T Nation

Takedowns for the (Very) Tall


Yes, generally “blind” takedowns would be takedowns where you can’t see where you both are going to land (and therefore cannot see potential obstacles or hazards that you might land on).

Examples include:
-pretty much anything that involves a “back arch”
-sacrifice throws

The opposite would be takedowns where you can clearly see where you (possibly both) are going to fall and so can choose to avoid possible hazards or possibly use them to damage the opponent. You also pretty much want to try to primarily develop takedowns where you are “on top” the whole time you (both) are falling to the ground so you can use the opponent’s body as a crash pad once you hit the ground (both to damage them and protect yourself) of need be.

Examples would be:
-that backbend takedown flats posted above
-Osoto Gari or any takedown where you “trip” your opponent backwards (including things like Double legs, single legs, high crotches, ankle/knee picks, etc…)
-snap downs, collar/arm drags, climb behinds, etc…
-hip/shoulder/arm throws where you can see where you (both) will land


Pretty much agree with everything here from an SD/LE standpoint, though I could never have said it so well. Lots of ‘bad’ habits in sport grappling when it comes to real world applications. Great info as always Sento.


Thank you very much for the info!

That list of takedowns would do the trick if I find a way to chain/double threat those.

From bodylock (underhooks):
-When they have close hips: Bulldog/backbend
-When that doesn’t work (because they step out of your feet): trip them up (inside/outside)
-When they scoot their hips back: pull them forward to harai goshi

Sounds viable?


All I can do is underline what Sento said.

-Lock your hands low, around the waist. Then use your head/neck to push or like, leverage your opponent. Being tall, you should be able to get good leverage. It is unlikely that you’ll just bear-hug a guy and fold him over, but if you have him around the waist, you have got him in trouble. Keep the pressure on, circle towards his hip, and just like you said, when one technique or going in one direction doesn’t work, you take what’s available. If his feet get too far apart, grab or hook a leg. If he stands up to straight scoop him up and dump him, or trip him. If he leans too far forward attack his head with snapdowns or headlocks.

-Be careful about pulling guys on top of you! I was thinking about the"Body clinch" and “trips” in a very non-specific way. Guy is off balance, so you trip him. But like Sento pointed out, if you kind of hug somebody who is not unbalanced, then sorta flop down you are gonna be in trouble.


Yeah, the straight “Back Bend” takedown can work if done perfectly and quickly enough but a lot of times people will step backwards enough to catch themselves, and you definitely don’t want to get “Salto’d” should they just lock their overhooks in and try to back arch you over should you overcommit and be off balance forwards.

I generally “outside hook”/KoSoto (I guess techniques Gake) their leg while bending them backwards and then walk through them to mount. Done right you shouldn’t ever really need to lose balance or feel out of control.

The only time you generally need more than that is if you are too high with your bodylock and they can power their hips back out of it.

In that case, being really tall I actually wouldn’t suggest a Harai Goshi as it is a hip throw and thus is going to require you to get your hips under your opponent’s (Ashi Garuma maybe, but that’s still going to require very good timing and being that their shorter legs will likely take smaller steps than yours it’s just too high risk for my preference). Tai Otoshi could work too, but depending on how sweaty/“slippery” (which could also include thin flexible people in real world applications who can be hard to hold only and can possibly slide through your grip and thus nullify your takedown attempt) your opponent is you could wind up with them behind you. My vote would be for Ducking Under to the Side/Rear Clinch on the opposite side you attempted to hook/trip using the technique I posted above as it is much lower risk


Sento, if you could, please elaborate on “walking through them to the mount.” This is a big deal. You don’t want to take a guy down, right into his bjj guard, or even worse, stick your head right into a guillotine. You want to “walk through” and work up the body, to stay out of trouble, and get to a dominant position.

Like passing the guard, during the takedown.

You don’t want to leave space for dude to use his skills on you.

If you can’t straight mount him, try to pinch his legs together. Good wrestlers in the UFC take guys down against the cage, pin him to the fence, trap his legs together. Take away all daylight, totally smother them.


Man, there should be a flowsheet 10th Planet JJ-style on this!


Yes, this is one reason why things like Inside trips/Ouchi Gari, Turks, and other wrestling takedowns which are designed to simply hold people on their back/make it hard for them to “belly down” but automatically put you between your opponent’s legs (because someone having you in Guard is a complete non issue in wrestling) are not that great for submission Grappling/MMA/RMA. And yes, you definitely want to be careful of “donating” submissions to your opponent during your takedown attempts. Usually good technique will minimize these risks, but the presence of strikes definitely complicates things.

Of course, it is obviously possible to pass someone’s Guard or Half Guard if you wind up there and it is a critical skill to learn (along with learning how to survive if trapped in that position and fight from there if need be) if you are serious about excelling in Submission Grappling, MMA, or RMA. And there are definitely ways that you can make passing more likely once you hit the ground if you do these types of takedowns. But, if you can get good at takedowns which put you immediately in dominant positions that is a more efficient use of energy.

With the backbend takedown part of what makes the takedown effective is the control of the opponent’s hips and spine. By gluing their hips to you, angling their spine backwards, and pressuring/tripping them backwards you should put yourself into a position where it will be very difficult for them to get their femur between you and them and since you can freely walk your legs forwards to the outside of their legs it should also be difficult for them to get your leg(s) caught between their legs. This makes this takedown a very efficient way to take your opponent down directly into a Mounted position.