Taking it to the ground

I am often asked, (in fact I was asked this very morning) when is the best time for a student to start learning takedowns. There are two answers: pick whichever you like best ….
From a training-design perspective, I believe that it’s no use learning to take someone down unless you are already proficient on the ground. Why go down unless you are fairly certain, that in doing so, you have significantly increased your chances of a favourable outcome. So generally – I don’t expose students to takedowns until they are a BJJ Blue belt level.

Having said that though, if you have the time (or the student has the time) – then learn all you can whenever you can – and then arrange things as they should be at a later date. In fact, although there is a THEORETICAL order in which we should learn things – we rarely follow this order as we should. We learn when the opportunity presents itself – and we apply the lesson learned at some time when circumstances or skill levels permit. Human beings are opportunistic learners at their core. It’s hard to stop them from uncovering secrets – as anyone with kids will attest to.

So from a CURRICULUM DESIGN perspective, I wouldn’t teach takedowns before GROUND COMPETENCE. But from a training perspective – grab the sills whenever you can – but be prepared to modify and adjust when the context becomes clearer and more complete when you are more skilled. It is a never-ending process.

Best wishes,


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