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Guard Retention is the Single Most Important Skill in BJJ
The guard is the defining position of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Anyone can win a fight from the top position but if you end up on the bottom then your guard is the only thing that’s going to save you.
But if someone passes your guard then you can’t sweep them. If someone passes your guard then you can’t submit them. And if someone passes your guard then you can’t defend against strikes.
So having an unpassable guard is the most important thing you can develop in your jiu-jitsu game!
To help you make your guard much harder to pass I’m currently in the final stages of editing The Guard Retention Formula with BJJ black belt Rory Van Vliet.
In this conceptually grounded instructional you’ll get step-by-step methods to stop all of the most common and most powerful guard passes, including the knee cut, toreando, smash pass, over-under, leg drag, double unders, and more.
It’s incredibly extensive and gives you everything you need for gi, no gi, MMA and self defense applications.
Who is Stephan Kesting?
My name is Stephan Kesting. I’m the producer and co-teacher of The Guard Retention Formula.
I’m a BJJ black belt and have been doing martial arts for over 38 years, including many grappling arts like sambo, judo, submission wrestling and shoot wrestling.
I’ve been teaching online for a long time. My Youtube videos about BJJ have over 55 million views, I’ve sold tens of thousands of instructional DVDs and apps, and millions of people have visited my Grapplearts website.
Guard retention is one of those topics I’ve always wanted to do an comprehensive instructional on but, until now, never got around to.
But meeting Rory Van Vliet changed that: his analytical approach to jiu-jitsu combined with an encyclopaedic knowledge of what the best guys in the world were doing meant that he was the perfect guy to work with on this incredibly important topic.
It really boils down to this…
The Guard Retention Formula that Rory has developed is the single best resource or instructional on stopping people from passing your guard that I’ve ever seen.
It’ll completely change the way you look at maintaining, retaining, and attacking from the guard.
If you do BJJ and have problems with people passing, smashing, or blowing past your guard then grab this instructional right away. I endorse it completely and guarantee it 100%.
Who Is Rory Van Vliet?
Rory van Vliet is one of the unsung heroes of the conceptual approach to jiu-jitsu.
He’s a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Rob Biernacki but has also trained with many other high level competitors.
In his teaching he always focusses on the underlying concepts, fundamental movements, innovative drills, and precise technical details of BJJ and no gi grappling.
He’s one of the main instructors at Island Top Team, teaches extensively on BJJ Concepts, and has a very successful BJJ Youtube channel. Rory has travelled internationally to bring world class jiu-jitsu to people around the world.
Rory is sought after as a teacher both because of the breadth of his knowledge and because he always emphasises the underlying concepts behind each technique. This gives his students more purpose in their techniques, better timing, and makes it easier to remember the material.
I’m absolutely thrilled that he agreed to film his approach to guard retention so that we can now share it with you!
Also Available in Apple and Android App Format!
App Version Available Right Now
You can now get The Guard Retention Formula in app form if you prefer!
All 6 modules of this instructional can be found within the Grapplearts BJJ Master App, which is free to download for both Apple and Android phones or tablets.
If you go to the Grapplearts BJJ Master App right now and opt to buy all 6 modules of the Guard Retention Formula then you can check out quite a bit of the material before making your buying decision.
What Exactly Are You Getting in the Guard Retention Formula?
The Guard Retention Formula is logically laid out so that the material is as easy to learn and add to your game as possible.
First Rory and I give you the most important Guard Retention Concepts. This sets the stage for all the subsequent material and makes sure that you’re using the right technique at the right time in the most biomechanically efficient manner.
Then you’ll learn the guard retention movements as a series of Solo Movements and Drills. You can use these movements as warmup exercises and also as a troubleshooting tool if you’re having problems with any of the other material.
Then we dive into specific counters for all the most common guard passing techniques. This is a TON of material but it’s organised by range and by guard pass so you can find the exact technique you need to counter that one annoying guy who always hits you with the guard passing technique.
We start with sitting guard – the longest range guard – and give you everything you need to stop your opponent from using either mobility-based or pressure-based passing.
Then we proceed though the ranges of guard, from furthest to closest, teach you the most efficient ways to do the guard passes themselves, and then give you the exact steps to counter every pass you’re likely to encounter at each range.
Here are the ranges we cover…
Finally you’ll get Guard Retention Drills and Narrated Live Sparring so you can see exactly how to train this material and what it looks like in action.
There’s a TON of material here, which is why The Guard Retention Formula is 12 hours of material on 6 dual layer DVDs.
In case you’re not convinced, here’s a breakdown of every technique, concept, and drill in the set…
Guard Retention Concepts
- What is the Guard?
- Proper Alignment in Guard
- Frames and Levers for Guard Retention
- Layers of Frames for Defense
- Controlling Inside Space
- Knee-Elbow Connection
- Regulated Tension
- Blocking the Leading Edge
- Hip Direction and Efficiency of Movement
- Turtle as a Last Defense!
- Don’t Use Closed Guard as a Beginner!
- The 3 Phases of Guard and Ranges
- The Ranges of Guards
Solo Movements and Drills
- Introduction to Solo Movements
- Bridging and Shrimping
- Half Granby
- Full Granby Inversion
- Wall Inversion
- Pummeling Legs and Egg Beaters
- Pendulum and Turkish Get Up
- Technical Stand Up a) From Hand
- Technical Stand Up b) From Elbow
- Turnover to Turtle
- Sit Down From Turtle
- Back Roll
Seated Guard Pass Early Stage Defenses
- Proper Alignment and Hip Movement
- Managing the Range with Frames
- Opponent Controls Feet or Ankles – Grab the Wrists
- Opponent Controls Feet or Ankles – Establishing Butterfly Hooks
- Opponent Controls Feet or Ankles – Open Elbow & Arm Drag
- Opponent Controls Feet or Ankles – Collar Drag (Gi Only)
- Opponent Deadlifts Legs – Circle Legs Early or Late
- Opponent Controls Collar and Pants – Establishing Butterfly Hooks and Frame
- Opponent Closes the Distance – Retreat to Closer Range Guard
- Opponent Closes the Distance – Short Frame and Half Granby
Recumbent Guard Pass Early Stage Defenses
- Opponent Stays at a Distance
- Opponent Controls Ankles – Egg Beaters and Grip Breaks
- Opponent Controls Ankles – Sit Up and Frame
- Opponent Lifts Legs to Stack Pass – Circle Legs Out
- Opponent Controls Pants – Egg Beaters and Grip Breaks
- Opponent Controls Pants – Counter Sleeve Grips and Lever Control
- Opponent Forces Feet Down – Switch to Butterfly Guard
Leg Drag and Cross Step Over Pass Defenses
- Intro to the Leg Drag Pass
- High Leg
- High Leg to Full Granby
- Leg Frame and Hip Escape
- Arm Frame and Insert Bottom Hook
- Cannonball and Mantis Guard Defenses
- Cross Step Over Pass Defenses
Toreando Pass Defenses
- Intro to the Toreando (Bullfighter) Pass
- Elbow Manipulation and Redirection
- Knee Grip Neutralization with Feet (Gi Only)
- Frame and Reguard
- Frame and Inversion
- Frame and Leg Pummel
- Turn Away Granby
- Granby to Vampire Roll
X Pass Defenses
- Intro to the X Pass
- Neutralizing Grips and High Leg
- Invert and Spin
- Half Granby and Vampire Roll
Knee Cut Pass Defenses
- Intro to the Knee Cut Pass
- Falling Back to Reverse De La Riva
- High Leg or Top Knee
- Falling Back to Half Guard
- Frame and Hip Escape
- Knee-Elbow Connection and Bump
- Bump and Low Single
- Recovering vs Sleeve Grip (Gi Only)
- Falling Back to Deep Half Guard
Long Step and Over-Under Pass Defenses
- Long Step Pass Defenses – Recognition, Framing, and Sit Up
- Intro to the Over-Under Pass
- Frame and Hip Escape
- Manipulating Opponent’s Center of Gravity
- Twist Sweep
- Bicep Frame/Caio Terra Defense
- Roll Over Defense (Gi Only)
- Using the Kimura for Defense
Knee Staple Pass Defenses
- Intro to Knee Staple Pass
- Hip Mobility and Knee Frame
- Vampire Roll
Double Unders Pass Defenses
- Intro to the Double Unders Pass
- Heavy Hips
- Sit Up Defense
- Wrist Control
- Elbow Push Escape
- Frame and Shoulder Walk
- Back Roll
- Pants or Belt Grip Defenses (Gi Only)
Double Overs Pass Defenses
- Intro to the Double Overs Pass and Basic Defense
- Double Overs Defense – The Switch
The Collar Tie Series
- The Collar Tie
- Reverse Collar Tie vs Opponent Ducking Under
- Frame and Hip Escape vs Collar Tie Killer
- Half Granby When Being Collapsed
- Overhook Tie and Hip Heist
- Box Tie vs Tight Opponent
- Hip Switch from Box Tie
- Back Roll vs Forward Momentum
- Butterfly Hooks and The Admiral Sweep
Folding Pass Defenses
- Intro to Folding Pass and Collar Tie Defense
- Butterfly Hook Insertion
- Twisted Mount/Dope Mount Defenses
Half Guard Pass Defenses
- Intro to the Half Guard and Recovery to Full Guard
- Recovery vs Folding Pass and Leg Weave
- Recovery vs Kick Out
- Recovery vs Knee Control
- Recovery vs Leg Drag
- Recovery vs Underhook
- Recovery vs Cross Face
- Recovery from Reverse Half Guard
- Recovery vs ¾ Mount
Deep Half Guard Pass Defenses
- Intro to Deep Half Guard and Its Purpose in Retention
- Using Hooks and Going Out the Back
- The Waiter Sweep and Moving to Other Guards
- Intro to the Turtle Position and its Purpose in Guard Retention
- Turning Into Your Opponent
- Sitting Down to Guard
- Turning Away from Opponent
- Half Granby
- The Robson Hook
- The 2 on 1 Control (aka the Turtle Cheat Code)
Guard Retention Drills and Examples
- Drilling Guard Retention – Frames and Levers Passing (aka FYJJ)
- Frames and Levers Passing 1 (No Gi)
- Frames and Levers Passing 2 (Gi)
- Frames and Levers Passing 3 (No Gi)
- Frames and Levers Passing 4 (Gi)
- Frames and Levers Passing 5 (No Gi)
- Guard Retention Conclusion
Is This Material for Gi or No Gi?
The Guard Retention Formula applies to all kinds of grappling, including BJJ with the gi, no gi submission grappling, and even MMA training with strikes.
Yes, we’ve included a few techniques to deal with a few gi-only grips and guard passes because we want you to be a well rounded grappler, but overall good jiu-jitsu is good jiu-jitsu regardless of whether you’re wearing a gi, spandex, or board shorts.
So long story short: the vast majority of the concepts, tricks, and techniques covered in The Guard Retention Formula apply to both BJJ with the gi and submission grappling without the gi.
Recommended Skill Level
As we were filming it I kept on thinking that if I had had this material as a white belt I would have had an absolutely impassible guard. It would have taken years off of my learning curve.
I’ve been a black belt now for almost 14 years and I still learned a ton from Rory’s teachings. I’ve already used some of the techniques and approaches in my own sparring and it has really helped.
So I can confidently say that this instructional will help everyone from white belt to black belt.
This is the best resource on the topic of guard retention that I have ever seen.
100% Money Back Guarantee.
I’m so confident that this is the single best guard retention instructional you’ll ever see that I’m backing it up with a 100%, no wiggle-room, zero hassle money back guarantee.
My return policy on this is really simple: if you don’t like the material, if you don’t find the format useful, if you find the rashguard designs offensive – anything – then you have 365 days to let me know and I’ll give you a complete refund.
This is not about ‘tricking’ you into buying something that isn’t useful and isn’t what you needed.
It’s about being able to check this product out with confidence that it’s going to work for you, or all your money back.
Order All 6 DVDs of The Guard Retention Formula!
I’m doing a limited-time new release sale of this set (online streaming and DVD).
If you order today then you’ll be among the very first people we’ll ship the DVDs to and/or give the online links to.
It’s an amazing set, but as usual, if you’re not satisfied by what you get you’ll be covered by my 365 day 100% money back guarantee.
All the Techniques in The Guard Retention Formula Are Also Available in App Form on Your Apple and Android Devices
The 6 modules of The Guard Retention Formula can be found within the Grapplearts BJJ Master App, which is free to download for both Apple and Android phones or tablets.
(You can also preview the first three videos of every module before you make your purchase decision.)
- Click here for more information about the Grapplearts BJJ Master App,
- Click here to download the app free for your iPhone/iPad,
- Click here to download the app free for your Android device.
If you go to the Grapplearts BJJ Master App right now you can check out and preview a ton of material from the 6 modules of the Guard Retention Formula.
A Final Word from Stephan Kesting
Your guard is what keeps you safe when you’re on the bottom and there’s an aggressive opponent on top of you.
If your guard gets passed then most of your options – sweeps, submissions, and getting back to your feet – go right out the window.
This makes guard retention a skill you cannot do without.
Rory has done SUCH a good job putting together this instructional in a coherent, logical, and easy to learn form that I’m 100% sure it’ll help a TON of people develop unpassable and unstoppable guards
This just might be the single-most important instructional you ever purchase. I give it my full endorsement and I’m sure you’re going to love it.
P.S. Just to reiterate: if you buy this product you’re protected by my unconditional 365 day moneyback guarantee. Don’t like the material for any reason at all? No problem, you get your money back. I’d rather keep you as a satisfied friend than as a disgruntled customer!