As beautiful, artistic, and deadly as Jiu-Jitsu can be, an often neglected area of the sport has been the stand up portion. Whether it's due to academies worrying about safety and loss of revenue due to unwanted injuries or just pure laziness. The sport and the art as a whole has neglected this field, practitioners at the highest level will avoid the area altogether and just pull guard at competitions. While most rule structures obviously allows for it, it doesn't mean that this area of the game should continue to be neglected.
At the end of the day, you will fight how you train. People will argue that their game is fine, they just choose to play off the guard pull. The issue is that if your muscle memory is so set in pulling guard and in playing from bottom, it will not feel natural when you're forced to do something different when the need arises. A great example of this is when an instructor forces a specific rule set drills, like first take down wins the drill for example. You can look around the room and see all the wide eyed students.
I don't say this to make any one feel bad. Honestly, this didn't become an area of study for me up until about Brown Belt. It was something that I had to study on my own. My approach on the subject was to keep things simple, keep the risk at a minimum, and keep myself as safe as possible.
While there are plenty of techniques to choose from, theses are some of my favorites for students who want to begin to feel comfortable doing some standup.
Body Lock Takedown
Body Lock Takedown by Tim Kennedy
Arm Drag to Inside Trip
This is one of my favorites. The reason I like it so much is that it's based off of the arm drag technique that I already do from Butterfly Guard. So when I was taught this takedown, I found some quick success off of it. This is not a simple technique to learn, there's quite a bit happening at one time, so it's going to require some practice and timing.
Arm Drag to Inside Trip by Andre Galvao
Single leg is probably one of the most common takedowns. While on the more simpler side, it's not easy. The advantage of this takedown is that it can also be a go to from the bottom, working your way up to the standing position, then hitting the takedown.
The Merge and The Single Leg
Jiu-Jitsu Double Leg
What makes this technique so good is the fact that it can be simplified. It's pretty basic and issued off the most common grips that you encounter in Jiu-Jitsu. The initial pull almost freezes the opponent just enough to get under and to the legs.
Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida's Double
The ankle pick has been something I've been using for the last few years. There's a low risk and high reward aspect to this takedown that I absolutely love. Typically when this fails, I can go for the other leg, go to my but and play guard, or just stand back up and begin everything all over again.
Mike Trasso's review of Fellipe Andrew's Ankle Pick
Dynamic Guard Pull/Tomeo Nage
I'm a massive fan of this specific style of guard pulling. Generally speaking, you often see practitioners standing in a static position and lifting their leg to hit the pull. There's really nothing about this version that keeps your opponent busy. Because of this, opponents have the ability to counter or initiate guard passes relatively quick.
This version of a guard pull actually forces the opponent to react both physically and mentally. If you initiate this pull with enough momentum, you can actually pull them right into the Yoko Tomeo Nage throw. The best part of all this, if you fail to take them over for the throw, you have the guard pull that you probably wanted anyway.
Keenan Cornelius' Dynamic Guard Pull
Shintaro Higashi's Tomoe Nage
Great option to the dynamic guard pull.
If you want to feel remotely comfortable doing stand up, devote some time to studying it. Find time to rep the techniques of your choice and force yourself to attempt them when the opportunity arises, and most importantly, commit to the technique with a certain level of confidence.