How often do you train takedowns?
Certainly takedowns are an important component for any grapplers tool kit. This is true for the Jiu Jitsu practitioner. With the majority of our submissions being ground based, it may be beneficial to have another way to get the fight to the ground besides butt scooting or pulling guard.
One common reason against training take downs often is injury. I have a training partner who always tells me, “I like the idea of being able to wresting. I also like the idea of being injury free.” In my limited experience on the mats, I have found 2 things to reduce the possibility of injury when it comes to takedowns.
First, I like the idea of blue belt or high learning take downs. Right now the big question in Jiu Jitsu seems to be when to teach someone leg locks. I would argue that the same question should be applied to takedowns. In my experience, someone needs to be relaxed when being thrown or taken down. There is the point when the sprawl or whatever did not work and you know you are going to hit the mat. That is not the time to be rigid with your body. Such rigidness would increase the likelihood of injury. In my estimation, that ability to be relaxed should be reached at the blue belt level.
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The second component to reducing injury is picking your training partners. There is a guy at my gym who is 250 pounds and routinely suplexes white belts on their heads. Yeah, it is against gym policy and all that but it happens. An experienced grappler should have an understanding of who he should be able to practice his takedowns with and who he can’t. I am a big believer in rolling with everyone because I understand that in a real fight people can be spazzy or freakishly strong. But with takedowns, I pick my training partners carefully. I want to be able to come in and train again.
In my own Jiu Jitsu journey I avoided takedowns for a long time. This was primarily because of some injuries I suffered early in my grappling career due to takedowns. I now look for every opportunity to train them. I do not feel like I can be a well-rounded grappler without them. But I pick my opportunities carefully.
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