors in judo or BJJ or MMA only use a few takedown techniques during their grappling matches. They have their "go to" throws and setups, and know how to do them really well.
This is good news for those who are new to the takedown game. It means you only need 1 or 2 good takedowns in your pocket. There are many different approaches, variations and similarities between all styles of grappling. We suggest that you explore the world of takedowns for BJJ, MMA and Self-Defense and enhance your skills as a well rounded grappling martial artist.
There are many different approaches you can take for taking an opponent down. Our suggest is to explore an area of takedowns that you have some familiarity with, some success with, or just interest you.
When it comes to learning takedown techniques, it is important to start slow. Choose 1 or 2 techniques to train in your BJJ class or gym, and rep it out! Try different setups to the same takedown(s). Work on your takedown defense too! Someone who has good takedowns also has good takedown defense.
Leg Sweeps, Reaps & Trips
Influenced from Judo and Japanese Jujitsu, Leg Reaps and Sweeps include takedown techniques such as the Osoto Gari (Major Outside Reap), Kouchi Gari (Small Inner Reap), Ouchi Gari (Major Inner Reap), Kosoto Gari (Small Outside Reap), Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi (Lifting pulling Ankle Block), Tai Otoshi and other variations.
Hip Throws are a staple in all grappling arts and are some of the biggest and most exciting throws to witness. Kayla Harrison, Gold Medal Judo Olympian is a master of the hip throw or Ogoshi.
The concept of the hip throw is to get your hips under your opponents with some sort of upperbody control. There are many grip and setup variations of the hip throw, but one of the most common would be your hand around your opponents waist, with your other hand having wrist control.
Sacrifice throws involve you willingly going to the ground to throw your opponent over you. The Ol' Captain Kirk (for you older grapplers out there). Tomoe Nage is one of the most popular sacrifice throws where you put your foot in your opponents belly, drop to the ground and throw them overhead. It is also an effective guard sweep from guard. Rafael Formiga Barbosa, Master of the Butterfly Guard, is know for his Tomoe Nage from the BJJ guard.
Double Leg / Single Leg Takedowns
The double leg takedown and single leg are probably the most recognizable takedowns. Football and Rugby tackles are essentially variations of double leg and single leg takedowns. If you wrestled at all, the double leg was probably the first wrestling takedown that you ever learn.
There many variations of these takedowns and MANY different setups and entries to the double and single. When learning these takedowns, we look to wrestling. Wrestlers by far have the best single and double leg takedowns. Be aware though, these wrestling takedowns tend to expose the neck of the grappler for guillotine chokes.
Arm Spins / Arm Throws / Ippon Seoi Nage
Single arm throws like the arm spin in wrestling or Ippon Seoi Nage or it's brother the Seoi Nage are some of the most effective takedowns for grappling. The use of the gi makes for good opportunities to throw your opponent with one or both arms.
Wrestling does have some arm spin throws and single arm throws, but that aren't as common or high percentage as you find in Judo or other gi grappling arts like Sambo.
Aikido / Aikijutsu Takedowns
Aikido and Aikijutsu throws and takedowns attack the wrist joint. While these are not as popular as double leg takedowns, learning how to attack the wrist for throws, also teaches you how to attacks the wrists and elbows for locks.
Aikido throws are essentially wrist locks or elbow locks where your opponent has to go down, or his arm breaks. There have been a few instances of severe breaks from these types of takedowns in MMA and other grappling competitions.
Takedown Setups & Controls
Executing the actual takedown is one thing, but actually gaining control of your opponent is another. There are many different setups to throws in takedowns. This could include certain grips for throws in judo, or could be a drag, duck, snap down, etc in wrestling.
The setup and control dictate the throw or takedown attack used. If you are into gi based BJJ, research judo grips for takedowns. If you are more no gi, check out wrestling for BJJ.
Takedown defense and counters is one of the most important skill for fighting or in all sports. Do not go down, stay on your feet.
When facing a skilled takedown martial artist, they will be looking to score a takedown that will leave them in good position such as side control. A good takedown will quickly negate the guard.
You may say "well I'll pull guard". Yes, that is a defense to takedowns, but sitting on your ass and calling it fighting is not what Martial Arts is supposed to be. Is it a strategy for sport? Yes. But not a strategy for Jiu Jitsu Life.
TAKEDOWN STYLES / VARIATIONS
As mentioned before, takedowns are found in every culture from the earliest of times. There have been many influences on the art of taking someone down, and over the years you have seen the styles of takedowns starting to blend together to form something that goes behind a "style". Instead we can look at takedowns as a hole and apply it to our BJJ game, MMA game or for self-defense.
Some of the major influences of takedowns are the following.
Judo / Japanese Jujitsu
Judo is the sportive martial art that gave from the more combative style: Japanese Jujitsu. The main objective in Japanese Jujitsu was armed and unarmed self defense. Many techniques were derived from defense against weapons and made to work for both armed and unamred combat.
Judo takes the throws of Japanese Jujitsu and makes them more "friendly" for sport. A match is won in judo by taking your opponent of the feet and their shoulders / back hitting first.
Judo throws work very well BJJ gi training and competition. The gripping in judo also aids in your overall jiu jitsu ability. Judoka are know for their grip fighting ability. Two of the best are Jimmy Pedro and Travis Stevens.
There a many throws from Judo that integrate well into BJJ. But be aware - many of the throws in judo also may expose the back on the finish of the throw. In Judo an Ippon (win) is scored when your opponent's feet leave the mat and their back / shoulder touch the mat first. Because of this very sportive judo throws will sacrifice and expose the back at the conclusion of the throw. This exposes your back and makes your susceptible to chokes.
Wrestling is one of the oldest sports in the world. Though it was probably closer to Catch Wrestling than the modern wrestling we're used to in wrestling gyms across the world.
Modern wrestling excels at leg attacks like double legs and single leg takedowns, as well as front headlocks. Hand fighting and setups are an important skill in wrestling, and a lot of wrestling is in the tie ups and entries for the takedowns themselves.
If you are a no gi BJJ athlete, learning wrestling based takedowns will not only improve your takedowns skills, but improve your skills in guard.
If Judo and Wrestling had a baby, it would be Sambo. The Russians, due to their proximity and contact with many other cultures such as the Japanese, Vikings, Mongols and more; Sambo has roots in several different martial arts types, drawing from many of the older styles. Sambo was meant to be a melding of all of the different martial arts styles available to come up with the most efficient one yet. . Sambo actually translates to "self-defense without weapons."
Sambo practitioners are known for three things: takedowns that combine wrestling and judo techniques, ground grappling skills, and leg locks.
Shuai Jiao focuses on the main Kung Fu principles of fighting techniques: Kicking, Striking, Throwing and Seizing/Controlling
Traditional shuai jiao bears a resemblance to Mongolian wrestling and Sambo, with sweeps and throws being the primary attacks. China is the undisputed oldest civilization in the area, so it’s not hard to imagine that primordial shuai jiao techniques floated across the plains to Mongolia or across the straits to Japan and morphed into different forms of wrestling over time.
We list it here, because we believe it is one of the major influences on grappling ever.
We have many DVDs that focus on the art of takedowns at BJJFanatics.com, in fact we just opened FanaticsWrestling.com to further enhance our world famous instructional videos.
The following series are some of our best that we have learning the art of takedowns for BJJ, MMA or Self Defense.
ULTIMATE ASKREN WRESTLING BY BEN ASKREN
Ben Askren was an NCAA D-1 Wrestler and is notorious for being one of the greatest and most technical wrestlers on the planet
- Ben is a well seasoned combat veteran with an excellent system for bringing someone down to the ground
- Ben makes it easy to implement wrestling on anybody, no matter their size, skill, or athletic level
- This is your opportunity to increase your takedown percentage
- Learn to attack and defend takedowns like you never thought possible
- Learn the ins and outs of a system that has seen success across a multitude of combat arts including Wrestling, MMA, BJJ, and more
UPPER BODY TAKEDOWNS FOR GRAPPLING BY ADAM WHEELER
Use The Safest Yet Most Effective Takedowns That You Will Ever Need For BJJ: From An Olympic Medalist and Black Belt Masters No Gi World Champion
- Adam Wheeler Can Show You How To Easily Out Grip & Take Anyone Down – Without Having To Shoot At Their Legs
- Adam is a 2008 Olympic wrestling bronze medalist AND a black belt masters division world champion
- Greco Roman Wrestling focuses on all upper body takedowns
- Gain an entirely new perspective on grappling
- Transform your entire game
WRESTLING FOR BJJ BY HUDSON TAYLOR
Learn The Wrestling Based System For Jiu Jitsu That Other BJJ Guys Can’t Defend
- Hudson Taylor’s Wrestling System Can Be Adopted By Anyone
- Takedown & Control Younger, Stronger Or Higher Belt Opponents – Even Black Belts.
- This Simple System Works For Any Practitioner– Especially Older Guys
- Hudson Taylor is a NCAA Division-1 All American Wrestler who won the IBJJF worlds at blue belt after 6 months of training
- Now is your chance to gain a competitive edge on your opponents
SAMBO FOR BJJ BY VLAD KOULIKOV
Whether You Have Been Grappling for One Month or Ten Years, These Techniques Will Revolutionize Your Game
- Vlad Koulikov is a world champion competitor who’s been doing Sambo for over 30 years
- Sambo is the perfect art to fuse with Jiu Jitsu
- Gain a competitive edge
- Learn techniques that no one in bjj knows
- Change your game and surprise your training partners
NO GI TAKEDOWNS MADE EASY BY RICK HAWN
The Most Successful Male Judoka In MMA Of All Time Will Show You An Easy Set Of Throws & Foot Sweeps That Will Allow You To Quickly Take Down Virtually Any No Gi Opponent
- Rick Hawn’s System Will Drop Them On Their Backs Before They Even Know What Happened
- Elevate your stand up to levels you never thought possible
- Never fear starting a match on your feet again
- Forget learning difficult wrestling, just learn these easy to use high percentage throws and trips
- Change your entire stand up game
THE PILLARS CLINCH AND TAKEDOWNS DVD BY STEPHEN WHITTIER
"The Pillars: Clinch & Takedowns" makes it easier than ever for you to: Skyrocket your grappling game on the feet faster than you ever thought possible Learn high percentage takedowns without having to shoot in on opponents and get "pancaked" into the mat Instantly make yourself twice as hard to take down Develop these great skills without having to rely on speed, explosiveness, or strength Gain the confidence you need so tense up in a competive match again because you're standup game is so much weaker than your ground game Train your standup safely without all the injuries commonly associated with grappling the feet and takedowns Develop a fundamentals-based skillset that will work with or without a gi
HIGH LEVEL TAKEDOWNS AND MAT CONTROL FOR GRAPPLERS BY HENRY CEJUDO
Reigning UFC Champion & Olympic Gold Medal Wrestler Henry Cejudo Wants To Show You His Complete System To Takedown Bigger & Stronger Opponents Easily - Every Time
- The Man Joe Rogan Calls “The Greatest Combat Athlete In History” Is Also An Incredible Teacher & He Shows Step By Step
- Henry is the youngest American ever to win an Olympic gold medal, the most prestigious accomplishment in the sport
- A decade after winning a gold medal in the Olympics, Henry became a UFC Champion
- Gain an entirely new perspective on grappling
- Transform your entire game
THE TAKEDOWN BLUEPRINT BY JIMMY PEDRO & TRAVIS STEVENS
Judo Champion Jimmy Pedro and Travis Stevens give you an insight into their world of taking people down
- If you want to beat the guys at your belt level you need to be better than them in some areas, now is your chance to do just that
- These two greats will be your guides as you learn to master the skills necessary to beat even the toughest opponent
- Sometimes getting the first 2 points is the deciding factor in a match
- Transform your stand up
- These throws will work anywhere under any ruleset
THE JUDO ACADEMY BY JIMMY PEDRO AND TRAVIS STEVENS
If You’re Serious About Learning Takedowns, As Well As Judo, For BJJ– This Is The Most Complete Resource You Will Ever See
- Jimmy Pedro and Travis Stevens are the best United States Olympic Judokas
- If you want to take anyone down, this is the set for you
- This is a complete system of throws, trips and takedowns
- Develop a next to impossible to deal with stand up game
- Use this in both gi and no gi
JAPANESE JUDO SECRETS BY SATOSHI ISHII
Japenese Judo Legend Satoshi Ishii Unlocks The Game Around What Made Him A Champion in Judo And BJJ
- Learn The Old-School Dojo Techniques of An Olympic Champion And Throw With More Confidence Than Ever
- Learn how to throw with confidence and dominate on the mat with all the modern judo secrets, with Olympic gold medalist and BJJ black belt Satoshi Ishii
- Unlock a whole new modern perspective on BJJ’s most common positions by learning how a champion judoka dominates on the feet and on the mat
- Learn to attack and defend takedowns like you never thought possible
- Ishii shows the drills and strategies that he has brought from traditional Japanese judo to train his body for takedowns
There are many experts in takedowns for BJJ or Submission Grappling. But there are some who really shine as competitors and instructors.
Below you'll find some of the best takedown experts in Judo, Collegiate Wrestling, Freestlye and Greco Roman Wrestling. Each of these experts have successfully integrated their takedown skills with their BJJ or MMA skills to offer you a unique perspective on how to improve your takedowns for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Travis Stevens is one of the most successful USA Olypic Judo athletes of all time. He won silver medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio Brazil. He is trained by his legendary coach and fellow Judo Olympian: Jimmy Pedro.
Travis is also a black belt under John Danaher and participates in training camps with the Danaher Death Squad at the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York City.Currently Travis continues to train, but also now shares his insights and techniques that have made him one of the most successful grappling athletes in history through multiple instructional DVD series at BJJ Fanatics.
Jimmy Pedro is a Judo Olympian and World Champion. Jimmy Pedro is one of the most recognizable and decorated Judo athletes in American History.
He has won multiple World Championships and multiple bronze medals in the Olympics and World Championships. Jimmy learned and trained Judo in his hometown of Danvers, MA from his father James Pedro, who was a 1976 Olympic Alternate.
Jimmy is a 7th degree Judo Black Belt, and is known for his grip fighting, newaza (ground fighting) and juji gatame (arm bar) techniques.
He shares his judo takedowns, grip fighting and submissions with BJJ Fanatics in many different DVD series, typically with fellow Olympian: Travis Stevens
Satoshi Ishii is a Olympic Judo Gold Medalist and a professional MMA Fighter who has fought some of the greatest heavyweight MMA fighters in history. Including Mirko Cro Cop, Fedo Emelianenko, Tim Syliva, Hidehiko Yoshida and others. just signed with the Professional Fighters League. He is also a BJJ Black Belt.
He brings his unique and powerful judo style integrated with is MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques to BJJ Fanatics in his new DVD series: JAPANESE JUDO SECRETS BY SATOSHI ISHII
Henry Cejudo is a MMA / UFC fighter and Olympic Gold Medal Freestyle Wrestlers. He is currently the 125lb (Flyweight) UFC Champion who just came off of a quick finish over TJ Dillashaw. Many, many people, including Dana White think this was an early stoppage.Joe Rogan even calls Henry “The Greatest Combat Athlete In History”. He's used to beating all the odds and coming out on top. In 2008 Olympics, at the age of 20, Henry Cejudo was considered a huge underdog and put on a performance of a lifetime as he came from behind in all of matches to become the youngest American ever to win an Olympic gold medal - a rare, rare achievement.
Hudson Taylor, 3x All American wrestler at the University of Maryland; 2x ACC Wrestler of the Year; Columbia University Assistant Coach; tied for fifth all-time in NCAA D-I history in career pins (87).
He trains under Bernardo Faria who convinced him to start doing Jiu Jitsu in 2014. Hudson is now a purple belt in BJJ and a IBJJF No Gi World Champion (Purple Belt), a IBJJF Blue Belt World Champ (Gi) and IBJJF Pan Ams Blue Belt World Champ (Double Gold) IBJJF.
He takes a unique approach of blending his wrestling style with his Jiu Jitsu, and even has some unique approaches from attacking from guard.
Adam Wheeler is an Olympic Greco Roman Wrestler and a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt who specializes in upper body takedowns and integrating his wrestling skills with his BJJ skills. An American wrestler who is best known for his bronze medal performance at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Adam currently trains and teaches at Prime BJJ in Colorado Springs with his now main instructor: Professor Marcelo Motta. He is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under Lee Douglas, a Carlos Machado Black belt.
He brings his unique style of takedowns for BJJ with his new DVD series Upper Body Takedowns With Adam Wheeler. There is also a rumor of him competing soon against Josh Barnett in a super fight. Though he supposedly retired from competing after the Olympics, he wants to set a good example for his students and continue to be a top grappling competitor.
Ben Askren is an American mixed martial artist and former Olympic wrestler. Currently, he remains undefeated as a professional MMA Fighters. He is also the former ONE Welterweight Champion (traded to the UFC) as well as former Bellator Welterweight Champion.
He just won a controversial debut in the UFC against Robbie Lawler where Ben submitted Robbie with a bull-dog choke. The ref stopped the fight because he thought Robbie Lawler was out cold, but Robbie stated that he was fine and it was an early stoppage.
Ben Askren, is one of the most well known wrestlers in the United States. He is a highly decorated 2008 U.S. Olympic Freestyle team member, and after being a four-year starter at 174 lbs for Missouri (2004 -2007), and a four year college coach, he now trains students in wrestling and MMA at his own Academy - the Askren Wrestling Academy.
There are countless videos on takedowns from judo videos, wrestling or many BJJ guys who have become great takedown fighters.
Below you'll find some of our favorite takedowns, throws and setups for takedowns from our favorite takedowns for BJJ experts.
Wheeler Head Snap Down by Adam Wheeler
Adam Wheeler shares one of this favorite setups for takedowns off of the 2 on 1 grip. He uses this grip get the snap down position where he has a unique approach to controlling his opponent.
Tai Otoshi from 50 50 with Rick Hawn
Rick Hawn shares the powerful tai otoshi throw from judo in no gi using the 50 50 clinch or pummeling position.
Pinch Headlock Throw By Adam Wheeler
The pinch headlock is a powerful head and arm clinch that opens up a lot of Greco Roman takedowns and no gi judo throws. The pinch headlock was also a favorite of Rhonda Rousey who was famous for her Harai Goshi in MMA.
Kouchi Gari with Backstep by Rick Hawn
Rick Hawn shows a cool no gi takedown for jiu jitsu - kouchi gari with back step.
High Crotch Single Leg BJJ Takedown by Yuri Simoes
Yuri Simoes shows one of his favorite takedowns for jiu jitsu - the high crotch single leg. Yuri is known for his tough takedowns in ADCC and grappling competitions, despite not having a takedown martial art background.
Wrestling Takedown Penetration and Level Change by Henry Cejudo
Henry Cejudo demonstrates the wrestling takedown techniques for BJJ and other grappling arts with the concepts of Penetration and Level Change for takedowns.
Kouchi Gari to Dog Bar / Knee Bar With Vlad Koulikov
Vlad Koulikov is a Sambo Master of Sport, BJJ Black Belt and a Judo Black Belt. He's one of the most well rounded and intelligent grappling martial artists.
Master Wrestler Rustam Chsiev Shows How To Finish The Side Single Takedown in Wrestling & No Gi
Getting the single leg takedown control is one thing, but finishing the single leg is quite a problem. Rustam Chsiev, ADCC stand out, and master Russian Wrestler shares how to finish the single leg takedown.
Wrestling Moves For Brazilian Jitsu - The Sprawl Takedown Defense With Ben Askren
Ben "Funky" Askren is a master of not getting taken down, and a master a counter the takedown with a takedown of his own. Good wrestling takedown defense starts with a sprawl... and who better to learn how to sprawl then one of the best wrestlers in the world: Ben Askren.
Cross Collar Grip For Takedowns And BJJ With Judo Olympian Travis Stevens
Travis Stevens has one of the best grip fighting games in the world. It is one of the secrets to his success as a Bronze Medal USA Judo Team Olympian. The cross collar grip is one of the most powerful grips in judo and jiu jitsu, and dominating with the cross collar grip will give you a strong grappling edge over your opponent.
Sambo Takedown For Gi: Inverted Legless Firemans Carry by Vlad Koulikov
Sambo, Judo and Wrestling all share some version of the fireman's carry or Kata Guruma in Judo... we'd have to ask Vlad the name of it in Russian; but it is one of the most powerful takedowns for jiu jitsu. Vlad shows us a variation that is guaranteed to catch your opponent off guard and plant him on his back.
No Gi & Wrestling Hand Fighting To Honey Badger Takedown by Ben Askren
Just as in judo, hand fighting in wrestling is an essential component to setup your takedowns and defend against takedown attacks from your opponent. Ben Askren shares some of this best times on how to hand fight for wrestling and then finish with the Honey Badger Wrestling Takedown.
How To Drive Across Body To Finish The Double Leg Takedown by Ben Askren
Ben Askren shares some very important tips on footwork and the penetration step to finish a double leg takedown. Most BJJ guys do this move wrong! The Double leg is such a powerful takedown.
Penetration and Level Change For Wrestling And Submission Wrestling With Henry Cejudo
Henry Cejudo shares his insights on one of the most important moves in wrestling, the penetration step. This movement is essential to get any wrestling based takedowns in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Satoshi Ishii - Uchi Mata Takedown vs Stalling Opponent
Finishing the Uchi Mata throw against a stalling opponent can be quite challenging. Judo Gold Olympian Medalist from Japan and BJJ Black Belt and MMA Fighter Satoshi Ishii shares his insight on how to finish this takedown.
How To Stop The Judo Hip Throw - Takedown Defense With Satoshi Ishii
A Judoka who has a good hip throw or ogoshi can be a challenging opponent to deal with. The hip throw and it's variations leave grapplers planted on their backs with their arms and necks exposed. Judo and BJJ Black Belt Satoshi Ishii shows you his hip defense to defend against hip throw takedowns.