Recently 2007 ADCC Absolute champion and Bjj World Champion Robert Drysdale made an Instagram post about bjj and the lack of takedowns.
“Takedowns my friends
Please learn them. And stop this non-sense that jiu-jitsu is a ground art.
We begin on our feet, stop being so lazy.
The purpose of the guard is to continue to fight in case you make the mistake of being taken down
Lets keep the martial art aspect of jiu-jitsu alive. #keepitreal #notplayful
aprendam a derrubar meus amigos. A guarda é para defesa no caso do erro de ter sido derrubado.
Vamos manter o lado arte marcial do #jiujitsu vivo! #bjj”
The other grappling arts of Wrestling, Sambo and Judo all specialize in takedowns.
So why don’t we see much takedown training i8n bjj academies?
3 Main Reasons Bjj Guys Don’t Do Takedowns
1) The rules of sport bjj
IBJJF rules (and submission only events) do not strongly reward competitors for takedowns.
The match is not restarted if there is a stalemate on the ground – like in judo – so competitors just need to get the match to the ground as quickly as possible.
In competitions where a negative point is awarded for a guard jump, we see more standup grappling and emphasis on takedowns.
The particular rules of any competition have a significant effect on how the art is practiced.
In sports bjj – competition oriented academies (as opposed to self defense or MMA), there will be less emphasis on training techniques that do not help win the tournament match.
2) Take downs are hard!
If you have ever spent a training session doing standup you know that it is extremely gruelling!
There is a reason that wrestlers have such a tough reputation.
Judo training involves taking thousands of falls in the time it takes to achieve a black belt.
This turns many people off of the training.
By comparison, just starting on the knees is much easier on the body and the match can get right to the fun stuff.
(Maybe this is what Drysdale was talking about when he said “lazy”)
* Many academies lack the mat space to have all students training takedowns during rolling and so start rolling on the ground.
3) Lack of knowledge by the instructor
It is possible to get to a high level on the ground without having much expertise in the standup grappling.
We have seen it in MMA especially where a decorated sports bjj champion has a mediocre double leg as his sole takedown.
I have seen academies where takedowns are never taught until the week before a tournament when people suddenly realize they need to do some standup.
If the instructor has not trained extensively in judo or wrestling, it is unlikely that they have a deep knowledge of teaching takedowns.
There ARE bjj black belts who come from a judo / wrestling back ground that can competently teach takedowns and instill that in their students.
A Reader Question: Instructor holding me back from randori because I’m not 3 stripes yet.“