If you boil down the thousands of guard techniques in BJJ they really fall into one of five categories…
- Sweeps that allow you to reverse the position and get to the top
- Submissions where you choke or jointlock your opponent
- Strikes with your hands, elbows, knees and feet
- Survival where you maintain your guard and keep yourself against your opponent’s attacks, and
- Standing back up to your feet.
Now striking from the bottom (option 3) is a difficult skill that takes training to refine.
And obviously you’re not going to use strikes in a BJJ or submission grappling match – that’s obviously something you would use only in an MMA or self defense context…
But what I really want to talk to you about today is option 5 – the standup!
In fact, that’s exactly what my 4 minute video below is about…
A ton of grapplers have this mindset where once they’re in the guard they feel like they have to stay in the guard.
AND THAT’S NOT AT ALL TRUE!!
Obviously standing up out of the guard is an absolutely critical skill when it comes to streetfighting and mixed martial arts…
But it’s also a totally valid strategy in ‘regular’ BJJ class.
For example, if you have good takedowns one of the best ‘sweeps’ you can do is to stand up and then take the other guy down.
Plus it’s a great way to counter the guard pass; if he’s racing around your feet but not doing a good job of pinning your hips and legs then – boom – just stand back up!
And finally, the best part is that is that if your opponent gets all paranoid about you getting back to your feet then he’ll often drive forward into you, giving you sweeping and submisison opportunities.
The standup sets up sweeps and submission attacks…
And sweep and submission attacks set up the standup!
The Long Range Technical Standup in Self Defense
First let’s take a look at the self defense origins of the technical standup.
Most of the time you’re going to learn the technical standup from the seated open guard with your opponent standing up over you.
You’ll use a very specific ‘sliding’ kick to keep him at a distance, and then, when you feel like you have enough space, get back to your feet.
The basic version of this technique might look something like this…
Closed Guard to Technical Standup in Self Defense
Once you’ve mastered the gross mechanics of getting back to your feet without falling over or turning your back then it might be time to learn the standup from closer quarters.
In the video below (and excerpt from The Self Defense Guard instructional) Elliott Bayev shows how to do a standup when your opponent is on his knees but pressuring strongly forward into you!
The Shoulder Walk Standup Against the Fence
Just as an addendum I should say to the technical standup is not the only way to get back to your feet.
For example, in the first half of the ‘How to Use a Wall or a Fence While Grappling’ video below I quickly show the ‘shoulder walk’ standup that so many MMA fighters do in the UFC these days. It’s just as effective as the technical standup but obviously it does require a fence, wall, or some other solid object you can lean your body against!
The Technical Standup While Supporting Weight
Once you’ve mastered the basic technical standup we can then go on to some more advanced applications of the standup.
Typically these applications will involve you carrying or resisting some amount of your opponent’s weight as you try to get back to your feet.
It’s kind of like the ‘Turkish Getup’ movement in kettlebell training – if you’re holding up weight and you’re not in correct alignment then you’re going to get crushed.
In the video below (from The BJJ Formula) Rob Biernacki goes through his version of the technical standup while making sure that his base, posture and structure are all capable of carrying my full bodyweight!
As I mentioned above, the use of the technical standup in an MMA or self defense context is obvious. You’re on the bottom and you don’t necessarily want to stay there if your opponent is throwing bombs down on you!
But it’s a very useful movement in ‘regular’ BJJ and submission grappling as well…
Standing Up to Get Your Grips in Guard
Now let’s talk about a couple of applications of the standup in a grappling context.
One of the simplest ways to get good grips from guard is to stand up, clinch up, and then sit back down.
In the video below my friend and training partner Ritchie Yip (from Infighting.ca) shows exactly what this might look like, starting at the 2:20 mark…
The X Guard Sweep Standup Sweep
One final example of how you can use the technical standup in a grappling context is finishing the X guard sweep.
The X guard is a very powerful open guard position, and one of the most powerful sweeps from there is the Standup Sweep.
In this sweep you start in X guard and then use the technical standup (!) to get back to your feet but with your opponent’s leg still on your shoulder.
Check it out in the video below…
Three More Free BJJ Resources…
If you found this useful then there are a couple of free resources you might want to grab from me…
The first is my PDF checklist of positions and techniques called The Roadmap for BJJ.
The next free resource is the Roadmap for BJJ video-based app for Android and iOS devices.
And finally you should also grab my brand new Grapplearts BJJ Master App.
This app has more than 457 minutes of free black belt instruction in it, and is free to download here.
If you’re serious about BJJ then you’ll probably want to grab all three resources above.
They’re all free, and you can cancel/delete them easily if you don’t like what you get!
Good luck with your training,