High Efficiency & Low Risk Takedowns: The Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi

04.04.2022 by

In general, there are very few takedowns which are both highly effective and low risk. Possibly the single-leg takedown? But what if you want to branch out? Well, the good news is the Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi is easy to learn, highly effective, and low risk Judo takedown for BJJ!

I promise, saying this technique’s name is the hardest part of the move!

Understanding The Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi

This technique has been around since the beginning of Judo and Jiu Jitsu, and has been put to use by famous BJJ athletes, including Roberto Cyborg.

Judo athletes use this attack directly or fake it from other techniques.

The Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi in Judo

This technique is basically a foot sweep, where you step outside and trip your opponent with your foot in combination with the momentum generated with your upper body and transmitted via your grips.

How to use the Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi Takedown in BJJ

The most important thing that you have to do to make this technique work is to create momentum. By this, I mean that you have to create motion in order to make your partner move  to where you want them to be. To achieve this, you need to have really good grips – at the collar and elbow. 

The success of the technique depends on these grips as they are essential for generating the motion you’ll need.

Kumi Kata: Fight for your grips

First of all you need to establish your grips, or as it’s called in Judo: kumi kata. Remember, fighting for your grips is not like catching flies with your bare hands. Whenever you are establishing your grips, you need to defend at the same time; keep in mind that every time you are trying to make a grip, you need to focus on where you want to grab. 

For this takedown the collar grip is the most important, with this grip you are going to be able to lead the pace of the match and control your opponent’s body. A strong collar grip will let you go for this takedown among others, while simultaneously preventing many of your opponent’s attacks.

Now, your free hand defends you from your opponent’s attempts to establish his or her grips; this will give the opportunity to establish the elbow or sleeve grip if you prefer. 

With the elbow/sleeve grip you must be able to control your opponent’s arm and at the same time stop their attempts to establish grips. 

The Setup: Create momentum.

This step is like dancing with you serving as the lead. You need to be able to move your partner in the way you want them to go. Before we continue with this topic remember:

  • This is only possible if you are controlling the grips
  • The footwork (tai sabaki) on the mat is not like walking on the streets, you can’t lose your balance. Watch this video to understand the basic concept.
  • Try to make circular moves as much as you can while being unpredictable; change direction every time you can.
  • Never cross your legs. If you do this, you will end up on the mats sooner than you expected it!
  • Avoid changing your level – if you change your level repeatedly, your opponent will start to understand the way you move and be able to take advantage of your level change. This will make it much easier for them to shoot in for a take-down attempt or initiate a trip.

Now that we understand these basic concepts, it’s time to put that to work.

Try to imagine yourself leading the dance, every time that you pull with the collar grip you are creating momentum. By this, I mean you are making your opponent step forward as they attempt to avoid losing their balance.

As they lift their foot to take the step, that is the perfect moment to go for the Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi.

The Throw. 

Once we have everything ready, the grips and the momentum, we’re ready to finish the sasae tsurikomi ashi.

Let’s do it step-by-step

  1. Step in the middle of your opponent’s legs with the same side leg as your collar grip, this is going to be your attacking leg.
  2. Step outside by the elbow grip and keep pulling as hard as you can by the collar grip. Now your base should be on the leg by the elbow grip. 
  3. Block with your attacking leg, specifically with your instep, placing your foot against your opponent’s leg at the middle of their shin-bone as soon as they try to step forward.
  4. Now pull as hard as you can with both of your hands, in a circular motion, like turning the wheel of a bus. 

Important Tip: Never lose your grips once you have them! Imagine that you did all of this and your opponent escapes because you lose them. Terrible, right?!

The Follow Through

Now is the fun part, your opponent just landed on the mat in an impressive way, and if you landed on them, it is the beginning of the end. It is really hard to recover after this throw.

In Judo the fight is over, but in BJJ we continue from here. Typically, this throw will drop you i nto side control where you’ll have a great chance to mount; in the worst case scenario, you still have one of his arms and perfect timing for an armbar.

Right now everything is depending on your skills and how good you are controlling from the top position. Keep in mind the following steps and probably you will succeed:

  • Remember the basics!
  • Don’t rush, take your time to move from one position to the next.
  • Make your opponent as uncomfortable as you can. 
  • Focus on where and how your opponent is moving. It’s impossible to control all your opponent’s body at the same time.
  • Right now, you are probably up in points and are on top. Use this advantage wisely.

No-Gi Variations

The sasae tsurikomi ashi is really common in the no-gi, and is even seen in sports such as Muay Thai.

In order to use this in no-gi, first remember this technique depends on your grips: either you have the clinch, underhooks or overhooks or a mix of these grips.

Here are three no-gi variations to try:

A Highly Effective Judo Takedown for BJJ

The sasae tsurikomi ashi is a really good option for those who want to add a low-risk, high reward takedowns to their arsenal.

Even if you do it wrong or hesitate while you are doing it, you will have the time to reestablish your position again. If you have strong grips, you will be able to shut down wrestling based takedowns and make Judo counters difficult.

Just like any technique, you’ll need to drill this in order to develop timing and confidence. Once you’ve added it to your game, you will have another good option into your take down repertoire.