3 Tips To Improve Your Takedowns

After every tournament, the new competitors return to the academy with new things they learned about their jiu-jitsu. Among the most common revelations after a tournament is “Gosh! I REALLY need to start working on my takedowns! I got really tired at the start of the match!”

Few academies devote a significant amount of time to training takedowns and the student must take their own initiative to bring their stand up grappling to a higher level.
read also: How Smart Students Use Their Instructors

Here are 3 Tips To Improve Your Takedowns:

1) Concentrate on 2-3 main takedowns

It is far better for a bjj student to be proficient at a handful of takedowns than to have a cursory knowledge of 12. KNOWING and being able to use a technique is much different from knowing roughly how to perform a takedown but not to the depth required to actually pull it off. Few people know that although top international level judo competitors may KNOW many throws, they actually only USE 3-5 in their personal competition arsenal.

By focusing your efforts on learning the high-percentage, basic techniques better at a few than knowing many different techniques but can not actually do them.

Some of the basic takedowns that you should concentrate on:

  • Double leg
  • Single leg
  • Clinch takedown (double underhooks with outside trip)
  • Osoto gari
  • Hip throw


2) How to drill the moves

One of the main parts of judo training is the “uchikomi” – the repetition of the entry part of the takedown (stopped short of throwing). With a partner each enters for their favorite takedown for 10-20 repetitions before the other partner reciprocates. You also can agree to complete the throw on the 10th rep to get some practice with the follow through on the takedown.

* Tip – When performing the “uchikomi” start in a neutral fighting stance to get used to the footwork and distance that you need.

You don’t want to telegraph your takedown attempt to your opponent in live sparring, so practice from a neutral stance.

** It make learning takedowns more fun if you practice without taking repeated falls.
Uchikomi is the way to improve without too many falls!

3) Start some matches in rolling from standup position

Most academies start rolls from the ground only. The reason for this is the lack of mat space and slightly higher injury potential in training full power takedowns.

But those periods when there is more free mat space, start some of your matches from the feet.
This simple practice helps eliminate the extreme fatigue that many experience when grappling standup.
If you have spent time in training grappling standup, you will be far more comfortable on your feet and tend to tense less.

Get to the point where you feel capable on your feet and not like the proverbial fish out of water.


Master Carlos Gracie Jr. believes in a complete jiu-jitsu:

  1. Self defense
  2.  Takedowns
  3.  Ground positions

Have a complete jiu-jitsu and train your takedowns!

read also:Top Game or Bottom Game?
Credits: Mark Mullen 
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Saigon, Vietnam
Twitter: @MarkMullenBJJ