It can be really difficult to train jiu-jitsu with an injured knee because the legs and the guard are so central to the art. 90% of what you do might put strain on an already wonky knee.
That being said, there are guard retention strategies you can use that rely mostly on upper body frames and DON’T require fancy legwork. This allows you to keep your injured leg mostly straight while continuing to hone your skills while your knee heals up.
Of course this relies on training with sane, controlled training partners and not people who will leap into flying reverse heelhooks; train carefully, but keep on training!
Here’s the main video I want you to watch on this topic of training with a bum knee.
Although we go into considerable detail above, here are the abbreviated versions of the main techniques shown in the video…
Technique 1, The Biceps Push
This technique allows you to stop your opponent from passing your guard using a frame on his cross-facing arm.
If everything goes perfectly with this technique you’ll tip your opponent backwards and get a sweep. But even if that doesn’t happen you’ll force him to expend energy and be able to reset your guard.
Technique 2, The Elbow Push
The elbow push escape works together with the biceps push escape shown previously. Put the two together with a powerful leg swing and you’ll be really hard to hold down!
If your opponent overpowers your biceps push defense then you pass his crossfacing arm over your body to the other side and push his elbow with your arm.
The elbow push can lead to some spectacular reversals; if he overcommits then you’ll end up flipping him over your body and getting to the top. But once again, if the reversal doesn’t work then you’ll still have an easy way to scoot your hips backwards with a frame and hip escape motion to reset your guard.
Technique 3, The Octopus Guard
The first person I ever saw use the octopus guard was Eduardo Telles, a very unorthodox (but highly skilled) BJJ competitor.
Octopus guard can be used from the guard, the half guard, or even the bottom of the side mount as a late guard retention strategy. The key is to come under your opponent’s armpit and then posture up with your head and chest while keeping him bent forward.
It’s a great way to take the back – give it a try.
Thanks to Ritchie Yip from Infighting MMA for sharing this advice with us!
Related Resources on Grapplearts.com
Here’s a really detailed, super comprehensive video from The Guard Retention Formula covering the 12 most important concepts and ideas that’ll make your guard much harder to pass.
It’s the best thing you’ll watch today. Seriously.
In this article you learn some of the dumbest things seen in BJJ classes over the years. And hopefully learn how to avoid some dumb ways to die… and dumb ways to get injured.
Joshua Arellano is a physiotherapist with a black belt in Judo and a brown belt in BJJ. He works with combat athletes on rehab, prehab, and injury prevention, and – since injury is the enemy of progress – I was thrilled to pick his brain on the podcast to help everyone have a healthier grappling career!
This instructional focuses on the guard position. It includes the concepts, techniques, combinations, strategies and drills you need as an older grappler to hold your own against – and even dominate – younger, more athletic opponents.
Every technique in BJJ for Old F***s is chosen to work to be as low risk and high reward as possible because we know that if you’re injured you can’t train.
This instructional gives you the very best shortcuts gleaned from 55 years of jiu-jitsu training (and 70 years of martial arts training) by the two authors combined.