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BJJ Fanatics Instructionals

The Baiana (Double Leg) Takedown

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Gordon Ryan Guard Passing Instructional

The ‘baiana’, is the name given by Brazilian jiu jitsu practitioners to a takedown move, which is called the ‘double leg’ in wrestling and ‘morote gari’ in judo. The baiana was popularized during the heyday of vale tudo (NHB) in Brazil, by the fighter Waldemar Santana, becoming a synonym of the jiu jitsu style in NHB during the 1950’s and 1960’s period, prior to the inclusion of the ‘sparwl’ to the sport in the 1970’s. The Baiana is performed by grabbing the opponent with both arms around the opponent’s legs (or one arm on waist) while driving forward, and using this momentum to force the opponent to the ground.

The History of the Baiana

This way of taking an opponent to the floor is one of the oldest in the world, being seen all around the planet in some of the most ancient forms of wrestling. In judo, and although it can be seen in old footage of the style, it was only officially added to the list of Kodokan techniques on October 1982, which leads BJJ Heroes to believe that the double leg takedown might have entered Brazilian jiu jitsu through catch as catch can or freestyle wrestlers that often battled jiu jitsu men on the ring during the 1930’s and 1940’s decades.

In jiu jitsu, the double leg was somewhat of a game changer, it fit perfectly into the athletic styles of Carlson Gracie and Waldemar Santana, two men who loved to work from the top position on the ground. It was due to Santana’s prowess with this takedown that the position started being called ‘Baiana’. The reason being that Waldemar’s birthplace was Bahia (Salvador) and Santana was nicknamed Baiano (a native of Bahia), for this reason the jiu jitsu men of the time started calling the takedown ‘Baiana’, the feminine way of saying Baiano as a takedown (queda) in portuguese is a feminine word.

The baiana reigned supreme as the weapon of choice for grapplers around Brazil for two decades before the contact with wrestling during the 1970’s opened competitors eyes to the efficiency of the sprawl, a major breakthrough to stop the success of the double leg, though it still remained as one of the most common takedowns in the sport, especially without the the kimono (No Gi jiu jitsu).

As jiu jitsu opened its horizon towards the US in the mid 2000’s, where wrestling is a major sport, the ‘baiana’ name became sometimes applied to a sloppier version of the double leg, as if to say there were two ways of applying the same technique, the ‘old school’ Brazilian way and the wrestling way. This is not necessarily the truth as many jiu jitsu ‘old schoolers’ were extremely successful against high calibre wrestlers, a perfect example of this would be Ricardo Arona, Paulo Filho or Rickson Gracie.

NOTE: Banner picture taken by Ivan Trindade for GracieMag.

Famous Grapplers Known for Their Use of the Baiana

Baiana Takedown Videos

Waldemar Santana vs Carlson Gracie takedown highlight

Keenan Cornelius vs Murilo Santana

Ricardo Arona, master of the Baiana highlight

Chris Wells baiana instructional

Roberto Jimenez BJJ Attacking The Back


  • The history of the name may be correct but the explanation of the technique, or the video examples, of the "Baiana" take down are not correct. The "Baiana" takedown is performed with your head in the chest of your opponent, just above the stomach, with legs bent in squatted position and back straight (Good Posture). Hands are placed behind your opponents legs, just like the standard double leg, pulling in a sweeping motion out while you drive with your head and shoulder to the ground. This allows for you to land in side control position without your neck in any danger of the guillotine choke as it is in front of you opponent not to the side of him.

  • Carlos says:

    Baiana Takedown… Eu nunca iria saber esse nome, kkk muito foda, tava assistindo o vídeo da luta do Carlson, puta chapa de maluco rapaz… tem que ter coragem.

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