Thursday, March 24, 2016

Guard Game

This is post 5 in a 6-part series.

For self defense, simplicity is key. You cannot afford to find yourself in a fight and have too many options going through your head. You must be able to react immediately. So that said, this series will attempt to give you a breakdown of what movements you should drill until they are automatic.

Naturally, different people will have different opinions, so the techniques suggested will be drawn from those most often used with success in MMA. Additionally, there are more options from each position than could ever be presented in a single blog post, so major alternatives will be presented in a list immediately following the highlighted techniques.

Also, note that the strategy presented will be from the point of view of a jiu-jitsu fighter. A striking oriented fighter might use the major alternatives presented here as their go-to moves, while using the grappling philosophy as their backup plans. This does not indicate one style as being superior to another. Rather, it is indicative of different fighting strategies, both of which are proven and tested to be effective.

The Guard
If you find yourself on bottom in a fight, you need to utilize the Guard. Having both of your legs around your opponent's trunk allows you to limit his movement and maximize your own movement. The most fundamental thing you can do from the Guard is to prevent and block punches.

As you maintain control and keep safe from strikes, other opportunities will present themselves... based on how your opponent attempts to get past your guard. Generally speaking, you will have opportunities to choke, arm lock, or sweep your opponent.

Sweeps are when you maneuver to the top from the Guard. Common sweeps include:
* Scissor sweep
* Elevator sweep
* Double ankle sweep
* Take the back

Common arm locks from the Guard:
* Straight arm lock  juji gatame
* Kimura arm lock  ude garami 

Common chokes include:
* Guillotine choke  hadaka jime
* Triangle choke  sankaku jime

Additionally, a good fighter knows how to stand up from Guard. All of these methods are derivatives of the basic technical stand up, or are alternatives to same from blocked attempts.

Passing Guard
There are numerous methods to passing the Guard. However, watch any high level fighter and you will see that they primarily use a few basic passes. What's more, they combine just a few Guard Breaks (opening the legs) with Guard Passes (getting past the legs) to create many opportunities to pass from just a few options.

A few common Guard breaks include:
* Punches
* Knee in tailbone
* Ankle unlock
* Standing knee press

A few common passes include:
* Matador (standing)
* Goal Post (standing)
* Knee slide (kneeling)
* Hip out (kneling)

Work these to give yourself options.

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