Join Date: May 2006
Location: New York City, New York
Beating the Judo Throw
Generally, I consider myself a pretty explosive, well rounded grappler, but if any part of my grappling game needs work, it's my takedowns.
I should preface this by saying that great judo guys are very good fighters, and it's important to acknowledge that sometimes a guy with better judo is going to throw you and you have to be prepared to take the punishment. There's definitely going to be a time when you get caught and, just like with a punch, you've got to be prepared to roll with it and keep going.
I have a few training partners that have much, much better judo than I do, and while I work very well from a Roman Greco clinch (or even a double-underhook clinch), I have alot of trouble getting in on those guys, because they know to back up and catch an arm. I'm also very wary of my shots.
I was working with one of them today and I decided to try something new.
Instead of looking for a takedown or even putting myself at risk for a slam by pulling guard, I closed the distance, reached for a clinch and let my knees hit the ground.
I know that the first thing that comes to the mind of the experienced grappler (especially those wrestlers out there) is that this is a terrible idea, because it gives your opponent the chance to get on top.
This position, which I'll call a half-shot (because that's what it is, for all intents and purposes), gives you the position to, if your opponent backs away, shoot for a leg, or, if your opponent engages, pull guard or half guard, and actually sets up an awesome backdoor style sweep from half-guard (one that is very popular with Jeff Monson and a bunch of lighter weight grappling guys).
Hitting the knees doesn't put you at risk for getting sprawled on as long as you maintain your distance, but it does prevent the throw opportunity by really dropping your center of gravity. As far as an application in MMA, the thought is much more simple, because it has to be if you are going to utilize it while trying to not get punched in the face.
That thought is that if your opponent does decide to strike, they will leave their legs open, and since they can't punch straight from the groin, as they would be required to do in order to protect their legs, it sets up an easy, explosive double leg or, if you're more of a wizzer guy (like I am), a good side wizzer.
In terms of gi grappling, just make sure that you are not engaged in a judo clinch when you try to do this, and work quickly for the legs, as that will be where you probably catch your opponent.
Just general thoughts on takedown defense, but remember that it's not all about getting to the top right away with this move. It also sets up a nice set of submissions, including a spinning kneebar/toehold and a calf slicer.
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