Best Places to Learn Takedowns for BJJ

Techniques > Takedowns

It’s hard to learn takedowns for BJJ, because our sport itself doesn’t specialize in throws, and Judo and wrestling takedowns often aren’t applicable to BJJ. So who’s really an authority on takedowns that work in BJJ? On this post I refer you to the best BJJ takedown resources.

Best takedowns for BJJ

YouTube Channels

Shintaro Higashi

Shintaro Higashi’s channel is by far my favorite Youtube channel for studying takedowns. Shintaro focuses on pure basics: gripping, stance, and obtaining a dominant standing position before you throw.

I have noticed that I learn takedowns much quicker by focusing on these basics, rather than focusing on doing a whole throw all at once. (Because throwing is very difficult.)

Note that Shintaro is primarily a judoka, but he is also a BJJ black belt, and he wrestled in college. And I find that because he focuses on basics, his techniques translate very well to BJJ. And because he also has a large BJJ following, he frequently makes videos that are specific to BJJ.

Here’s one of my favorite videos by Shintaro, it’s an overview of a basic gripping strategy. This helped my takedown game way more than any other single video.

Judo Basic Grip fighting 101: right vs right

Check out Shintaro’s channel, he stresses the basics in every video, so after a while you start to really understand them.

Travis Stevens

Travis Stevens is an Olympic medalist in Judo. He also got his BJJ black belt from John Danaher. And he makes a lot of videos about takedowns for BJJ.

What I like the most about Travis’ channel is his live Q&A sessions. They last about an hour and you can ask him anything related to the topic of the day. For example, he did one about BJJ takedowns and one about No Gi Takedowns, and people ask him how to do certain throws and then he explains it.

Keep in mind that the main focus of Travis’ channel is Judo. As a consequence, most of the techniques he shares are way too hard for us (or at least for me).

Free BJJ Takedown Class With Judo Olympian Travis Stevens

John Danaher

John Danaher made 2 videos about his views on takedowns in BJJ. They’re very long but they contain a lot of value. Both of them are released to promote his takedown instructional: Feet to Floor.

The first video addresses what John thinks is important for BJJ takedowns. He mentions 6 criteria to judge how applicable a takedown is to BJJ:

  1. Back exposure
  2. Neck exposure
  3. Belt Exposure
  4. Weight Exposure
  5. Roll-through Potential
  6. General Difficulty
Best Takedowns For Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) by John Danaher

The second video is more of a podcast. John talks about the history of BJJ and why takedowns have been largely neglected in the sport. He also talks about his ambition to drastically increase the level of takedown skill in BJJ, and what he wants to do after this project is done.

Instructional DVDs

Shintaro Higashi – Low Risk Judo Throws for BJJ

Low Risk Judo Throws for BJJ is Shintaro’s instructional about the best takedown system for BJJ.

Shintaro explains that we shouldn’t do turn throws such as Uchi Mata’s and Hip tosses in BJJ, because they’re far too hard. They take many years to learn, and they’re just not worth it.

Instead, we should focus on easy, low risk throws. So Shintaro teaches two easy foot sweeps that we can spam (kouchi gari and ouchi gari), and two powerful sacrifice throws (tomoe nage and sumi gaeshi). And he shows how to integrate these techniques into 1 system.

(What I find a funny coincidence is that although this instructional was released before John Danaher’s video, Shintaro’s selection of throws actually follows Danaher’s criteria for BJJ throws perfectly. All the throws in his system are the easiest throws to learn, they have no roll through potential and they give no exposure to your neck, back, belt or weight. Great minds think alike 🙂 ).

John Danaher – Feet to Floor

Feet to Floor is John Danaher’s instructional series on takedowns for BJJ. John focuses on takedowns that adhere to the criteria he describes in the video I linked to above. The instructional series contains 3 volumes.

I haven’t watched this series yet because it came out when I couldn’t train because of lockdown restrictions. As soon as I can train standup again, I’ll watch it and write a review about it.

Final Thoughts

It’s still pretty hard to learn takedowns for BJJ, but there’s more and more resources coming out every day.

Follow Shintaro’s and Travis’ channels to start getting acquainted with standup techniques, and pick up an instructional if you’re ready to bring your takedown game to the next level!