High Percentage Wrestling Takedowns for BJJ

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Introduction: High Percentage Wrestling for BJJ

Today, we are going to take a look at wrestling for BJJ. A good wrestler can be a real problem for even the best BJJ practitioner. Generally speaking, we are terrible at takedowns, and will get schooled by anyone with a serious wrestling background. They’re usually bigger, most always stronger and most definitely tougher than us. Or maybe it’s just me?

To deal with this problem, there is only one thing to do – get better at wrestling. Easier said than done, I’m afraid. Most academies don’t have a dedicated wrestling class, let alone an entire curriculum based around a feet to floor model. So, study the videos below and learn how to implement wrestling for BJJ.

Take Downs

1.)Single Leg Take Down

The Single Leg is a must have technique in your arsenal, and relatively easy to finish once you have a good angle on your opponent. Shooting on the front leg is pretty straight forward, but shooting on the back leg is much more difficult. I found a great instructional that can help with accessing that back leg.


2.)The Snap Down

The snap down is the king of take downs for novice wrestlers. The risk of a failed snap down is next to nothing, and if you land it, there is a clear pathway to the back. I go for a snap down every chance I get. 

3.) Low Single / Ankle Pick For BJJ

The low single is available any time your opponent is moving towards you. Start with a shove, or some pressure on a collar tie and you can get anyone to commit weight on their front foot. When they do, that’s your moment to strike. You can circle in, circle out or stand up with the ankle to finish with devastating effect. 

4.) The Barzegar

The Barzegar takedown, named after its Iranian practitioner, has cemented its place in the annals of wrestling techniques. Its importance lies in its unexpected maneuvering, allowing wrestlers to take advantage of an opponent’s stance or movement. Properly executed, the Barzegar can rapidly shift the dynamic of a match, catching the adversary off-guard. 

Grips and Set Ups

Before we shoot, we must have a set up. You can’t just dive on a leg without an angle and expect things to go well. Here are a couple of set ups I like and use frequently to get to the legs or to the back to begin working towards the floor. 

1.) Arm Drag

The arm drag is a great way to set up a wide variety of shots. The primary goal is to get to your opponent’s back, but if this fails there are still a few very good options for you

2.) The Russian Tie

The Russian is one of my favorite ways to set up shots. Once you have a tight grip on their arm, and your shoulder is above their shoulder, you can have your way. The position is not invincible, but it gives you massive control over your opponent’s head and shoulders, which limit’s their ability to use their hips in any meaningful way.

4.) The Inside Tie

The inside tie is a foundational wrestling move, central to controlling opponents and setting up a myriad of attacks. Mastery of this technique grants you the ability to dictate the pace, position, and direction of a match. The inside tie involves securing an opponent’s arm, placing the hand on the inside of their bicep, allowing for superior leverage. Its applications are many, including setting up takedowns, countering attacks, and maintaining a dominant stance, making it indispensable in any stand up scenario.

4.) The duck Under

The “duck under” is a foundational move in wrestling, vital for gaining leverage over an opponent. This maneuver involves the wrestler quickly lowering their level and slipping underneath the opponent’s arm, positioning themselves at the adversary’s back or side. Its importance lies in its versatility, allowing for rapid transitions to various takedowns or control positions. Mastery of the duck under can provide a significant strategic advantage, making it a favorite technique for both novice and experienced wrestlers seeking to catch their opponents off-guard.


1.) Half Nelson Pin

The half nelson is a fundamental wrestling move, pivotal both for its simplicity and effectiveness. Its importance lies in the ability to control an opponent’s posture, rendering them vulnerable to pins and further maneuvers. When correctly applied, the half nelson provides a massive advantage, offering the aggressor a very dominant position. Beyond mere control, this move also establishes a psychological edge, as the trapped opponent must work doubly hard to regain a favorable position, often expending crucial energy in the process.

2.) The Cradle

The cradle is an important wrestling technique, emphasizing control and dominance over an opponent. Its importance lies in its dual function: it not only provides an opportunity for the us to advance position, but also neutralizes the adversary’s offensive capabilities. This technique, which involves wrapping up an opponent like a baby in a cradle, requires precision, strength, and timing. When executed correctly, the cradle is a brutally effective technique for maintaining control.

3.) The Cement Mixer

The Cement Mixer is a great move for every BJJ practitioner to know, and a great follow up to the snap down. Sometimes it can be difficult to transition to the back. In that case, use the cement mixer to take side control. Once you establish control, you should have the head wrapped, and an opportunity to set up a north south choke. Try it next time you roll!


Integrating wrestling into jiu-jitsu amplifies a practitioner’s grappling arsenal, bridging the gap between standing engagements and ground combat. Wrestling offers effective takedown techniques, allowing jiu-jitsu fighters to control where the fight takes place – either keeping it standing or transitioning to the mat on their terms. 

Moreover, the explosive strength, agility, and pressure-based control techniques from wrestling augment the positional game inherent in jiu-jitsu. This integration cultivates a well-rounded grappler, prepared to face diverse challenges. By blending the methodical finesse of jiu-jitsu with the dynamic power of wrestling, practitioners ensure they remain adaptable, unpredictable, and formidable across all grappling scenarios.

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