All Things Takedown pt 1…

A common problem people mentioned in the survey was how to develop a takedown game.

(If you haven’t filled out the survey already, do me a favour and fill it out now at I’ll send you something awesome to say thank you)

So over the next two emails, we’ll be talking takedowns

Specifically, how to develop a takedown game, the secret to takedown success, and a gripping strategy for starting a match.

But first I have a question for you.

Why do a lot Jiu Jitsu players neglect takedowns?

Think about it every Jiu Jitsu fight starts standing, so does every round of an MMA fight, as do most self-defence situations.  But a lot of Jiu Jitsu guys rarely spend any time working takedowns.

Yes, you can pull guard, but that doesn’t score points and can give your opponent an opportunity to attack.

It never made sense to me. But this gap in people’s Jiu Jitsu gives you an opportunity.

My ability to score a takedown at any point in a fight was one of the reasons for my success at the lower belt levels.

Don’t get me wrong, my takedown skills are far from spectacular, but they are better than most.  And to be successful, your takedown game doesn’t need to be amazing either.

Having a couple of go-to takedown techniques that will put you ahead of most people.

This short video covers a simple takedown strategy and a few drills you can use to build a takedown game.

This was actually my takedown game when I first started Jiu Jitsu.  It revolved around one key concept that was the secret to my success. The concept is

You don’t need to know hundreds of different takedowns, just one takedown really well.

If you watch most elite level Judo or Wrestling competitors they will only use two – three techniques.  However, their set-ups, timing, and counters are perfect.  

One of my favourite quotes by MMA super coach Greg Nelson is

“Jack of all trades, but master of none. Master of few and JACK everyone”

This can be applied to almost every aspect of Jiu Jitsu.

A great example of this is Roger Gracie. At the 2009 World Championships, he submitted all 9 of his opponents.  What makes that more incredible is 8 out of 9 submissions were a cross collar choke from mount.

The other submission was an Ezekiel choke from …

… the mount.

To me, one of the greatest accomplishments in Jiu Jitsu is when both you and your opponent know what you’re trying to do but they simply can’t stop you.

This is what happened to Roger.  Everyone knew he was going to take them down, pass their guard, mount them, and choke them from there.  Yet not a single one of these elite level black belt competitors could stop him.

You could argue that Roger Gracie is special, and he is, but I can give you a ton of other examples;

Rousimar Phalares and heel hooks,  The Mendes Bros and the Berimbolo, Kosei Inoue and the Uchi Mata, John Smith and the Low Single.

To be a great competitor you should apply this to every part of your Jiu Jitsu.

Wow, that’s a long lesson, but hopefully, you found useful.

If you have any questions or feedback let me know.

Until then,


PS In part two, I’ll share with you the gripping strategy I use to start a match and that sets up my many of my takedowns.

Click here to read Part 2