Takedowns are probably the singlemost often neglected aspect of grappling for BJJ athletes around the world, but John Danaher has explained in a post on his official Instagram account that there’s more to the standing phase than just taking your opponent to the ground. The first aspect that he goes into detail on is takedown defense, something that’s also neglected given that the vast majority of BJJ competitors don’t need to worry about facing elite wrestlers and when they do, they tend to pull guard instead. But as he says, effective takedown defense will often lead to your opponent exposing their back and if you’re able to secure the position with both hooks, you’ve now turned a situation where you might’ve been two points down, to one where you’re four points up.
John Danaher also includes the element of standing grappling that Judoka and Wrestlers have the most disdain for, guard pulling. While many people see guard pulling as simply a way to avoid the standing phase altogether and start working on the ground, he instead sees it as an opportunity to sweep your opponent immediately and gain top position, along with a two-point lead. Alternatively, a competitor might choose to pull guard immediately into a submission attempt or better yet, try one of a number of standing or flying submissions instead.
There’s also the inverse of that, defending the guard pull. Danaher mentions this briefly, that the moment your opponent pulls guard is an opportunity for you to initiate your guard passing game immediately. This is similar to takedown defense where you would be turning the tide of battle and in a second, going from potentially down on points to winning the match instead. It’s interesting then that despite Danaher’s in-depth look into the standing phase, the only three techniques that he bans in his gym are all actually standing grappling techniques.
For those of you struggling with how to learn the standing phase of grappling, John Danaher has previously explained his handy trick to speed up learning takedowns.