Having a dominant stand-up game is a huge plus for BJJ. Especially when you’re an active competitor and the early points can give you a good lead against your opponent. We hear ya. Great wrestling coaches and schools are hard to spot. And it’s an even bigger task to find a facility that rolls Mixed Martial Arts, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and wrestling into one. Can’t jump into regular classes? Don’t think your takedowns have to suck. Here are some habits that will allow you to build a decent scramble over time.
Break down the basics
You don’t have to be at NCAA champion level to bring down an opponent. However, it is worth knowing the fundamental takedowns and techniques that are most effective for BJJ. Snap Downs, Arm Drags, Double Legs, Fireman’s Carries and Single Leg variations are a great place to start. If you’re not sure, hit up this MMA Media masterclass (launching 24 May 2020) and get the all-in-one system to understand the basics.
Put safety first
Without a dedicated coach to show you the ropes, someone can get hurt real bad! Don’t use that be an excuse though. Prior to your rounds, use your common sense loosen the right joints, bring up any injuries and set the score for intensity. If your wrestling program is more or less a DIY job, start with a dynamic warm up, incorporating things like lunge twists, Russian marches, tumbling and shoulder/neck rolls. To minimise the risk of any surprise injuries, you should also train with someone who rolls well with you.
Speaking of sparring partners, head hunt a team mate who’s just as keen to scrub up on their takedowns. Assuming your club doesn’t allocate time for wrestling drills, let this person be your go-to for arriving earlier to class to work on everything from stance, set-ups, defence and everything in between. Elite wrestlers rave about the importance for repetition – unless you’ve got someone reliable to shoot with, it’s going to be a mission to become a better wrestler for BJJ.
When it’s time to free-roll, jits people have the tendency to start on their knees. Gi or NoGi, start initiating live rolls from a standing position. This will leave you well prepared for the next comp as you’ll start to notice patterns in how you penetrate and enter top positions.
Even if you’re known for your impassable guard, there’s no harm in surprising your team with a few takedown tricks. For those of you who want to take the guesswork out of wrestling for BJJ, be sure to check out Sam Cannon’s instructional on Getting Your Opponent to the Mat (launching 24 May 2020), and take the lead on takedowns at your club.
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