Defending the Log Splitter pass?


Green Belt
Feb 13, 2006
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I have a problem when bigger guys get thier posture broken in my closed guard. At least one of my biceps gets controlled and the guy will tripod up and go for the log splitter (force the knee through the middle).

Now when the higher belts go for it, the head is lower on my stomach and I feel like I can push the head off center and work an attack. I'm not particularly bothered by this.

However, when the newer guys go for it, thier weight is much more directly over me in a bad posture. I feel like I should be able to exploit this is some way. Often times because they haven't worked my hips higher, they can't get the knee though and just sit there and crush me, crossface me or (my favorite) work a forearm across my throat.

I'm fine with exploiting the position if I can push his elbow past my face (like when he goes for a forearm choke) but if that fails I usually just open my guard and use the butterfly hooks or put the feet on the hips to get his weight back. The only sweep I could see hitting from there is perhaps an elevator sweep if I get my hips out a bit.

I've always been taught to keep your hips lower than your head and not put too much weight on your oppoent or you will get swept over. Well, people are blatently not following the warnings and yet I feel like I can't exploit the opening. What is worse is I feel like since the whitebelts have success with the Tripod Crush of Doom they continue to do it which is a bad habit to develop. It is my duty to sweep the Tripod crushers for thier own good! Just like it is my duty to armbar the Mount Chest Pushers to show an incorrect behaviour.

Any help?
Control one of his sleaves and his collar, switch to De la Riva guard. If he has bad posture, that nkee down the middle will put him off balance
Control one of his sleaves and his collar, switch to De la Riva guard. If he has bad posture, that nkee down the middle will put him off balance

I'm not sure how I would get a DLR hook in from there. His legs would be back and spread, like a tripod, with a ton of weight being transferred to me from his upper body.

If I use my feet on the hips, then I can get his weight off of me enough to get a hook, but then I've totally switched the position I'm trying to counter.
Yes, you need to open your guard before he does...
I encounter this problem as well and would suggest answers in 3 different phases.

Early- If he sets it up slowly, as big guys often do, armdrag HARD and he will fall on his face.

Late- They are set and you feel the pressure. If this is Gi and his head is above yours, go for the overhead sweep.

Alternatively, do as DellBJJ said and switch to open guard. Attack immediately, as they will be in bad posture.

Try to work around the guy, not through him, as he is a lot heavier.
Just as the two previous posters said, open your guard first. What helped me to start building my open guard game was to get in the habit of opening my guard on my terms, not theirs.
I need to work on overhead sweeps. I never even attempt them. Perhaps that is the sweep that is open?

My instructor always says not to pressure people like that becuase you will get swept, yet when people pressure me I have quite a difficult time sweeping...
I always go to DLR whenever my opponent gets a knee up.

If he is about to pass with a cross-knee pass, then I always make sure to get the underhook and protect my far arm from being pulled up. If you do that, he can't finish the pass ... you just throw him forward, he's got nothing.
This pass is used against me often as I am typically taller than my opponent. If you're playing a high guard this pass becomes a much greater threat. These days I like to control the sleeves and put my feet on the hips. Roger Gracie has a way of sweeping people when they do it to him, but I cant do it.
I use a armbar-type sweep. He is controlling my left bicep, then I grab his left leg/pant with my right arm/hand. Put your left foot on his hip. Right leg is used to break opponents posture. Then go for the basic armbar sweep by scissoring your legs, swiveling your head and your hips, kicking that left leg over the head if you can, lifting up on the leg, etc.
i just raise my hips up basicly putting my junk in his face.. and keep the guard closed. They need you to climb the guard to be able to do the log splitter pass. Solution? dont climb, stay closed, and instead raise your hips to his face.

He will continue to try and get the knee in but dont climb your guard just yet.

I take usually my right and and reach all the way under my butt to his far leg.. and grab on the outside of his knee.. then i do a pendelum style sweep so he never has the opportunity to put the knee. in. If he defends the sweep i can either go for an armlock, or just return to full guard and attack whatever.

Most of the time as soon as you get a grip on the far leg. the guy will base out negating the sweep.. but it will allow you to move to other things. I do it to the smallest guys even easier this way.. and big guys usually just start stumbling when i do it.
I usually go for the arm triangle (push his arm across his throat, sit up and lock up the arm triangle)

I ALWAYS stop them and say "Listen you dont want to sit forward, from here you are looking to sit back, posture up and break my legs open, then look to get to side mount"

If that doesnt work I underhook his other arm and grab the back of his head....then switch my feet to butterfly and launch the noob. At that point I dont even care if I get the sweep (get up on top) I just want to throw his feet over his head and let him worry about his landing. I guess its a dick thing to do but I dont like having my throat crushed by meatheads no all muscle and no skill.