Practitioners of submission grappling and BJJ quickly learn about the importance of posture in an opponent’s guard. If you have bad posture in the guard you will get swept and submitted all the time.
On the other hand, by adopting good posture you can stabilize the top position and get ready to try your own techniques (i.e. guard passes).
Back when I was a blue belt it was a revelation to me to learn that the concept of posture can be applied in other positions as well…
I was watching Michael Jen teach pin escapes on video, and he started talking about the importance of posture when trapped in side mount. He explained how correct posture would make your escapes easier and also make it much harder for your opponent to submit you. This changed my way of thinking when it came to setting up my escapes from bad positions.
Posture is important anytime you’re vulnerable to submissions, including when you’re trapped on the bottom!
If you’re trapped in the mount, for example, bad posture might include having your hand on your opponent’s chest, making yourself vulnerable to the armbar.
One form of good posture in the mount might consist of having one leg straight and turned outwards, the other leg bent and based on the mat, your body turned slightly towards the straight leg and both elbows tight against your ribs (see the photo at the top of this article). In this position you’re much less vulnerable to the quick and easy submissions and much more ready to start your own escape.
Most of the time good posture on the bottom will help create some maneuvering room by pushing on your opponent using the stronger parts of your body (elbows, forearms, knees) while limiting the ways in which he can anchor onto your body or limbs.
Achieving and maintaining good posture while on the bottom against a skilled opponent isn’t easy, however, because he will be doing everything he can to disrupt your defensive posture.
If you’re skilled at your pin escapes then the primary battle often lies in achieving good posture, and once you finally get to your posture then the escape happens almost by itself and without much effort.