Top BJJ Takedowns for Tall Guys – Tips and Tricks

Top BJJ Takedowns For Lanky Guys

BJJ takedowns for tall guys are one of the biggest challenges for them. You know how complicated takedowns can be against a shorter opponent if you are a tall guy, especially when you are new to the BJJ game.

Even shooting for double legs—one of the first takedowns everyone learns— is difficult because you need to lower your center of gravity to match your training partner’s level. It sucks, I know. ​It’s not as bad as it sounds, though.

There are plenty of excellent BJJ takedowns that will work against the vast majority of opponents, including shorter training partners. Knowing them is crucial if you want to start controlling the flow of the fight and start dominating your opponents.

Here are 10 BJJ takedowns that are useful to know against opponents who are shorter than you:

Top 10 BJJ Takedowns For Tall Guys

These tips come from my personal experience, so you should still try all sorts of takedowns and techniques before deciding what’s best for you. 

Although this post has been written mainly for tall people, anyone with a height disadvantage from smaller guys should be able to improve their BJJ by trying some of the following takedowns. 

1) Uchi Mata

 Uchi Mata is a Judo throw that can be effective against smaller opponents. This move is ideal for a taller BBJ practitioner because you take advantage of your opponent’s lower stance. 

With a grip on his sleeve and his collar, you have control of his posture and his arm. All you have to do is hook one leg and elevate to throw him out of base. Once he has no foundation, it should be easier to lift him up and over your thigh. 

Pros of the Technique

  • It uses your opponent’s posture against him. 
  • This takes advantage of your superior height.

Cons of the Technique

  • You have to be in a dominant position already before you can do the move. 
  • If you attempt the throw and your opponent is standing too upright, you cannot complete the move.

2) Single Leg

A single-leg, takedown can be one of the best BJJ takedowns for tall guys, your goal is to get your opponent off-balance. You do this by maintaining collar control while you drop to wrap your other arm around the leg and get it off the ground. This is easier to do if you have long arms and have some height on the person.

Pros of the Technique

  • This move is versatile. You can use it on either of your opponent’s legs.
  • Single leg takedowns throw your opponent off base. 
  • Smaller opponents are typically faster. When you control one of their legs, they can’t rely on footwork anymore.

Cons of the Technique

  • You are coming in low, which does not take advantage of your height.
  • Your opponent may be able to block your head as you move in for the leg.
  • If your opponent sprawls before you grab their leg, you will be at their mercy.

3) Sumi Gaeshi

Sumi Gaeshi requires you to maintain upper body control over your opponent and also reach for their belt. Once you have control, drop to the floor, pull your opponent with you, and somersault on top.

Once again, long arms are your friend in this situation. It takes a long-armed individual to control your opponent from head to belt. You are taller and more likely to be able to reach over your opponent’s low stance.

Pros of the Technique 

  • Your opponent’s head is lower than yours.
  • There are a lot of setup variations.
  • This move is versatile. There are different ways to counter your opponent as they try to escape.

Cons of the Technique

  • If you don’t execute the move quickly enough, your opponent can easily get their arms around you and throw you.
  • You open yourself up to a single-leg takedown.
  • The roll can be difficult to execute, and you might not land in mount where you need to be.

4) Front Headlock Takedown

The front headlock technique relies on getting head control. Once you have the front headlock, you can easily take your opponent down by snapping your opponent’s head while you bring your legs down in a sprawling type of movement. 

This is an excellent BJJ takedown for tall guys because you can leverage both your height and weight advantage.

Pros of the Technique

  • Every other chokehold begins with a front headlock.
  • You can use a front headlock to get front and side control.
  •  You don’t need to be flexible or strong to do it. 

Cons of the Technique

  • An opponent who manages to stand up in this headlock can throw you off balance.
  • Front headlock requires both of your hands, and your opponent has both hands free.

5) Arm Drag to Back Trip

The arm drag establishes that you control your opponent’s momentum. The trip works in tandem with the drag when you slide into place with a leg hooked around their foot.

This allows you to bring them to the ground. This move utilizes your longer limbs to get your tripping leg beneath them before they realize you’re changing levels. 

Give arm drags a try, they’re one of the best BJJ takedowns for tall guys. You can use your reach advantage in your favor and if you’re fast is common to take your opponent by surprise.

Pros of the Technique

  • Versatility. Once you trip your opponent, you have the option to go in for the pin or get up and keep control of their leg. 

Cons of the Technique

  • Watch your head positioning. Get it wrong, and you could end up in a chokehold.
  • If you choose to sit up after executing the move, do it quickly before your opponent gets hold of you.

6) Greco Roman Clinch Takedowns

In a Greco-Roman clinch, instead of wrapping your arms around your opponent’s chest, you wrap one arm over their shoulder. This works better if you are taller than your opponent.

A takedown from a Greco Roman clinch requires a basic deep lunge step between your opponent’s legs. Longer leg, longer step. Use this to your advantage. 

Pros of the Technique

  • You maintain your base.
  • Throw your opponent off balance without compromising your balance. 

Cons of the Technique

  • Your underhook may quickly become your opponent’s overhook.
  • When you finish the move, your arm may become trapped under your opponent’s.

7) Osoto Gari

In an Osoto Gari takedown, you have to take a big step around your opponent and use your heel to pull their leg out from under them.

This move gets your opponent on the ground while you keep your feet, control his arm and leg, and keep him pinned with a knee. Like the Greco-Roman takedown, this move requires a big step. Perfect for taller BJJ practitioners.

Pros of the Technique

  • Simplicity.
  • You keep your feet while your opponent hits the mat. 

Cons of the Technique

  • You have to get the footwork just right for this move to work.

8) Harai Goshi 

In this technique, if you and your opponent are clinched side-by-side facing the same way, you wrap your inside leg across his legs in the front. When you reap this leg, you send your opponent flying. This is ideal for a taller person because the trip requires a big step.

Pros of the Technique

  • This move gets both of your opponent’s feet off the ground. 
  • Once you’ve executed this takedown, you can quickly go into the side mount.

Cons of the Technique

  • Requires a particular setup.
  • You spend most of the move on one foot, which can throw you off balance.

9) Ankle/Knee Picks

This move works well if you have a long arm and your opponent is either crouched down or smaller in stature. You have to maintain head control while you grab their outside foot and pull them off balance.

Make sure to relinquish head control when they fall so that they can’t catch you and take you with them. 

Pros of the Technique

  • This technique puts your opponent on his back while you stay on your knees. 
  • Having control of one of his feet ensures he can’t get up easily.   

Cons of the Technique

  • If you execute the technique improperly, you may end up in your opponent’s guard or an armbar. 

10) BJJ Foot Sweeps

 A foot sweep is exactly what it sounds like. While grappling, you sweep your opponent’s foot out from under them, causing them to fall backward. Having long legs helps you get around to sweep the leg, even if your opponent is trying to keep their feet out of reach. Some Muay Thai clinch sweeps might work in no-gi too.

Pros of the Technique

  • Very simple to execute.
  • You can sweep either from the inside or outside of the leg.
  • There are a lot of variations to this move.  

Cons of the Technique

  • Your opponent might take you down with them.

Why Is It So Hard For Tall Guys To Do Some BJJ Takedowns?

BJJ Takedowns for Tall Guys

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is accessible to all ages, genders, and body types. No matter who you are, your body type comes with advantages or disadvantages. There are a few reasons why your height can work against you:

Your Momentum Might Be Off sometimes

If you’re small, you tend to have forward momentum. If you’re big, it’s harder to change direction quickly. This means that if you’re a tall person trying to take your opponent down, it’s going to be difficult for you to stop your momentum turn in one direction to complete a takedown.

Your center of gravity is higher

Your center of gravity is higher than a smaller person’s, so you’ll be able to stand up for longer before falling over. However, this means that your center of gravity is farther away from the ground and more easily knocked off balance and twisted out by sudden movements.Long l

Limbs are harder to control

Long limbs are heavier than short ones, which can cause you to lose your balance or miss connecting with an opponent.


The Takeaway
Just because the moves that short or tall BJJ practitioners can do are different, this doesn’t mean they can’t grapple effectively.

Tall Guy BJJ Takedowns Tips and Tricks

Tip # 1

While using long-range techniques, keep your hands up and elbows tight to your body. This is ideal for standing takedowns.

Tip # 2

Utilize your long legs for those takedowns that rely on bringing your opponent to the ground. If you’re already standing, make them take a step back and step forward with your long legs.

Tip # 3

When you execute an ankle pick takedown, keep a tight head position and control their arm, leg, and shoulder in order to ensure you get them on the mat. Control their head first then their leg before they are fully on the mat. Now pin them down.

Tip # 4

Don’t overreach. If you want to grab an arm, don’t reach all the way out and risk falling down. Just get closer and go for it.

Tip #5

Don’t shoot for the legs if you don’t have upper body control in the form of grips on the gi or neck and wrist control in no gi.

Tall Guy BJJ FAQ

IS BJJ FOR TALL GUYS?

Anyone can do Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but your body type determines the kind of fighting style you are best suited for. A 6ft3 person will roll differently than someone who’s 5ft2.

DOES BEING TALL HELP IN BJJ?

If you are a tall BJJ practitioner, your fighting style will involve wrapping your opponent up with your long limbs. You are capable of entanglement moves that smaller practitioners can’t pull off. 

DOES HEIGHT MATTER IN BJJ?

Being tall means that your opponent will probably have a lower center of gravity than you do. This makes them more sturdy and difficult to hold on to. All this means is that you have to find ways to use your height against your opponent. Utilize your longer limbs for leg sweeps and other takedowns that involve taking big steps around your opponent.

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