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Old 12-05-2010, 02:01 PM   #1

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Guard retention and open guard transition against standing opponent

Note: this thread is for BJJ with the gi.

The first time I went to the IBJJF european championship in Lisbon I was surprised how I felt in lack of control against people quickly standing up and working aggressively to pass my open guard (usually toreano/bullfighter, but also leg drags, ecc.). That was because around my area that type of aggressive standing game was uncommon.

As a purple belt I've improved a lot since then, but my main game is still closed guard. Even if in training I force myself to work spider or DLR, I feel I lack some piece of the puzzle.

There is a lot of quality instruction on standing open guard, especially traditional foot on hip, DLR, spider and leg lasso. There's much less on reverse DLR.

But there's next to nothing about the following three key skills:
1) guard retention against an opponent wanting to stand up (I mean keeping him on the knees)
2) transition from closed guard to standing open guard (if you are unable to keep him on the knees)
3) open guard retention if some control fails (that is emergency open guard recovery)

Most of the instruction around here focus on techniques, some show combinations and the best explain setups and counters.

To the best of my knowledge nobody talks in depth about what to do during transitions especially in regard to grips and controls. Probably this type of material would be more useful to the higher belts, so maybe it's less "commercial".

The closest I've found are the open guard videos of Braulio Estima from CageFilms; still there's currently no lesson specifically dedicated to open guard transitions and retention.

Any suggestion for the three skills enumerated above?

Last edited by Luther; 12-05-2010 at 02:10 PM.
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Old 12-05-2010, 03:20 PM   #2

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Saulo, Mia, and Cobrinha all touch on guard retention and recovery in their dvds. Mia actually has an entire volume on defending the guard pass. Also competition footage is a good resource for picking up guard retention tricks.

BJJ Brown Belt. Judo Brown Belt

Gracie Barra-Knoxville. Instructor-Samuel Braga

BJJ gi competition record 83-13
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Old 12-05-2010, 03:27 PM   #3

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If you know how to use dlr and the sit up guard. I do not see why you would have trouble with the 3 points discussed.

You just do not have a good guard wich people are passing easily. maybe guys at your club are always passing on the knees and you just not used to people passing standing.

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Old 12-05-2010, 03:30 PM   #4
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3) open guard retention if some control fails (that is emergency open guard recovery)
I've heard the new Xande instructional spends a meaningful amount of time on this.

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Old 12-05-2010, 03:36 PM   #5

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This amazes me, because my instructor goes over this from the white belt curriculum.

There are a lot of mechanics to it, especially opening your closed guard to transition into open guard on your own terms. It would have to be explained in a video or in class.

Also, them standing is fine. I don't want to force them back to the ground. Standing is when de la riva shines, its when spider guard shines. You have to get better at these guards. Take the back, tripod sweep etc.. I find myself wishing my opponent would stand because I have more trouble with smashing type passes. Standing = space is created.

There are drills that you should look into for open guard retention, many of which are ideal when facing a standing opponent.

- Look into rolling to turtle and back to guard (turtle is a transition, not a place to stay).

- Look into doing the upside down drill between your partners legs while hes standing. You basically roll from side to side with some footwork. You may have done this, I know alliance teaches this as a warmup drill sometimes.

- Look into inverted guard, if only as a transition position to get back to regular open guard. Goes hand in hand with the above two. I wouldnt say Ryan Hall is the best at it, but there is a lot of video footage of him doing this around purple / brown belt level if you need some video guidance.

- Seriously master the basics of De La Riva and Spider guard. You have to have the right amount of pressure, the right grips (grips are often overlooked because people focus on the foot placement) - and the proper hip movement to retain the guard.

Get Saulo's Book Jiu Jitsu University for a lot of instructions.

Hope this somewhat helps

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Old 12-05-2010, 03:50 PM   #6

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Thank you for the suggestions mtruitt76, and who is Mia?

@Noob 1.0: yeah, I'm pretty excited about the Xande set.

@Davii: thank you for the suggestions and drills, I actually do or did them. This type of training is useful but it's what I would call late recovery. What I'm really looking for is preemptive and early recovery.

Ideally I don't want to give my opponent a chance to stand up, positioning myself, and working my grips in such a way that makes it difficult and dangerous for him. And if he manages to stand what should I do in the split second that makes a world of difference? What are the best options and grips in that no man's land and why?

I should have mentioned a guy who has inspired some of my thinking lately, the insightful TrumpetDan. Look at his lessons 1-3 and 8-13 to get a better feeling of what I mean:

YouTube - TrumpetDanBJJ's Channel

All comments are welcome.

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Old 12-05-2010, 03:56 PM   #7

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what I was trying to convey I suppose was a different way for you to think about it.

Even though your game is closed guard, I would say it may be a good idea to get comfortable with open guard. Standing-passing game is similar to the ground-passing game, in that whoever has his grips / game setup will win.

If you never want people to stand out of your closed guard (very unlikely) you can try to work on keeping them off balance etc. Constantly attack and he wont have time to poster and stand. But you know this. The truth is people will stand, or after you've been thrown they'll be standing and trying to pass, like in competition. Thus, you need to work your other weapons.

If someone stands and gets torro-pass grips on you, its a grip fight. break them off and go into De la Riva. Marcelo Garcia covers this in his book X-guard as well (even for no-gi).

Play around in practice, just play open guard. Ask your instructor to show you proper transitions from closed to open (I'd hope he knows this). Work your grips and try to maintain the guard for as long as you can etc.

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Old 12-05-2010, 04:17 PM   #8

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Thank you Davii for your follow up reply, now I understand better your first post. I completely agree with you, and what you describe is how I usually train, for example doing situational sparring where I'm forced to do just DLR and spider, and so on.

However this thread is for a competition gameplan I want to focus on and that also is built around my recovery from an injury. So my goal is to research and study all the useful material I can find with the help of the forum. Hope this puts thing in perspective.

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