Why do I keep getting my guard passed so easily?
Why can’t I seem to submit my opponent when I clearly should have the edge?
Have you been asking these questions to yourself lately?
If so, you must be having guard problems.
But what’s the real reason your guard doesn’t work?
Most people think they need to watch more videos or just go to more classes in order to improve their guard when in reality while these are vital and great it may be much simpler.
Here are a few of the most common reasons your guard doesn’t work the way it should.
The first is more for the newer students, but can be applicable to any belt.
You Are Holding too Tight
You are holding and squeezing to tight !! While we want to keep our opponent from passing this is not the answer. First of all you should keep your legs engaged in a forward pressure motion not a horizontal squeeze while in the closed guard. Second it is very important to know when to open up. Jiu-Jitsu is often referred to as physical chess and if you become so stubborn in holding your opponent; when he does open your guard you may have no backup plan and end up on the wrong side of a knee slide pass. Instead learn when to change into an open guard and prevent the pass by being one step ahead.
You are Neglecting the Closed Guard
Another common strategy many people use is to only use open guards. While every guard has its advantages you must develop your closed guard. Closed guard is home base and if you can put your opponent inside then that is one more wall they have to climb in order to pass. In this way first they have to pass your closed guard and your open guard rather than just your open guard.
Stick to the Basics
One more beginner mistake that is made by many is the use of flashy techniques. While reverse DLR and X Guard mat look awesome once more it is best to develop a strong closed guard at first before trying to master more advanced guards that can leave you open if you are not fully aware.
Another big problem many students find is tunnel vision. This happens when we get so comfortable with just one submission that it becomes our go to move. Sooner or later our opponents’ get smarter and it is easily stopped. You have to learn to connect your moves into a series so you can mouse trap your opponent rather than force something that may not be possible anymore. The transition point between arm locks, triangles, back takes and collar chokes is vital and must be trained if you want to have a dangerous guard.
You Have to Know Your Body
Finally I want to talk about one aspect that is most often over looked. You have to know your own body and what it is capable of. Different guards will work best for certain body types. For example the DLR is best utilized by taller practitioners because they can thread their leg deeper and create more off balance force. While closed and spider may be more beneficial to shorter practitioners because they can control the distance better. This is the main reason you won’t see very many berimbolos in the ultra-heavy division.
If You can take these five suggestions and work on them for a while you will develop a much better and more dangerous guard. Remember , don’t hold to tight, work your closed guard, stick to the basics, avoid tunnel vision and know your body.