Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Defending The Pass With Concepts

When I watch videos of competitions, I tend to see a slick bottom player stifle and prevent passes with a very advanced and tricky guard that is heavily reliant on flexibility, dexterity, and control of sleeve grips. They will stick their feet between your legs, your sleeves, turn upside down, backwards, roll over their shoulder, do the splits, stack themselves, etc. I don't know how much of that I can learn, it would probably take a lifetime and due to my arthritis a lot of it is probably not practical for me, along with the average out of shape Joe walking into an academy.

I was watching Kron the other day. He is Rickson's son but his game looks very different. It's very "scrambly" as they say. But there are details that he has that are very much like his father. His guard is very ordinary when you look at it, but it's effectiveness is extraordinary. He doesn't rely on slickness or tricks to prevent the guard pass, he uses space, creates distance, gets sticky on his opponents hips with his feet, and is constantly gripping to break their posture, possibly allowing him to stand up. He is also always staying in front of them, not rolling over or giving up his back, he stays in front and he blocks all their movements and attempts to grip, when they get in too close, he frames and creates distance again. All the while attacking.

It's not even a guard all the time, because he sits up. Its more expressions of concepts. Using space, stickiness, blocking, framing, staying in front of his opponent, all to prevent his enemy from passing his defensive lines.

Concepts like that can be learned in a few months, but will be useful for a lifetime and will always be practical and applicable to any Joe walking in.

A few months back I tore my LCL and it's no longer bothering me but I have losts my lateral stability. I used to prevent guard passes with a very high effectiveness using a half spider guard game. The leg I used to weave around for the spider is the knee that snapped on me. I think over time of constantly putting it in weird angles to get the spider hook and my arthritis lead to it snapping. Without that tool, my guard is so easy to pass. Even for a white belt. I realize I used that trick as a crutch and never applied the concepts of guard pass defense. Any trick that is also at the cost of my joints is now not worth doing. Sometimes your opponents will hurt you, but your own game should do you no harm. I watch a lot of what people do in BJJ and it looks like it would hurt and they do it so much it stops hurting, that's usually the last sign before something snaps. And I know very few BJJ players who don't have bad knees.

Now instead of my body I will try to use my mind.


  1. That video reinforces this entire post. Great stuff.

  2. Great post, Sam! Another great concept. This one is also going in my notebook!

  3. Great post. I've been working a lot lately on going to inverted guard as a way to complete that open-guard pass-defense game. It's great for keeping your legs and hips always between you and the opponent.

  4. thanks daniel and rollo. Lex if you can invert, it becomes a very hard guard to pass because you are always staying in front of your opponent.



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