Posted By: Rob-Kassy
Posted On: 13 Oct, 2021

Debate Between Takedowns vs. Pulling Guard

In the Jiu Jitsu world, there are few debates that polarize practitioners more than the idea of the takedown vs. pulling guard as being the “best” or most effective method of winning a Jiu Jitsu match. While both are integral and essential components of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, there are differing schools of thought on which approach is best between them.

The essence of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is grappling. And while some grappling techniques can be employed in the standing position, most of the action occurs on the ground. The debate arises from the most effective method of achieving advantage on the ground that will result in points or a submission.

Strategy vs. Tactics– In the treatise “The Art of War” ancient Chinese military commander Sun Tzu is credited with identifying key principles of warfare, and the thinking and techniques required to secure a decisive victory. While differing in specific techniques, many of the core principles apply directly to the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). One primary concept that has influenced BJJ is the idea of conserving strength to attack a stronger opponent’s weaknesses. This applies to the manipulations, throws, locks, and chokes that have proven effective, and are achieved through trained skill, planning, and opportunity. Tzu also recognized the need to end a conflict quickly through decisive action.

This is where the concentrated application of specific techniques comes into play. The philosophy behind these concepts is to think strategically, and act tactically. Poor strategic thinking can result in poor application of tactics. Conversely, even with a sound strategic position, faulty tactics can result in failure.

While some players may have an advantage in prior training in wrestling or Judo which would require specific adjustments in application, there are advantages and weaknesses in each.   

The Takedown– The takedown in BJJ is an offensive action taken to bring an opponent to the ground. There are distinct advantages to a proper takedown. Those with a background in Judo may have an advantage in a takedown.

Points– In a tournament setting a successful takedown can result in two points for the initiator.

Position– A successful takedown can place the initiator in an advantageous position to mount an opponent and apply a technique or attack a vulnerability for points or a submission.

Mindset– An aggressive entry can set the tone for a match and place an opponent in a defensive position, causing them to react to the takedown. This can create momentum that can be used as an advantage.

The Guard– While regarded by some as being too passive, “Pulling Guard” in BJJ has been a proven method for countering an opponent’s actions and placing them in a position where the person pulling guard can employ transitional techniques such as joint locks or manipulations. Those with a background in wrestling may be more comfortable in the guard position.

Energy Conservation– In a tournament setting where fighters may engage in several bouts in one day, energy conservation is important.

Resetting the Match– The guard position provides an opportunity to slow the pace of a match to where the guard position denies an opponent many of their offensive tools, and can create openings for the person in the guard position to attack a vulnerability exposed by a careless offensive move.

Learning Opportunity– By pulling guard, a fighter has time to assess their opponent’s strengths and vulnerabilities. This is also a good place for a new BJJ player to learn more about the intricacies of BJJ.

Each of the approaches have their place in BJJ. One is useless without the other. Success depends on each player’s individual skill level and talents. Find your place on the mat and begin your journey in BJJ with the experienced staff at Breakaway Jiu Jitsu in Newport News, VA. Please contact us today at (757) 223-0373.