A while back I wrote an article exploring the merits of the takedown in BJJ competition. In that article I made several tongue in cheek references to the lack of motivation in BJJ competition for the takedown. Many people took me seriously and got very upset at me for making these statements. I read the comments, chuckled a bit at the seemingly profound effect I had on them, and moved on with my day. Id like to explore this topic a bit further, this time in earnest.
I fully understand that takedowns are ESSENTIAL to GOOD JIU JITSU. I, however, dont take people down in competition, I pull guard, and that isnt because I disregard the value of the takedown but rather because competitions disregard their value.
Competitions need to make the takedown worth its while. Make a takedown worth 4 or 6 points, penalize the guard pull with -2 points, do SOMETHING to encourage good jiu jitsu in competition and youll see the level rise. It probably wont stop me, personally, from pulling guard, but itll certainly force me to push the pace once I do.
The ground battle is a difficult and exhausting one; because people would rather end their matches with submissions, they conserve energy by not engaging in the standup battle which at its best is only worth 2 points (and whatever positions it results in).
In my prior article I made reference to takedowns being hazardous to joints of older competitors. Guess what, so are joint locks and so are many other positions and movements in BJJ. Also, there are takedowns that if drilled properly will be relatively low impact.
Am I saying that I am a takedown artist? No. And Ill tell you something else: until the guard pull is punished, well continue seeing the nonsense that has become so prevalent in competition BJJ. Punish the guard pull and generously reward the takedown and sport BJJ will completely change. Those of us with frightening guards will still try to find ways to get to our guards, but it will change the tone.
Takedowns are crucial to good jiu jitsu. They are, however, largely absent from the tool kits of many of the very best in the game. The reason for this is that they are effectively discouraged by their meager value.
Emil Fischer is an active blue belt competitor under Pablo Angel Castro III training with Strong Style Brasa and is sponsored by Pony Club Grappling Gear and Cruz Combat. For more information, other articles, and competition videos check out his athlete pages at www.facebook.com/emilfischerbjj and www.twitter.com/Emil_Fischer