Takedowns. If there is one thing BJJ people love to pretend they didn’t hear it is the task to train and do more takedowns. Well, ok, that and warm-ups. IT is baffling how lazy Jiu-Jitsu people get given the comfort of pulling guard and having multiple perfect stalling options by wrapping lapels around folks Well, it is time to put a stop to it all. And the man to do it is once again Mr. Danaher. The latest John Danaher DVD Review we have for you is of his brand new “Feet To The Floor” series. We start, of course, with Volume 1.
Danaher certainly changed the BJJ world. First, it was leg locks, then his submission heavy No-Gi systems. He quickly followed up with a long series of DVDs covering the fundamentals of BJJ in the Gi. Basically, he is awesome at identifying where the BJJ community lacks precise and in-depth instructions, and then covers everything there is on the subject and does so in style. So far, every John Danaher DVD review has been a story of its own, and that is the case once again with the “Feet To The Floor” Volume 1 instructional. The best part is that it is just the tip of the takedown iceberg!
Fundamental Standing Skills
As a BJJ instructor myself, I have to admit that takedowns are truly a sketchy subject. For people that are involved in grappling, BJJ folks rally do not like putting in the effort to take the fight to the ground. Given that it is a truly essential skill there is a clear vacuum when it comes to material that will help people achieve this goal. While there are many takedown instructionals out there, ones that specifically target throws, trips, and takedowns that have a place in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are not so numerous.
For starters, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu does not have too many takedowns of its own. In fact, it barely has a few, and that’s if we’re counting guard pulling as a means of taking the fight to the ground. That said, the takedowns we use in BJJ are mostly “borrowed” from other grappling martial arts like Judo, Wrestling, and Sambo. There’s a catch though.
While all the takedowns that people do in Judo, Wrestling, and Sambo work perfectly for their respective arts, they are not quite as easy to apply to BJJ. In fact, trying to “copy-paste” a takedown from Judo, for example, will probably land you in more trouble than it will help you achieve the goal of taking a match to the ground.
The john Danaher DVD Review you are about to read will help you see what you can expect to find in what is probably the most in-depth instructional about takedowns for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. “Feet To The Floor” is unlike most things you have seen, even when it comes to Danaher and DDS members’ instructionals. Simply put, it is the holy grail of takedowns for BJJ everyone has been waiting for.
John Danaher DVD Review: Feet To The Floor Volume I
So, you’ve decided to actually learn BJJ takedowns, and you’ve picked a John Danaher DVD to do so. That is probably the best choice you can make on the subject. What you can expect from the “Feet To The Floor” instructional is an in-depth system that covers the basics of takedowns, trips, and throws for BJJ with the Gi. It is important, though, to have realistic expectations.
If you think that by picking up this DVD you’ll be able to throw people around like Judokas, or take them down with the speed and precision of wrestlers you’re sorely mistaken. Apart from actually training full-time in wrestling or Judo, you won’t be able to replicate their throws and takedowns like the athletes from these arts do them. You will, however, get the best possible takedowns system for Gi BJJ.
In this DVD, Danaher will take you step by step through stance, grip fighting, motion, creating off-balance, and positioning. Moving on from the basic principles he covers a bunch of takedown subjects, including but not limited to front takedowns: ankle picks, the double leg, single-leg, knee picks, and rear takedowns. OF course, Danaher will connect everything into a system, and even introduce several special studies of how takedowns work in a competitive setting. That said, take a look at the play-by-play John Danaher DVD review of the “Feet To Floor” DVD.
Part 1 – Stance
Opening up this Danaher DVD instructional is the mandatory introduction where John talks about the ideas that drive the system forward. he lays the building block of the six essential principles behind every successful takedown. He also addresses the crucial subject of criteria for takedown selection for Jiu-Jitsu athletes and creating a standing game plan.
The very first key precursor skill of BJJ takedowns is the stance. Unless you know how to stand firm, you will end up on the ground before you even have the chance to think about a takedown. You can expect a lot of Judo terms (i.e. Japanese terms) in every part of his instructional, and they start in the very first volume. Left and right stances and the differences between them take up a large portion of this volume.
The final part of this part has to do with the introduction of the second key precursor for takedowns: grip fighting. John covers the basics before moving on to dedicate a full volume to the subject, as you’ll see further along in our John Danaher DVD review.
Part 2 – Grip Fighting
Part two of the “Feet to The Floor” John Danaher instructional DVD covers grip fighting. Everything you can think of, and even more that you’ve never thought of about the subject matter is in this volume. When to use a front and arear hand, where to place them, how to grip the Gi, how to grip the limbs and head, and much much more is covered in depth.
Danaher goes so deep that he shares six levels of dominance that have to do with grip fighting, and are all based on establishing good grips, which, of course, is also covered in extreme detail.
The best part of this volume though, are the grip fighting strategies that Danaher covers through clear and precise examples.
Part 3 – Motion, Kuzushi And Position
Motion is one of the most important aspects of takedowns for any sport. Danaher clearly covers how to move with intent, how to integrate movement with grips, and the intriguing puppet principle.
Kuzushi is a principle that has been already covered in pretty much every other John Danaher DVD review – it is the ability to make people lose their balance. In terms of takedowns, it is not just among the five crucial precursors to taking people down. but it may just be the most important of them all.
Finally, there is position as a principle that helps all the other four actually work. John uses it to transition into the more technical aspects of his instructional, looking at teh five minimum technical requirements that are essential to coming good in the standing aspects of grappling.
Part 4- Front Takedowns: Collar Drags
Front takedowns, according to Danaher, include all the takedowns that have you in front of an opponent. The first one that he covers in teh “Feet To Floor” instructional and considers to be the first people should learn is the color drag. He explains the collar drag by going through the 5 prerequisites and spending a hefty amount of time on each, in order to make everything make perfect sense.
Apart from the basic principles of collar drags, John also talks about the disadvantages of collar drags in BJJ. He covers the likes of predictability, attacking off the grip, movement, etc. Of course, he also offers ways to plan for them and get them out of the way.
As this volume nears its end, John also talks about combining the collar drag with other takedowns, mostly Judo-based throws. He ends by exploring what he calls the great relationship between the collar drag, single leg takedown and back takes.
Part 5- Ankle Pick, Double And Single Leg Takedowns
The ankle pick is arguably one of the most efficient takedowns you can use in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, in both Gi and No-Gi. there are plenty of insights into the ankle pick, from conceptual to technical. However, the few that really caught my eye during this John Danaher DVD review are the portion on troubleshooting the ankle pick and the explanation of why grapplers need to develop a strong ankle pick.
In the second portion of part 5 of this instructional, John goes over teh basics of the double and single leg. He does so by uniquely tying together all the most important wrestling mechanics with the needs and goals of BJJ. Since this is a Gi instructional, a lot of the focus is on grip placement, as one of the essential 5 precursors of takedowns.
Part 6- Snap Downs & Rear Takedowns
The snap downs represent the final front takedowns that Danaher covers in the first volume of his “Feet to Floor” series. Despite the snap-down being a mostly wrestling move, Danaher uses a lot of Judo grips and principles to set everything up. For example, he ties in Seoi snaps and Ude Gaeshi perfectly with teh mechanics of the good old wrestling snap-down.
Halfway through this volume Danaher switches his attention from front to rear takedowns, exploring the rear body lock as the best example. Of course, he ties rear and front takedowns demonstrating the first aspect of his takedown system. It will require other takedowns from other volumes, though, to get anywhere near a complete system.
Part 7 – Golden Rules Of Takedowns For Self-Defense
This is a highly interesting volume, particularly given John’s history as an NYC bouncer. He covers takedowns from a self-defense standpoint, which is unique and extremely useful, to say the least. Namely, he shares his thoughts on using them in such a fashion, as well as his golden rules for using takedowns in self-defense scenarios.
The volume wraps up with john covering teh three best takedowns for a self-defense situation. The high single leg, ankle block, and classic Tai Otoshi are the ones that get his stamp of approval.
Part 8 – Specials
As we near the end of our John Danaher DVD review of his latest “Feet To Floor” instructional, all that is left is the final part that contains special chapters. One of them is a special study of the use of the single leg takedown in Jiu-Jitsu. Another is the arm drag, and its role as the best method of getting behind an opponent and/or entering into takedowns.
The impact of clothing in takedowns for self-defense as well as the SVG theory are the two chapters that bring the first volume of this highly interesting and informative John Danaher DVD set to a close.
Despite knowing what to expect to a certain extent, every John Danaher DVD Review ends up being quite a unique experience. Apart from watching more than 10 hours of material to give you our opinion on the “Feet To The Floor” Volume 1 instructional, there are no drawbacks, really, to this particular DVD. It is a great way of starting to see takedowns from a different perspective, and finally, include them into everyday BJJ training like you would any other technique.