Does BJJ Have Takedowns?

If you have seen some BJJ matches or watched some BJJ being used in the UFC you may have come to the conclusion that BJJ is only a ground fighting art without takedowns. In this article we will explore if that is really the case or if the Brazilian martial art has more than armbars, triangles and rear naked chokes.

Does BJJ have takedowns? Yes, BJJ does have takedowns. All BJJ matches start in the standing position and takedowns are scored. BJJ is derived from Judo and all the takedowns that are in Judo can also be found in BJJ. Unlike Judo BJJ athletes can grab legs and the most popular takedowns in BJJ are double and single legs.

Even though BJJ does have takedowns many athletes have little to no takedown ability. In BJJ athletes are able to pull guard without penalty which is where an athlete can sit down on the mat. The standing athlete is forced to engage with his seated opponent. This strategy allows athletes with poor takedowns to be high level competitors as they can neutralize their opponent’s superior takedowns.

As athletes know they can pull guard they do not spend time training takedowns. Instead they use that time to practice BJJ positions particularly guard and submissions. This leads to many world class BJJ competitors having poor takedowns.

BJJ may have takedowns but they are not as common as you think as many athletes will pull guard in both training and competition which prohibits takedowns from occurring. Also in many BJJ schools takedowns are not allowed in training due to lack of space.

Does BJJ Teach Takedowns?

Does BJJ teach takedowns? Yes, BJJ does teach takedowns. Takedowns are not a major focus in BJJ and approximately 20% of training time is dedicated to teaching takedowns. A certain percentage of BJJ schools do not teach takedowns and do not spar in the standing position but the majority do.

The majority of BJJ schools do teach takedowns. However, they are often taught poorly and make up a small percentage of training time.

In a typical 90 minute BJJ training session if you are lucky 15 minutes might be spent on teaching takedowns. This will typically involve the coach showing 1-2 techniques and then you drilling them with your partner without resistance. This is a very ineffective way to learn how takedowns.

Wrestling is quite different to BJJ. It is more like boxing in the sense that there are lots of boxers who can throw a nice looking jab or 1-2 on the bag or the pads. However, there are very few boxers who can land those same punches against other trained boxers in sparring and fights. It is the same in wrestling there are tonnes of guys who can drill nice looking doubles and singles but can’t score a takedown when going live.

To learn takedowns effectively you have to first start with stance. Most BJJ guys do not know how to maintain and move in an effective wrestling stance. Then you need to learn hand fighting and setups. It is common to see two BJJ guys both take collar ties and just move around the mat clueless how to go from hand fighting to takedown. Then you drill finishing the takedown against no resistance.

Finally you start practicing the takedown against small amounts of resistance in positional sparring and slowly increase the resistance. Once you have completed these steps you will then be ready to effectively execute this takedown in sparring and competition.

Unfortunately BJJ only typically teaches you  1 out of the 4 steps involved in learning takedowns. It is no wonder why BJJ athletes have such poor takedowns. They do not spend enough time learning them and when they do learn them they are taught using a very poor methodology.

It is common in BJJ schools that do teach takedowns not to spar in the standing position. Many BJJ schools are short on space and overcrowded. To prevent injuries many schools force students to start sparring on the ground and if an athlete stands during the sparring round to pause the action and resume once both athletes are seated. Many BJJ schools prevent standing sparring to make training more accessible to students who can not handle the physicality of wrestling or who are worried about potential injuries.

Some BJJ schools do not teach takedowns at all, not even drilling. Now just drilling takedowns is not a particularly effective way to learn takedowns however, it is still better than doing nothing. Unfortunately there are not many BJJ schools that teach takedowns well so if you can only find a school that drills takedowns you may have to settle however, If your school doesn’t even drill takedowns then you need to find a new gym.

How Do You Do Jiu Jitsu Takedowns?

How do you do Jiu Jitsu takedowns? Jiu Jitsu takedowns are made up of leg attacks and throws. To perform leg attacks lower your stance, push off your backfoot in a straight line, make contact with your opponent and drive them to the ground. To perform throws unbalance your opponent, lower your hips, pull their weight onto your hip, lift and throw.

The two main types of takedowns in Jiu Jitsu are leg attacks and throws. The most popular takedowns in Jiu Jitsu are leg attacks, particularly single and double legs. This is because leg attacks are highly effective, easy to learn and come from America’s strong wrestling tradition.

Performing a double leg can be a bit tricky. First you need to create a set up. A common setup is snapping down on your opponent’s head, when they attempt to stand back up you will be presented with an opportunity to attack.

After you have successfully set up your takedown you need get in position to execute it. This involves you lowering your stance and putting your weight on your back foot. Then you need to execute the takedown by driving off your back foot, moving in a straight line, placing your shoulder into opponent’s waist, wrapping your arms around their legs and driving with your legs until they fall to the ground.

How To Perform Double Leg Takedown

Throws are also very popular in Jiu Jitsu due to the sport’s Judo heritage and the fact athletes wear a Gi. Throws are much harder to learn than leg attacks but can be very effective. The most common throw in Jiu Jitsu is O Goshi

To perform throws in BJJ you first need to unbalance your opponent this is known as Kazushi in Judo. The most common way to unbalance your opponent is to pull on your opponent’s lapel or sleeve as you step. Once you have your opponent off balance you need to step in really close to your opponent, drop your hips under his, establish a strong grip around your opponent.

Then you pull their body onto you, loading their weight on your hip and then you lift and throw. If done correctly it should feel effortless and your opponent will fly through the air. Throws may be difficult to perform but they are very satisfying.

How To Do The Ogoshi Judo Throw by Ilias Iliadis ( Judo Olympic gold medalist)

Does Jiu Jitsu Have Throws?

Does Jiu Jitsu have throws? Yes, Jiu Jitsu has throws. The Gracie’s were taught Judo and when they created Jiu Jitsu they incorporated all of Judo’s throws into Jiu Jitsu. As Jiu Jitsu uses the same uniform as Judo, throws are very effective and common.

What Martial Art Is Best For Takedowns?

What martial art is best for takedowns? Wrestling is the best martial for learning takedowns for No-Gi or MMA and Judo is the best martial for learning takedowns for Gi. In wrestling and Judo the goal of the sport is to take your opponent down, athletes in both sports spend hours every training session perfecting their takedowns. 


BJJ does have takedowns. However, the rules of BJJ allow athletes to avoid partaking in stand up grappling which prevents takedowns from occurring. Even though takedowns are taught in BJJ they are a minor focus with on average 20% of training time dedicated to them. They are often taught poorly resulting in many BJJ athletes not being proficient in the stand up position.


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