To quote Wikipedia: The guard is a ground grappling position in which one combatant has their back to the ground while attempting to control the other combatant using their legs. Under most circumstances the goal is to keep our guard closed and not allow it to be opened and thereby allowing our opponent to pass our guard. This is BJJ 101.
However, in training jiu-jitsu, there are times where we need to “let our guard down” – especially in those early days of training when the experience is completely new. We have to interact with, get to know, and train with people who we very likely have never known before. Instead of keeping our guard closed, so to speak, we need to open ourselves up to new experiences and relationships.
4 Times to let your guard down in BJJ:
Here are some instances where letting your guard down is important, and how you can go about it:
1) WHEN YOU ARE NEW TO BJJ –
It is always difficult being the new guy/gal. When we first enter the academy we may be flooded with all sorts of emotions: fear, anxiety, or apprehension. We may feel awkward and alone. This is the time we need to let our guard down and be open to this new journey we have started.
2) WHEN MEETING NEW PEOPLE FOR THE FIRST TIME-
Meeting new people is hard – especially as an adult. We can get very comfortable in our circle of family and friends, and letting our guard down and being introduced to strangers can be disconcerting. We emotionally revert back to when we were in junior high wondering if the cool kids are going to like us or not. There is an old saying: “If you want friends, be friendly.”
3) DURING THOSE EARLY DAYS OF TRAINING –
At first BJJ can seem awkward and uncomfortable. The movements seem strange. The techniques seem foreign. This is definitely a time when we can be fearful of letting our guard down. We want to appear to have it all together, and that we know what we are doing. However, to have the best and fullest learning experience, we have to trust our instructor and our training partners. We have to be open to saying, “I don’t understand this – can you help me?”
4) WHEN DEALING WITH INJURIES OR ISSUES OFF THE MAT –
This one may be a bit different than the others. When we are injured on the mat, or injured in life, we tend to shy away from interacting with others. Maybe we feel weak, or frail in some way. This is not the time to isolate ourselves, but rather to look to our BJJ brothers and sisters for help and support. We might just need an encouraging word. Maybe we need a friend to help us off the mat. Either way, this is the best time (maybe the most needful time) to let our guard down to trusted individuals. Their is a bond in BJJ unlike any other.
So what do you think? What are some other reasons we need to let our guard down? What are your experiences in moments like these?