Why Don’t Bjj Guys Do Takedowns?

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”
Robert Drysdale

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.


  1. I surmise, from reading this article, that Sport Jiu Jitsu is diverging wildly (and becoming somewhat ineffective thereby) from it’s Self Defense origins and roots. Hmm..

  2. Well, for the wrestler or judoka, whats the purpose of performing a takedown successfully just to be smoked by someone who has better ground work? Chael Sonnen took André Galvão down in Metamoris only to be tapped out. Who would you rather be? Think about that.

    • Well, for the Jiutiero the purpose of a take down is to get the fight to the ground. IF you can do it well enough or fast/quickly enough, absolute REAMS of submissions and good positions open themselves up like a book before you. If it were a feast you’d need a napkin just to wipe the drool away….

      You made a decent point about Chael v Andre, btw. Let’s not forget that he also went to a draw v Renato Sobral; thus it can be said he did fairly well by lasting over half an hour against TWO of the world’s best Jiu Jitsu Black Belts. OR that Ryron Gracie was subbed by Josh Barnett at around the 13 minute mark. Josh also submitted Dean Lister at about the 19:50 mark. Also over a half hour against two of the world’s best black belts.

      As for who I’d rather be? I’d rather be 27 instead of 67 and I’d rather be able to know and perform throws and take downs (with which I have some small skill) than not. I’d rather be able to pass what small knowledge I have or attain along to my Grandchildren than not and I’d rather be able to survive if someone larger/stronger than I am, than NOT. That’s who I’d rather be. And I AM. 🙂

      • I agree with a lot of what you said, but it’s not like the guys you mentioned have never done jiu jitsu. I find it odd this is never mentioned.

    • after spending 14 years with judo, I have joined a bjj club, After few years of practicing bjj, my judo skills became huge advantage against bjj players who didnt know how to take down.From a successful takedown, you more than likely end up in a dominant position , where you can pull a quick and effective submission on your opponent.

  3. The gaurd game is so much more complicated and entertaining then watching say a judo or a wrestling match, once the fight hits the ground, the action begins. I don’t disagree that having an arsenal of takedown’s effective in competion for gaining a more dominant position. Wrestling is pretty basic, were bjj is very complicated and always evolving. Watching a someone jump gaurd is entertaining, because you don’t know what he is planning. There’s large number of Judo players who can perform a takedown at anytime, but for the sport of bjj they play the gaurd game, because fighting for a takedown is the most boring part of a match. How many times do you watch a bjj match and fast forward it to the point were the real action starts, on the ground. Me personally find Wrestling and Judo fun sports to do, but boring as hell to watch. Where bjj is so complicated and entertaining. Its funny how Drysdale feels he can call anybody lazy after testing positive for steroids in the UFC, and most likely everyone of his bjj matches. Whats lazy is taking steroids to skip focusing on training the natural way, proper diet and conditioning.


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