Is It Really That Bad?

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I got a question from a reader about ankle pick.

In this video, Sensei Seth and Shintaro Higashi ranked various martial arts takedowns.

According to their ranking, ankle pick got “F”… the worst takedown in the ranking.

In essence, the question I got was….

Is ankle pick really that bad because it does seem to work well for BJJ beginners?

For BJJ with gi, I don’t think it’s bad at all. You can hang onto your opponent’s lapel/collar when you make a level change, and even if you fail, you can pull the guard to recover. You can mix it well with a fake guard pull or a collar drag.

Off the top of my head, Gui Mendes used ankle pick effectively in his competition career. Roberto Satoshi Souza used it a lot, if I remember correctly. Oh, and the king of BJJ takedowns that is Jacaré used it, too.

They were all high-level competitors. And it’s fair to say that ankle pick does work in high-level BJJ matches. (It may not be as cool as other spectacular takedowns, but.)

But in a no-gi context, I think it becomes harder to do ankle pick, mostly because you can’t rely on gi.

Or rather, you can’t be lazy about your setup in no-gi, because you will have to hand fight and get good controlling ties. That’d be a more challenging part of executing ankle pick in a no-gi context.

And when you do an ankle pick set up without relying on your opponent’s gi, their knee is much easier to reach. (i.e. Knee pick is easier. I believe Shintaro and Seth made this point, too.)

I don’t think ankle pick is the absolutely worst takedown ever, especially for BJJ. But there are better takedowns you could learn and use than ankle pick when it comes to no-gi.

What are your favorite takedowns in gi and in no-gi? Or do you almost exclusively play the guard?