Day: December 11, 2007

Takedowns: How to Avoid Being a One-Trick Pony

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Since I was in middle school I had a penchant for taking people to the ground. Along the way I had friends who showed me a trick or two for takedowns and I was a one-trick pony with those two techniques until I became an adult. When I began to take Judo, in my first sparring session, the green belt I was sparring with took me lightly and I surprised him a few times with one of my old tricks.  He quickly caught on and I spent the next few minutes being tossed around like a rag doll. It was then that I finally gave up one being the “old dog” who wouldn’t learn new tricks and opened myself up to the world of takedowns.

I achieved a green belt in Judo (white, yellow, green, brown, black) and only competed in two competitions. One of which I won, but what I learned was invaluable. My sense of balance, sprawl defense and ability to take down people in jiu-Jitsu comes from that period of my life when I was a Judoka.

Many of the times when I am standing with my fellow Jiu-jitsu players I recognize some of the same traits that I exhibited when I first entered that Judo class. Many of us rely on  the single or double leg takedown. Although there are many acadamies that now focus on all aspects of grappling (wrestling, Judo, Jiu-jitsu, etc.) many do not and I believe it hurts our ability to take down people effectively.

Often in Jiu-jitsu, submission grappling and MMA I see people try one move to take their opponent down and then they back off. There are no feints or set-ups to place the opponent in a position to be ripe enough for a takedown. The feint or set up is what I love(d) about Judo. In addition, I believe the lack of practice in takedowns sometimes contributes to the shock that many Jiu-jitsu players or MMA guys feel when they find themselves on the receiving end of a well executed throw or takedown by a Judoka or wrestler.

The above video demonstrates a little bit of the thinking that goes into taking someone down in Judo.