A Jiu-jitsu Secret

OK, draw the curtains, turn down the lights, turn off your recording devices and come closer.

Today I want to share a principle with you that Marc Laimon calls “one of the secrets of jiu-jitsu”.

Are you ready? OK, here it is: “it is impossible for your opponent to stand up when you’re holding one of his legs off of the floor“.

What? Not impressed??

Well I use this principle almost every time I step onto mats, so maybe I’d better explain what I’m talking about.

Have you ever almost swept an opponent and almost secured the top position when they refused to remain swept and fought their way back to neutral position? Have you ever tried to take an opponent down only to have them scramble back to a standing position?

When facing certain kinds of opponents not being able to finish your sweeps because of scrambling can be a huge problem, one that I discussed at length in my last newsletter post about refusing to concede the sweep.

This very irritating conundrum can largely be solved if, at the end of your sweep, you stand up and hold one or both of his feet off of the floor. Once your opponent has his foot lifted to waist height he’d need amazing athleticism and balance to stand back up.

Some sweeps (and takedowns) are more suited for this style of finishing than others. For example, many sweeps that you might use on a standing opponent rely on grabbing a foot or ankle with your hand. While doing these types of sweeps you can often convert from using your hand to effect the sweep, to using that hand to elevate his foot to stabilize your top position.

Finally, there is one guard position is particularly good for applying this principle: the X Guard.

In the X Guard you already have your opponent’s foot hoisted onto your shoulder. When you sweep him from there his leg will naturally be elevated (even if you don’t stand up), and it will be very, very difficult for him to stand up or scramble away.

The ease which which you can elevate his leg at the end of the sweep is yet another reason to love the X Guard (in addition to being a very powerful sweeping position, well suited to grapplers who lack long, flexible legs).

You can learn more about the X Guard in my article about half guard positions and in the highly reviewed Butterfly Guard and X Guard DVD.

Have fun incorporating this very powerful principle into your training!

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