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  1. #1
    Jack Rusher's Avatar
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    Learning Guard: recommended progression?

    EDIT: In response to something VF says below, the intent of this thread isn't "how do guard," but "how do progressive training regime for guard." I can get precise technical feedback at my academy. This thread is meant to help me figure out what to ask because I've noticed that I get better answers when I ask more informed questions.

    ---

    I am a living, breathing cliché: the former wrestler who spent his first day at BJJ pinning white and blue belts in side control, then holding them there wondering "how do submission?" And, of course, whenever I ended up on the bottom I'd either bridge out of it (if on my back) or duck walk up to my feet (if he tried to take my back). Things have improved a bit, but my game has remained entirely topside.

    My coach recently said (imagine Marcelo's smiling face and Portuguese accent), "okay, Jack, I see you escape -- it's GOOD to escape -- but now you must stop to escape and learn fight from bottom." He went on to tell me he was the same coming from Judo when he started, that he understands it's hard at first, but that I must start pulling guard and figure out how to make it work.

    My question for you guys: what is the recommended progression for learning to play guard? Which are the bread and butter techniques, which drills should a guard n00b concentrate on first, and so forth. I want to make the foundations from which to become as technical as possible in the future, and I am a very patient and determined dude.

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Jack Rusher; 11/16/2007 11:50am at .
    “Most people do not do, but take refuge in theory and talk, thinking that they will become good in this way” -- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, II.4

  2. #2
    PointyShinyBurn's Avatar
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    Personally, I first learned to snatch half guard from all over the place. Then a couple of sweeps from there (climbing on the back and the old school being the most vital IMHO). Then how to threaten those to get to closed guard and sit up for the hip bump/kimura/guillotine. Then how to lie back down with him/break his posture and try for the omoplata, armbar and scissor sweep (you should also be able to triangle people here, though I can't). That's as far as I've got.

    Mind you, since I still suck and don't have a working open guard, YMMV.

  3. #3
    ViciousFlamingo's Avatar
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    I don't know how long a "how-do guard" thread is going to live in DHS, but here is a list of closed guard techniques based off stuff other, much more knowledgeable grapplers have posted and my own notes. I use it all the time, as a semi-complete list of basics to work on from the bottom of closed guard. I'm sure some better grapplers will come along soon to add on to this list or tell me to **** off, but I'll just put it out there.

    Sweeps when he kneels
    • Scissor sweep
    • Sit-up sweep
    • Pendulum sweep
    • Push sweep
    • Hook sweep
    Sweeps when he stands up
    • Hip push/leg underhook sweep
    • Handstand sweep
    Taking the back
    • Armdrag
    • Duck under and climb
    Submissions
    • Armbar
    • Triangle
    • Omoplata
    • Kimura
    • Guillotine
    • Cross-collar choke (gi-only)
    • Arm triangle
    Breaking posture
    • Knee pulls
    • Sitting up and pulling him down
    • Getting his hands off your torso and onto the floor
    • Pulling his elbows out to the side
    • Breaking your opponent's grips on your gi
    • Using ties to control your opponent - underhook, overhook, collar tie, wrist control, leg underhook
    • Using gi grips to control your opponent - wrist, elbow, same-side collar, cross-collar
    • Walking your legs up to high guard
    Other
    • Bailing to open guard
    A few suggested combinations for drilling:
    armbar/triangle/omoplata/pendulum sweep
    kimura/guillotine/sit-up sweep
    scissor sweep/cross choke/sit-up sweep/scissor sweep

    Breaking posture is the requirement for anything to work in closed guard. Keep your hips moving and never have a passive moment - like with everything else, always be imposing your game on him, rather than the other way around. As always, throw attacks in combination, rather than one at a time.

    If you're coming from a wrestling background, you should be mindful to work on your guard, and not bail out to your knees when things start going a little south in training. While you'll get passed more at first, your defense will improve more for it later.

    That being said...you're training under the best grappler in the world, dude. I'm pretty sure he can give you a hand with your guard work.
    Last edited by ViciousFlamingo; 11/16/2007 10:44am at .

  4. #4
    Jack Rusher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ViciousFlamingo
    [ ... bunch of helpful stuff ... ]
    Thanks! That was just the sort of thing I was hoping for.

    Quote Originally Posted by ViciousFlamingo
    That being said...you're training under the best grappler in the world, dude. I'm pretty sure he can give you a hand with your guard work.
    The academy is set up in a funny way. There are no beginning/intermediate/advanced classes or anything, it's just everyone together training the Move of the Day, then rolling. This is, in many ways, awesome. For instance, I get thrown into the shark tank with nationally ranked purples and browns at every class, which is fantastic experience. OTOH, we have not during my time there drilled a simple armbar or triangle. This leads me to feel like I'm starting in the middle, lacking foundational basics that would help my game enormously.

    Also, Marcelo's technical insight in incredible, but his answer to my general question of where to start with the guard is essentially "roll every day, pull guard, try things." Of course I'll do that, but I wanted to have some ideas for things to try. :smile:
    “Most people do not do, but take refuge in theory and talk, thinking that they will become good in this way” -- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, II.4

  5. #5

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    Corner a bored looking purple or brown before or after class and ask him to teach you something basic. If you haven't really learned basic guard sweeps, let alone the armbar or triangle, you *need* to fix that and it's not like you need Marcelo to teach you those himself.

  6. #6

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    Even before subs/sweeps, I would recommend getting used to;

    Recovering to closed guard from any bottom position. So give up full mount/side mount and then work back to your guard.

    Breaking posture. Once they're in your closed guard, keep them broken down and off balance. Loads of ways to do this; head and arm control, pull on both arms at the elbows, crunch your knees to your chest, combinations of these etc...

    Protecting against the pass. Let people open and start to pass your guard, then work to get back to full guard before they obtain a dominant position.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobT
    Even before subs/sweeps, I would recommend getting used to;

    Recovering to closed guard from any bottom position. So give up full mount/side mount and then work back to your guard.

    Breaking posture. Once they're in your closed guard, keep them broken down and off balance. Loads of ways to do this; head and arm control, pull on both arms at the elbows, crunch your knees to your chest, combinations of these etc...

    Protecting against the pass. Let people open and start to pass your guard, then work to get back to full guard before they obtain a dominant position.
    ^^ what he said

    It's no good finally learning how to do a flower sweep if every time you try to test it out you just get passed. You're not going to get a technique the first time you try it, you need reps. Having good guard recovery, maintenance, and posture control lets you get a lot of reps in to learn offensive techniques as well as being valuable in and of themselves.

  8. #8

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    Drill, drill and then do some more drills...you're supposed to know how to pull subs and reversals without even having to think about it that hard, without a moment's notice!

    Drills:

    Armbar from the bottom, do the hardest variation of the armbar and drill that stuff until your hips get sore
    Triangle choke, that stuff will save you against your former wrestling buddies
    One cool drill consists of you going from triangle to armbar and back again...that will "imprint" the technique on your mind and body, while teaching you to pass from one attack to the other without getting stuck on one desperate technique. This will unbalance your opponent and ruin his atempts to pass guard that easy. See a BARET YOSHIDA highlight to understand my advice.
    Kimura from the bottom, it's unbelievable the amount of people that fall for that in white belt level, then try doing a reversal from a kimura atempt as a drill.


    Drill the scissor reversal like crazy, the arm drag variation of the first reversal, the up(with one arm controled), etc

    And learn to unbalace your opponent from the closed guard, pull his lapels, the fabric on his arms, use your legs to pull him near you so his head gets close to your chest. That allows you to work your techniques...while keeping him blind sided. Some of the better chokes are done in that position. If he lifts his torso, open guard and armbar him.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by jackrusher
    Thanks! That was just the sort of thing I was hoping for.

    This leads me to feel like I'm starting in the middle, lacking foundational basics that would help my game enormously.

    I dont know how long you've been training but, I imagine it will eventually get back around to the more basic stuff since that is what 99% of people are doing 99% of the time.

  10. #10
    NSLightsOut's Avatar
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    I agree with RobT and Blue Negation

    It is absolutely useless to have a laundry list of sweeps and submissions to attempt when it seems you have neglected your guard, and therefore the first thing that you should work on is guard maintenance. I will however add one refinement that helped me when I was in a similar situation to jackrusher's current conrundum in the past.

    ALWAYS pull guard in training

    Probably around 80-90% of the time in training, I will pull guard. Simply put, it's historically been the weakest part of my game (although currently I feel pretty balanced) and I want to work in at every opportunity I can get, thus I constantly try to get to the top game via sweep, or submit from the bottom. From the sounds of jackrusher's situation, I believe that will have a great impact on his guard game if continued long term. Note that this will be a remarkably frustrating but ultimately rewarding process.

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