The guard pull is becoming more and more popular these days, especially amongst the lighter weight classes. However, this is no excuse for athletes not to learn throws for their arsenal. There has been debate whether the essential takedowns are from judo or wrestling. Some argue that wrestling takedowns should be reserved for no-gi only and judo takedowns for gi jiu-jitsu. The truth is that it doesn’t matter and that the basics from each discipline is useful for either form of jiu-jitsu. It’s okay to use wrestling takedowns in gi jiu-jitsu and it’s okay to use an adapted judo takedown in wrestling. A lot of greco-roman wrestling and judo have overlap in technical details. So here are five general takedowns that everyone should strive to know so they can use it in either form of jiu-jitsu.
1. Single-Leg Takedown
This is one of the most basic takedowns in all of martial arts. Both judo and wrestling have variations of this technique, although in sports judo, it has become illegal to dip down and grab the legs in order to promote the use of more aesthetic throws – a strategy to please the spectator. Regardless, the single leg is so useful in BJJ because there are many techniques from the ground that actually lead into a single-leg. Some of these techniques are basic and some are more advanced, but to name a few, one of the most effective attacks from the seated guard is to stand up with the opponent’s leg and immediately drive into a single-leg takedown. It’s a very high percentage sequence and everyone should know it. Also, Marcelo Garcia fans may recall him leading into a single leg usually from a diving arm drag in both gi and no-gi. The usefulness of this technique applies to all belt levels in different variations.
2. Ippon Seoi Nage
“Ippon”, or the one-arm shoulder throw, is one of the fundamental techniques in judo and is taught at the early belt levels. Although this technique was popularized via judo, wrestling does have its variation of this as well. In BJJ, we have seen champions like Saulo Ribeiro and Leo Vieira use this over and over in both gi and no-gi. Even with the gi, there are several different variations you can do, especially the “drop seoi nage” where you can drop to both knees in order to get under your opponent’s center of gravity easier and also pull him down with you. The main dangers of using this technique are that if done incorrectly, you can drop your opponent on his head and possibly get your back taken. The technique has actually been deemed illegal in judo competition because of the many accidents that had occurred with athletes dropping on their heads and injuring their neck and spine.
3. Deashi Barai
Also known as the advanced foot sweep in English, the Deashi Barai is one of the original fourty judo techniques introduced by Jigoro Kano, the organizer of judo. This is probably one of the most technical sweeps in all of judo because it’s quite impossible to compensate with any power. The only way you can execute the technique is if your timing is perfect with proper gripping, unlike some other throws where you can power your way through. What also makes this technique so special is that it’s like the jab of throws - it’s a great way to set up for other big throws and can be used as a distraction - a must for all grapplers.