It’s an open secret that many pure BJJ stylists neglect their standup grappling and takedown game.
While most of BJJ focuses on the ground fighting component of the grappling match, every match and of course, every fight, starts standing.
If you have neglected your standup and takedowns for BJJ, fear not!
In the “Denilson’s Favorite Takedowns” instructional, BJJ Black Belt Denilson Pimenta teaches you his top takedowns inspired by Judo, Wrestling, and Self Defense.
The full list of takedowns covered in the course is as follows:
Guard pull to sweep
Lapel Grip Ankle Pick
Guard Jump Fake Out to Single Leg
HeadLock to Hip Toss
Bear Hug to Side Control
This article gives you a sneak peek into this amazing course on takedowns for BJJ.
We break down two of these incredibly effective takedowns delivered in the first part of the lesson, which includes all 7 different lessons each covering a specific takedown.
Guard Pull to Sweep
Guard pull to sweep is the first takedown covered by Denilson. This technique does not require a strong wrestling background or fancy setups.
Instead, it is a basic guard pull with a pre-established grip that allows you to seamlessly sweep your opponent directly off of the guard pull.
When executed correctly, you will end up immediately mounting your opponent, giving you points for the takedown as well as for establishing the mounted position.
To perform the guard pull to sweep:
Begin standing in front of your opponent in a staggered grappling stance. Mirror your opponent’s stance, in this case the opponent has their right leg forward, so you will have your left leg forward.
With your left hand, grab a sleeve grip on the top of your opponent’s right sleeve.
With your right hand, take a grip on your opponent’s left lapel.
Lift your right leg and swing your foot forward and place it on your opponent’s left hip in the crease at the top of their left thigh. At this point, you should be seated with your left foot flat on the floor and your right foot up on your opponent’s hips with the established grips. This should force your opponent to lean forward.
Lasso your left leg around your opponent’s right arm, pull their wrist tight and establish a firm shin-on-bicep connection.
Roll backwards to load your opponent onto your left shin and right foot until they are suspended above you.
Continue rolling backward over your right shoulder to throw your opponent all the way over you onto their back.
Continue your roll until you come to the top full mount position and establish control.
Although this is technically a guard pull, if you nail the initial off-basing of your opponent, the guard pull will fluidly transition into in impressive sweep and the entire sequence resembles a throw as much as a guard pull.
The Kata Garuma is essentially a fireman’s carry takedown executed in the Gi. This throw depends on a solid lapel grip and a pivot and level change to dump your opponent over the top for a highlight-reel status takedown.
To execute Kata Garuma
Stand in front of your opponent with a mirrored stance. In this case, your opponent’s right leg is forward and your left leg is forward.
Take a grip on your opponent’s right wrist with your left hand to dominate the top of the hand and prevent your opponent from defending your next grip.
With your right hand, reach up and grab your opponent’s left lapel near the neck. Be sure to get a strong grip is you will use this to pull your opponent on top of you.
Step back with your right leg and pivot 90 degrees as you drop your right knee to the mat. As you do this, pull your right hand back with your elbow flared high while maintaining your lapel grip.
As your opponent falls forward on top of you, bail on the sleeve and reach your right hand between their legs and grab the Gi pants on the side of their left knee.
Do a slight upward bump to roll your opponent all the way across your back until they slam down to the mat on their back.
Maintain the lapel grip the whole time and keep your Gi pants grip as well. Use these grips to control your opponent after they land and transition to a knee-on-belly position.
Ouchi Gari is an inside leg trip from Judo that makes for a slick and effective takedown in BJJ. As with all Gi takedowns, establishing a firm connection with the lapel grip is crucial for successfully completing the takedown.
To execute Ouchi Gari:
Begin in a staggered grappling stance matching your opponent’s foot position. In this case, both of you have your right leg forward.
Establish a grip on their right sleeve with your left hand.
Grip their left side collar with your right hand near your opponent’s neck.
Step your left leg to the outside of your opponent’s forward right leg and pivot 90 degrees to your right as you pull your opponent’s lapel with your right hand. This should force your opponent to step their left leg to the side to base.
As your opponent’s left foot plants back to the floor, hook your right calf around your opponent’s left leg from the inside. Your shin and lower leg should be very low and roughly parallel to the floor.
With your hook in place, drive forward to knock your opponent back, tripping them with your right calf and lower leg.
Stand up and establish your top passing position.
The key is getting your opponent to step with their left leg (using the respective positioning in this example) to set up the trip.
Anyone will see the inside trip from a mile away if you do not force them to step first.
Forcing their step boils down to having a strong, well-positioned lapel grip when you take initial outward step to start the technique.
Want to learn more? Check out Denilson’s Favorite Takedowns
Regardless of your competitive goals in BJJ, having a couple good go-to takedowns is key to ensuring a well-rounded grappling game.
After all, there is no point in being a master of ground fighting if you have zero reliable methods to actually bring the fight to the ground against a resisting and disagreeable opponent.