Guard Defense

Guard Pass Prevention in BJJ

Guard Pass Prevention Techniques and Concepts

Maintaining your guard and defending the guard pass are incredibly critical skills in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It is the guard that allows a smaller opponent to control and defeat a bigger attacker.  And the guard allows you survive when you're on the bottom - if you're underneath your opponent in any other position then basically you're losing. Preventing the guard pass doesn't necessarily … [Read more...]

How To Find the High Percentage BJJ Techniques You Can Rely On

high percentage guard retention

As a young martial artist I once debated whether a certain Kung Fu striking technique could actually work in a real fight. To prove my point I mentioned that a bouncer I knew had successfully used that technique on a drunk in the bar the other night The guy I was arguing with shut me down with a devastatingly simple rebuttal, “Yeah Stephan, that doesn't prove anything, because ANYTHING will … [Read more...]

How to do the Armbar Without Crushing Your Balls

How to prevent your balls from getting crushed during the armbar

It's a question that I get from BJJ beginners all the time, "How do I do the armbar without crushing my balls in the process?" And it's a legitimate problem for people starting out their BJJ career.  In fact, it's a simple equation... Elbow + Groin = OUCH!! Now you could wear a cup, but most intermediate and advanced players don't do that unless they're training for MMA. Instead of … [Read more...]

How to Counter the Bullfighter / Matador Pass

How to counter the bullfighter / matador pass

In the 'Bullfighter' (aka 'Matador' aka 'Toreando') guard pass, you grab your opponent's legs, push them to the ground, and then run around to the side. (There are some refinements to this technique, of course, but even the super basic version I just described can be super-difficult to stop if you're facing someone who is explosive, athletic, and determined.) If you're on the bottom using … [Read more...]

How to Stop the Double Underhooks Guard Pass

How to stop the double underhooks guard pass

The double underhooks guard pass is one of the low passes you see most in high level competition. It's favored by big, strong dudes who love to smash people. Once they get your hips hoisted up and your body bent in half you feel pretty vulnerable. At that point they can pass your guard, take your back, move to the crucifix, or any number of horrible, nasty finishes. So you've GOT to have an … [Read more...]

How to Stop the Leg Shuck Pass

timthumb (1)

The leg shuck pass has become a very popular, very powerful way to pass the guard. This pass is applied from the feet against many types of open guard. It involves an angle change, hipping in, and pushing your opponent's leg out of position. If all goes well then you end up in a very good position on your opponent's side. You should definitely be familiar with the leg shuck, especially if … [Read more...]

How to Counter the Toreando Guard Pass

lapel drag counter to toreando 1

So there you are, on your back and fighting your opponent with your legs.  Maybe you're using the Spider Guard, the Butterfly Guard, or any other variation of Open Guard, but regardless, both you and he are jockeying for grips and position. You’re trying to set up your guard sweeps and submissions, and he’s trying to pass your guard. Then - disaster! Your opponent grips both your pant … [Read more...]

Shutting Down the Guard Pass

timthumb.php

It's called 'rolling' for a reason: if you're doing BJJ then you're going to be somersaulting all over the place.  And there are three types of rolls that you encounter all the time on the mats: The forward roll, The backwards roll The side roll In the video below BJJ world champion Brandon 'Wolverine' Mullins shows how you can use the third movement - the side roll - to defend against … [Read more...]

How To Stop Someone From Passing Your Guard

emily stripping grip

A reader writes: Hi Stephan, Thank you for the newsletters!  I started training BJJ and MMA about 5 months ago - it's been life changing for me.  Do you have any tips for keeping someone in your guard and not letting them pass? Sincerely, R.W. ======== My Answer ======== Hi R, First of all, congratulations for jumping into such a challenging and hugely rewarding sport.  Most of the … [Read more...]

The Stiff Arm (in Grappling)

heisman-trophy

The stiff arm on the Heisman Trophy is an iconic posture in football, and it is used by players in every single game. In Brazilian jiu-jitsu, however, the stiff arm has a bit of a bad rap. One of the first lessons a grappler learns is to NOT push the chest with straight arms when trapped in the mount. This piece of wisdom is reinforced by training partners endlessly applying effortless … [Read more...]