Top 7 Takedowns for No Gi BJJ

Table of Contents

No gi BJJ is an incredibly fast and dynamic grappling sport that is a bit different than BJJ with a Gi in the fact that grips are much harder to attain and hold due to the fact that there is no gi to hold on to.

This creates for an interesting grappling game that is much “looser” than normal BJJ. 

There have been many major grappling events such as ADCC, EBI, Polaris etc…that have been an amazing showcase of both BJJ’s dominance on the ground and it’s evolution in no gi.

Without a doubt the most interesting aspect of the evolution of no gi is the use of much more wrestling, sambo and judo when standing up (wrestling being the most common due to the fact as it also has no gi or kurtka). 

We see this every single tournament with BJJ pro competitors getting better and better at takedowns and setting up the takedown and this is for good reason, they are all training wrestling or some sort of stand up grappling. Simply watch guys like Buchecha, Rodriguez, Chsiev, Tonon, Cyborg and other top pros using setups, grips and proper wrestling technique to take down opponents and land in a great top position.


Learning Grips and Setups for No Gi BJJ

Every takedown starts off a good grip and setup and it is pivotal for grapplers to understand that getting a proper grip and setup (proper body positioning and timing) is easily 50% of any takedown if not more as without a good grip and setup, the chance of finishing a takedown is very low.

This principle has as much importance in the art of the takedown as the BJJ “position before submission” philosophy has on the ground. So take time to learn and focus on the grips, ties, setups for each takedown, as if you do you are going to be taking down opponents much more effectively.


The Specific Takedowns for No Gi

The following takedowns are all based upon getting a good grip position with most common grips you will find in a no gi scenario, they are all based on placing yourself in the best position possible in the case you fail in your takedown attempt, they all work off the principle that they are high % and not going to endanger you too much in comparison to flashy takedowns that look great on Youtube videos but rarely work in competition.

We will include a grip setup prior to each takedown so you can practice the proper entrance into the takedown.


Russian Tie to Single Leg with Back Trip Finish

It does not look fancy but this takedown works, in fact it works at the highest levels of Olympic wrestling, in MMA and no gi. It is extremely safe in terms of not being at risk of counter submissions and counter throws as well as very easy to perform.

Polish Throw off of Over Under Position

The Polish throw is a very easy throw to accomplish and the best part is it can be done off of 2 very common clinch positions – the over under and the body lock. 

Another factor is when in the over under, you are throwing towards your overhook which is great as the overhook generally is not a favourable position in comparison to the underhook, this means your opponent may not think you will throw to his underhook side thus making it easier for you to get proper position on the throw.

This is an excellent throw as it is very simple and you can land in kesa gatame and in an excellent position to start grappling on the ground.


Slide-By to Take the Back and Takedown

The slide by is excellent in order to move the opponent to the side in order to take the back and if done well the grip you have on the opponent’s head (called the claw in the US) will place your body in excellent position to take the opponent down just using body weight and some directional pressure. The best part is you end up somewhat to the side and behind the opponent and the back take is right there.

Arm Drag to Back Take

This is an excellent takedown that if done correctly, closes off one side of the opponent’s body as you have both their arm and leg thus making it harder for them to create a counter attack. It is high percentage and is best done when the opponent is being lazy with their clinch game. The best part of this is it is easy to recover from a failed attempt as well as if you succeed you are on your opponent’s back – the king ground position in no gi bjj.


Underhook to Knee Pick

Perhaps the most simple takedown that anyone can do, it is very high percentage and it is great to pull off for people who are heavyweights, taller and/or may not be as fast as the competition. Simply attain a proper underhook and when the opponent tries to circle to your open side or step forward with an open side leg you place your free hand on the outside of their knee, push forward on your underhook and drive forward like a bull. Generally the opponent will fall on their side with you being able to take side control and sometimes even the back position.

Underhook to Snap Down to Take the Back

This is an amazing sequence that works at the highest levels of Olympic wrestling and it for sure will work in no gi BJJ. The best part is with the snap down you will be in an excellent position for a guillotine should you not be able to take the back. Taking the back is all about timing here and closing off the opponent’s arm on the side you are moving around on.

Ankle Pick from The Over Tie

This is a great takedown for the fact that it works off the clinch on your over tie hand as well as it is a very safe technique to pull off as if it does not work you simply stand up and back into position. Another element is that when performed correctly, your opponent ends up in a position that is perfect for a leg drag pass.

Final Thoughts

Developing proper upright wrestling for your no gi BJJ game is pivotal in dominating the competition, every single successful competitor is now learning how to wrestle, some even now practicing wrestling 50 percent of their training sessions.

Make sure you are practicing your takedowns as well or you will soon find out you are way behind the pack. The takedowns presented are going to give you a great edge when you are clinching for that ever so important takedown.


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