Stop your guard getting passed! Inside Secrets of great guard players!

Having a great guard is so important in Jiu jitsu. It gives you confidence to play against bigger, stronger and more powerful opponents by utilising your legs and hips as a great equalizer! Developing a solid guard that’s tough to pass revolves around a few key principles such as:

-Breaking your opponent’s posture

-Establishing and maintaining dominant grips or tie ups

-Controlling your opponent’s balance and placement of weight

-Undersatnding the 4 key components of a good guard (Sweeps, Submissions, Ability to get back to your feet and Damage control)

-Setting up your opponent and creating confusion!

-Developing a solid base of movements from each guard and understanding when to transition to the next position or if necessary, escape!

For this article we’ll focus on defense, maintaining and replacing your guard. When playing guard it is important to understand the various guard positions such as closed guard, butterfly/seated guard, half guard, and other open guard positions. You must develop a familiarity with the basic submissions and sweeps available from each as well as the limitations and vulnerabilities of each type of guard.

For example, the half guard is more vulnerable against leg locks than the butterfly/seated guard. However the butterfly/seated guard becomes a lot more limited if your opponent is able to force you flat onto your back, in the sense that it will be a lot easier for him to either pass into your half guard or possibly pass altogether! So with the intro out of the way I will share a few key principles that should help make your guard a lot harder to pass!

1st Principle: Always try and face your opponent! If you can keep his centreline in front of yours, he will have the furthest possible distance to travel to pass your guard and establish side control. If your opponent begins to pass your guard and starts getting a good angle towards one side, one of the first things that you should do is look to square up to him again by either moving your body back or escaping your hips and  repositioning him straight in front of you (you do not want your opponent perpendicular to you or he only has a small way to go to pass!). Disrupt their passing attempt at every opportunity, try and create an angle where they have to change-up their attack and possibly go to the other side!

2nd Principle: Understand the importance of head control! Do not EVER let your opponent control your head! There’s an old adage “where the head goes, the body follows” and it is so true in Jiu jitsu. If your opponent is able to secure a cross face, it will greatly increase their chances of passing your guard as you will be limited in your ability to move your body and hips to defend! Fight tooth and nail to not let your opponent get the cross face! Another way to use the principle of head control is to use it against your opponent as they are trying to pass your guard .If your opponent is passing your guard to your left then generally if you push their head to that side you are able to thwart their pass or at least force them to move and reposition themselves before continuing. Below legendary Jiu jitsu fighter Demian Maia does a great job of explaining the first two concepts!

Principle 3: Keep your hips and legs MOBILE! You absolutely must develop good hip and leg movement, it is critical to good guard work! Learn to use your feet, legs and hips just like you use your hands, strive for that level of dexterity with your lower body limbs! Do not allow your opponent to control and shut down your legs and hips. If your opponent is able to control your legs and hips then he is most likely only moments away from passing your guard! MOVE, escape your hips, use your feet to control the distance to one where you are comfortable playing and that gives you options and plenty of time to react. Put as many blocks as possible (such as your  feet, knees, arms etc) up in front your opponent so that he has to change directions and technique when attempting to pass! If your opponent is able to gain some control over your legs, ensure that you are still able to move your hips and keep your knees free or at least free them. as your knees are often one of your last lines of defense from getting your guard passed!

Principle 4: Understand when a position is lost and when to transition! When playing various guards it is important to know when you have control, when you are losing control and when it is time to transition to a different guard position or escape. For example when playing closed guard it is important to realise when your opponent begins to gain control and is about to open your guard. It’s much better to open your guard on your terms and transition into one of the various open guard styles than have your opponent bust open your legs in good position to pass. You must develop a thorough understanding of the limits of each guard, how to seemlessly transition to another more favourable guard position and sometimes when to begin pre-empting your escape to recover and replace your guard! When playing guard there’s a point of no return when your opponent has got past your legs and is about to lock down your head and body to solidify his pass and establish good position. This is your time to escape your hips, move, roll, go to your knees and/or replace your guard, BEFORE your opponent has shut down your defense and locked in his position! If you learn how to transition to various guard types and when to transition into your escapes your guard defense and retention will go through the roof!

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!

Felipe

Jiu jitsu Kingdom

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4 Responses to “Stop your guard getting passed! Inside Secrets of great guard players!”

  1. Twitter Trackbacks for Stop your guard getting passed! Inside Secrets of great guard players! « Jiujitsukingdom's Blog [jiujitsukingdom.wordpress.com] on Topsy.com Says:

    […] Stop your guard getting passed! Inside Secrets of great guard players! « Jiujitsukingdom's Blog jiujitsukingdom.wordpress.com/2009/10/26/stop-your-guard-getting-passed-inside-secrets-of-great-guard-players – view page – cached Having a great guard is so important in Jiu jitsu. It gives you confidence to play against bigger, stronger and more powerful opponents by utilising your legs and hips as a great equalizer!… (Read more)Having a great guard is so important in Jiu jitsu. It gives you confidence to play against bigger, stronger and more powerful opponents by utilising your legs and hips as a great equalizer! Developing a solid guard that’s tough to pass revolves around a few key principles such as: (Read less) — From the page […]

  2. jiujitsukingdom Says:

    Not sure exactly how this twitter thing works but I guess I’ll learn soon enough!
    Kind Regards
    Felipe

  3. andy elliott Says:

    Great article.
    Wondered if you had any advice on positioning once the guard has been passed.

    I play rubber guard quite well but it can be difficult to pull off submissions on experianced guys who stack it or keep their head very tight to my chest.

    When playing for sweeps my legs will often get passed & I regularly get my back taken.

    Do you have any tips on positiong of hips, body & arms once passed.

    Thanks

    Andy

    • jiujitsukingdom Says:

      Hi Andy, my apologies for taking so long to reply. My baby by Hunter has been taking up a lot of my time! 🙂 Although I am no expert on the rubber guard in my experience the most important thing to do when an opponent pins his head to your chest tightly in to really aggresively work for the zombie and get that overhook to give you good attacking position, also keep your other foot on your opponent’s hip!
      As for getting passed and giving up your back when going for sweeps, it is important to develop the ability to replace the guard with what I call one leg save another and also learning to roll up onto your shoulders and roll back to guard. As for body positioning when past, check out the latest video I posted by Fabio Gurgel!
      Kind Regards
      Felipe

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