Grappling and Takedowns—By the Numbers

Interested in takedowns??? Our opinion at Horsetooth…you should be!!!

Regardless of whether you play jiu jitsu, compete in wrestling, or seek to hybridize your style for self-defense or MMA, being able to take opponents from their feet to back is an essential skill.

Actually, if you’ve been following us on social media, you might notice that we believe that dominating the neutral position is THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILL IN GRAPPLING.

We live in the golden age of information, and this is useful if you’d like to be deliberate in your skill development. Two places I’d recommend studying are @grapplingconjecture for jiu jitsu, and @quantwrestling for NCAA wrestling numbers.

The long and short of it for takedowns??? The single leg is king regardless of discipline, both in terms of attempts and total completions. For instance, in ADCC 2022, the single leg accounted for about 40 percent of all attempted takedowns. For the 2019 NCAA championships, it comprised 56 percent of all attacks.

An interesting aside on the single leg between these two tourneys, despite the differences in rule sets. Both ADCC and NCAA athletes had about a 20 percent success rate with this technique. Other takedowns had a higher ROI (like various tie-up attacks), but much more limited attempts. So, although the single leg reigns as king, its throne is built on availability!

One last point about attempts. As a jiu jitsu enthusiast, I’d really like to see its practitioners push the pace more when standing. Note in ADCC 2022—which included 106 grappling matches scheduled for at least 10 minutes each—only ~500 takedowns were attempted during the entire tournament. This despite a rule set created to discourage guard pulling.

I know this is not apples to apples (match length, etc.) but consider the NCAA wrestler’s rate of ~2.5 attacks per minute. Our hypothesis…the emphasis on neutral position and riding an opponent are two big reasons why folkstyle has lapped BJJ in producing MMA champions. But it doesn’t have to be this way!!!

Note the attached clip is of Spencer Lee, who’s 2019 championship single-leg completion rate was an astounding 63 percent!

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