by Adam benShea
The reason that many fail to finish a takedown (or ‘shot’) can, usually, be attributed to two easily remedied details.
First, you have to change levels with your legs, not your back!
The first action in a takedown should be ‘changing levels,’ or using your legs to lower your center of gravity so that you are level with your opponent’s hips. Too often, we see people changing levels with their backs. They bend their back forward and charge like a mummy suffering from a bout with vertigo! This makes for a takedown that is predicable and lacking in strength. However, when you change levels with your legs beneath you, they will offer a resource for strength and movement (both of which are crucial for the successful takedown).
Second, the initial contact of a takedown should feel like a punch to your opponent’s gut!
To accomplish this, one must use the back leg (or ‘trail leg’) as an anchor point from which to push off. Specifically, the back leg should be used to launch you into your opponent. If executed correctly, your opponent will fold over your shoulder (making the completion of the takedown much more likely).
Drilling the movement of a correctly executed takedown will improve your shot. But, sometimes drilling just isn’t enough. So, here are some sport specific exercises to tune up your takedown.
Lunges are a great exercise that mimics the action of a takedown. In a lunge, you change levels with your legs, not your back. Moreover, lunges increase leg strength in the replicated takedown motion. This makes for a stronger ‘pop’ into your opponent.
Some variations of the lunge include: Walking Lunge, Standing Lunge, Jumping Lunge, and Barbell Lunge. (Note: To reduce the chance of injury, do not let your knee fall over your toes). (
Just Band It!
Get a resistance band and attach it to your waist (any strong resistance band will do, but resistance bands specific to grappling training are available). Make sure you attach the other end to an immovable object (e.g. you training partner holds it, tie it to the leg of that big dude who rules the buffet line…whatever). Once the band is in place, shoot away! The resistance of the band will increase as you drive through your takedown. Drill your shot for one minute with the band, then one minute without the band. And repeat.
Find access to a pool and get in the shallow end. With the water at waist level, drill your takedowns. The natural resistance provided by the water will offer a great way to strengthen the action of your takedown. Work on your takedowns for 10-15 minutes. Once on dry land, you should notice an increase in the speed and strength of your shot. You may look weird, but, in a public pool, you will just be one of many.
About the author:
Adam benShea is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Ricardo “Frajinha” Miller (Paragon Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu). Adam has won the World, Pan American, and California State Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championships. He is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and holds an MA from Indiana University. Check out his website for more workout ideas: Adam’s Website. Adam is the Joshstrength.com Grappling/MMA Advisor.