Friday, February 17, 2012

The Guard

I am going to be reprinting some old classic entries from my previous blog called The Angry Grappler. It will chronicle the evolution in my understanding of martial arts.
07 February 2010 @ 10:53 pm

Some of you watched UFC 109 and saw Nate lose to Chael Sonnen and it was a poor Nate performance and a great performance by Chael who ground out the decision. What I want to talk about here is the guard though. Something that is neglected. While Rogan was saying Nate needs to work on his guard, what he didn't mention is, even with a competent guard you can use it as a very defensive position.

At the end of the fight, Nate's face was fine whereas Chael looked like it went through a meat grinder. Nate had about 40 seconds of offense all together and lost the rest of the fight. But in that 40 seconds he did more damage than Chael could. That is by no means an indication of winning the fight but it says something about where the damage took place.

When Nate was doing all of his damage to Chael, Chael was outside of the guard. Either shooting or standing or in a scramble. Whenever Nate took damage, which was in the majority of the fight, it was in his guard. Chael even got cut really badly inside of Nate's guard.

You can see this plenty of times in MMA where the guy who won looks worse than the guy who lost. BJ Penn every time he loses tells you to look at the other guys face, but what he doesn't mention is not that the other guy didn't do damage, it's that he did it while in BJ's guard.
We can even go far back to Henderson vs Vanderlei 1 where Vanderlei looked like he was in a car wreck but won the fight peppering Hendo who looked fine, but inside of his guard.

This is the guard! The great equalizer. When you are inside of someone's guard, in MMA they say the guy on top is winning. I feel different, I don't even feel its neutral, I feel the guy on bottom has the advantage slightly. Reason being, inside of close guard it is very difficult to hurt someone, hence most people do most of their damage in half guard. Tito had great success in someone's guard but now as the guard has advanced he is no longer able to finish fights there.

There is a penalty for being in someone's guard. Don't let that type of thinking pull you away from working the guard. If someone jumps guard, and the guy on top is peppering shots, and so is the guy on bottom. I don't care what the announcers say, the guy on bottom is doing about the same damage as the guy on top. There is gravity on the top guy's side but they aren't punching down where gravity would help you. They are hooking to the head and body, so is the guy on bottom...

In conclusion...MMA scoring of the guard is not completely accurate. But I will say this, the guard saved Nate's face! Without the guard a lot of guys who lost would never be able to say the famous phrase, "look at the other guy's face."
About the Author:

Sam Y. is a Master Personal Trainer, Certified Nutritionist, Coach, Performance Enhancement Specialist, Corrective Enhancement Specialist, Yoga and Pilates instructor, and holds multiple certifications. He is also an avid Martial Artist, training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, Boxing, and MMA. He is also the author of the popular fitness blog All Out Effort as well as the popular martial arts blog Inner BJJ. You can find him in the Los Angeles area personal training his clients, or at home annoying his wife, or on Facebook at his personal fitness page.

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