I kinda started thinking about this subject when I came across a thread about how to defend a guard slam.
My question is for anyone out there who's a regular competitor. Do you hold on to closed guard for dear life, constantly breaking your opponents posture and refusing to open unless he forces it, or are you more willing to open and try new things if your closed guard isnt working?
I've see many people (most in fact) in BJJ competition that will never open their guard willingly. Their opponent may posture all he wants, and they'll work on constantly breaking his base and going back to the collar choke or armbar that they just dont seem quite good enough to get
I saw it in a tournament in Virginia Beach when two brown belts went at it- the other looked like he was holding on to guard for dear life (thats what it looks like anyways) and was able to get an advantage. With about 15 seconds left in the match, guy in the guard manages to break and he passes so fast to cross side, but his opponent turns and gives up a back mount- less than 3 seconds were left in the match, so natrually he didnt get points and was unable to come from behind- I thought it was a cheesy ass win.
Now, dont get me wrong, in terms of strategy, keeping your guard closed is intelligent, because your opponent cant attack you or mount any kind of offense if he cant open your guard- I just think that its kinda lame. For as much **** as people give wrestlers and top players in jiu jitsu who have a tendency to stall, this is the guard players version of stalling out a match in my opinion.
These same people are often the ones that brag about how hard it is to pass their guard or that no one can. I've got quite a good guard game, but what I pride myself in is my hip position- its not so much that no one can pass my guard, but rather that Im good at my escapes from cross side, which I believe to be more important.
(Quick story: one of my instructors from Brazil told me of a friend who used to brag about how no one could pass his guard, and he was right- my friend said he never saw anyone pass his guard. One tournament, however, his opponent got a beautiful takedown and landed cross side on him- needless to say, since no one ever passed his guard, he never worked his cross side escapes and was stuck underneath the guy for the entire match)
I dont like fighting that way- I like to finish my opponents in all my matches- I can be up by 10 or down by 1 and Im still going to fight to submit my opponent. Since some people will natrually have different skills than others (some may have good base, making them hard to sweep, others are hard to triangle, some have great back defense) I believe in trying a few of your tricks, and if hes not falling for it, switch it up to something else. By doing so, you can often set your opponent up for the first thing you were unsuccessfully trying to get him with (i.e. you might be insisting on a triangle but he defends too well- so you switch to a sweep, almost get it, but he defends- and opens himself up for a triangle choke in the process).