Judo Throws for BJJ

Last weekend I was at a fabulous women and girls judo training camp in Kendle getting thoroughly thrown and put through my paces by my own coach Sophie Cox! It was a great experience and although I got thoroughly pushed outside my comfort zone. It also means that I also now have a healthy to do list for my takedown development!

Unsurprisingly It also got me thinking about Judo for BJJ (again!). One of the frequent questions I see on the internet and occasionally get asked in the gym is what are the best Judo throw for BJJ? Most of the information on the internet is based very much around personal opinion and whilst my best throws may work for me it doesn’t mean everyone should learn them and put them into their game. Plus let’s be honest I’d prefer it if they didn’t! So with the help of BJJ Heroes I thought I’d take a more factual approach.

BJJ Heroes have actually done a factual breakdown of how fights were won and lost in the male black belt divisions of the IBJJF World Championships. Whilst it’s not an extensive data set it does give a rough breakdown of what is working or trendy at the top level. Now the 2015 one didn’t give any takedown data but the 2016 one does look into it more closely so I will basing my data around that.

Firstly the bad news. Takedowns aren’t necessarily king in the modern sport BJJ game. There were 33 double guard pulls compared to 32 takedowns. But before you say “that’s pretty 50/50” 13 of the takedowns scored came from af failed guard pull attempt (double leg, single leg or ankle pick) and remember some of those will be a case of simply having hold of the pants leg before the foot left the floor. So in reality only 19 genuine takedowns took place (30%) so you could argue there is actually a case for skipping this whole article and focusing on your guard pulls and sweeps!

But for those of you sticking with me which takedowns worked? The stats from BJJ Heroes

 Type of Takedown  Numbers
Sweep single leg  9
Double leg  2
 Snap/Shake down  2
High crotch  1
 Double leg from failed guard pull  6
 Single leg from failed guard pull  1
 Anke pick from failed guard pull  6
 Drop Seoi Nage  2
Standing Seoi Nage  1
 Deashi Harai (foot sweep)  1
Kata guruma  1

You could easily argue that the wrestling style dominates the mosts with over 80% of the takedowns arguably being that style. I use the phrase arguably as whilst leg grabbing isn’t legal in Olympic Judo it used to be very much part of the game with many of the “older” practitioners (“older” as in old school as often they are still younger than me!) and freestyle judo practitioners being more than capable of high quality ankle picks and leg attacks.

So based on the remaining data here are the 3 judo style takedowns that based on the evidence might be worth exploring for your BJJ game:-

Foot Sweep
The article refers to Deashi Harai but it’s actually more commonly known (at least in the UK) as de-ash- barai. This is a must learn move not just as a takedown in its own right. It’s a really useful way to get your opponent off balance enabling it not just to be a takedown but also a setup for a host of other moves including ankle picks and single legs.

Kata Guruma
You may have also heard of this as the fireman’s carry. To me this is a slightly surprising entry but then again it is effective from the knees as well as from the feet and is also a common wrestling technique too. It seems to be popular in the heavier weight divisions (think Yuri Simoes and Bernardo Faria)

Seoi Nage
This was the top judo throw in this year’s statistics but I’ll be honest it is not one of my favourites. In fact I pretty much moan every time I practise it! But I’m persevering with it simply due to it’s high level success in BJJ. Both standing and drop seoi nage variations were used at the world’s. But the articles doesn’t give any details on the grip variations. I am guessing that it will have been morote seoi nage that was the most common version due to the control it gives you as the attacker. However for more details on seoi nage my Judo Coach Sophie Cox has done a great video tutorial on the throw.

A huge thank you to BJJ Heroes for providing the statistics that shaped this article and I hope you’ve found its give you some useful ideas for your training and drilling. But feel free to get in touch if there is a throw your suprised not to see make the list!


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