Showing posts with tag: guard details

Focus on recomposing first

Lots of beginner students want to develop a berimbolo or a spider guard or a De la Riva guard right from the start. 

It’s a classic example of wanting the shiny object. Or wanting dessert before dinner. 

You see that a move is very effective or a position is very common and of course you want to practice those moves or those positions. 

But I believe for beginners especially,  you should focus on learning how to retain your guard first. 

Guard retention is such an under appreciated skill that will form the foundation of your guard play. 

If you have good guard retention you will have a great guard. 

So many higher belts neglect or have neglected this and it always comes back to bite them. 

If nothing else it will be easier to start off with guard retention first and build up from there versus learning how to play a particular guard and then having to train and un-learn bad habits. Just to focus on those same basics. 

Basics are something that a lot of people don’t want to focus on. It’s not cool, it’s not fancy, it’s very bare-bones, very utilitarian and sometimes boring. 

And I see this with higher level competitors as well. They might be advanced in many positions but have very low skill in the fundamentals.

It might not seem like a big a deal because you can be a top competitor without the fundamentals. However, this is only true for the top 1% of athletes doing Jiu Jitsu. 

For the rest of us, it’s probably better if we develop those basics early on because it will pay off in the long run.  It’s very similar to saving. If you learn how to save when you’re young — you know saving has a compounding effect — by the time you’re 60 if you’re saving since 15 you will have accrued a lot of wealth. Versus if you start saving at age 50. By the time you’re 60 it will not have grown as much. 

What I’m getting at is time is key.

The time that you spend learning how to recompose is going to pay off later on. Of course, you’re going to get you guard passed learning how to recompose properly. That’s just a part of the process until you become more confident and you develop a sense of where to position your self so you can fight to keep your guard. 

The basics of the x-guard

The x-guard is a great position. I just posted a video going over the basics of the x-guard on YouTube. Please go check it out and give it a like —-> Here

And let me know in the comments what gives you the hardest time.

In my video, I break down the three major types of x guards: the modified x, single leg x, and the traditional x guard.

The modified x guard is the easiest to get to from an open guard like the spider guard. With the major difference being that you over hook the trapped leg instead of under hooking it like with the regular x guard.

From the modified x guard we can transition to the other x guards.  If you maintain the ankle lock grip you can take your top foot out and place it on your opponents hip entering the single leg x guard or the modified version.

The single leg x guard gives up control of your opponent for the ability to create more leverage for sweeps and attacks. This works because your hips are lifted off of the ground allowing you rotate your body from one side to the other and off balance your opponent.

However, the traditional x guard is still the most versatile. From the single leg x guard you just place your foot that is on your opponents hip and bring it under your opponent and then you are back in the x  guard. From the modified grip we can get back to the under hook grip by holding down our opponents knee while we switch our grip. Once in the x guard, we have a lot of options for sweeps, attacks, and going for the back. It’s really a dominant position that you can use to win a match.

Marcelo Garcia really popularized and innovated this position.

I think in the 2005 world championship in Brazil he was hitting everyone with x-guard sweeps and no one had a clue what was going on.

When you’re the first to really understand a position. It gives you a lot of power. Everyone will have to play catch-up.

Kind of like the Mendes bros, Bruno Frazatto, and Ryan Hall. They were the first ones to use the 50/50 guard on the competition scene. So they had a big advantage when they would use it to sweep and to stave off more athletic opponents like Cobrinha. The same thing can be said about the bolo, the worm guard and all the other lapels guards.

If there is a lesson to be learned.

It’s that you need to know the ins and outs of your favorite positions. Often, your knowledge of that position will lead you to preforming better over a person with not as much knowledge of that position.

And that really makes the difference. If you have the advantage of knowledge of say the worm guard while the other guy has not clue what the worm guard is. He’s going to be in for a rough time.

You don’t have to be an expert but have a basic game plan of attacks, defenses, and counters.