How necessary is 'keeping hands low' to defend takedowns?


Sep 25, 2010
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With regards to JDS/Cain. Yeah JDS keeps his hands low anyway but I've some say it's to avoid takedowns, it's obvious that it helps but Junior has excellent TDD so why do guys like Aldo and GSP stuff takedowns but still can keep their hands up high?

There are so many factors.
I think that it depends on the opponent as much as the fighter himself.
Just looking at Royce Gracie in the early UFC fights, he always had that high awkward measuring stance. Since he had no worries being taken down and fighting off of his back.

JDS and Chuck seem to like to have their hands fairly low and wide.

There are just so many factors
Depends on how worried you are about getting hit in the face.
It varies from fighter to fighter. Good head movement can help as well since the fighter doesn't have to worry about deflecting punches and can avoid them instead
If the guy has a really fast shot you might want the hands as close to ready for it as possible.
It helps with defending TD's for sure, but then you leave yourself open to strikes of course. Except when you're Anderson Silva you can get away with it.
It helps with defending TD's for sure, but then you leave yourself open to strikes of course. Except when you're Anderson Silva you can get away with it.

because he has great movement. JDS does not.
If you leave your hips wide open to be grabbed, what do you think will happen?
Fighting with you hands low is not something that only comes from defending the takedown. Fighters have used a low guard in striking sports in many many years. Where there are no takedowns at all. Its just one of many styles of keeping your hands while fighting. You will see fighters with low guard in boxing and kickboxing also.


There is nothing wrong with using a low guard fighting stance against another striker. But there are some things that need to be there, in order to make it work:

- If you are gonna fight with your hands down, you need head movement to be able to slip the strikes.

- having a good chin is not more important than any other styles (a good chin is always important). But you need to be comfortable enough about being hit, that you can train realistic in the gym, where you get hit. This will help you to understand the art of rolling with punches.

- But most importantly. And this is what many mma fighters with a low guard dont have: if you find yourself in a situation where the other guy are able to hit you with shots, and your low guard defense in not working, you need to be good at other variations of defense in order to block or avoids being hit at will.



For MMA, Anderson Silva is the perfect example to use here. He will fight with a low guard often. But he will make it work because he also got alot of other ways to block a strike. And he is just as good with the head movement as he is with other blocking styles as "crazy monkey" types, or karate like arm blocking.

I saw JDS getting hit over and over again, and not being well training in how to block from a high guard. That cost him the fight IMO..
It's all in the hips. If you have powerful hips, good balance, and overall good strength it will be very difficult to take you down. A good example is the fight between King Mo and Cavalcante.