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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a black belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©Can Sönmez

28 May 2014

28/05/2014 - Teaching (Kneeling Guard Break)

Teaching #158
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 28/05/2014

There are three main ways of opening the guard. The most reliable is standing up, bringing gravity to bear on them, though this has the disadvantage of leaving you more vulnerable to sweeps. The most risky is baiting a submission to get them to open, as that obviously puts you in danger of getting caught if you're not careful. Finally, you can open the guard from the knees, which has the advantage of using less energy and leaving you with good base, but it does keep you in the 'submission zone'.

That last one is what I wanted to cover today. The basic method of opening from the knees starts by setting up your grips, grabbing both collars with one hand, by their chest, your other hand by their hip. Dónal has a handy tip about twisting up those two collars, rolling them over each other so that there is no slack when you grip, though that may sometimes be tough to secure.

Also try to jam your palm or fist into their sternum to lock it in place. Regarding your hand on the hip, measure your gripping position by bringing your elbow back to their knee. Once your elbow gets to their knee, grab whatever trouser material is then under your hand, pressing your weight through that hand into the mat to try and pin their hips.

From there, get your knee underneath their butt cheek, meaning they are slightly raised up onto your leg. Your other knee slides out to the side, so you're now making a right angle with your two knees. Still keeping your back curved, slowly wriggle backwards, shifting your sideways knee back and continuing to wriggle until you can pop open their ankles. As soon as you do, immediately shove their leg to the mat with your elbow and/or hand, then begin your pass.

Saulo's version, as per that earlier picture, has the knee off to the side with the leg stretched out, using a sort of dip rather than relying on scooting back. As ever in jiu jitsu, there are numerous variations: you can reach your destination following a multitude of paths.

Teaching Notes: I've always found this guard break difficult to get in sparring, but I still think it's an important technique to have in your toolbox. It's been more effective for me since I had that private lesson on it with Dónal a while back, which emphasised just wriggling back and sticking with it. Several people were doing the Saulo version instead, which is fine, although I should probably nudge them to at least try the variation I was teaching before giving up on it. ;)

Due to the Bank Holiday, I haven't been getting in much training myself this week, so I need to rejig the sparring a bit too. Now that the numbers are getting healthy, there are enough that I could split the class by weight and join the lighter group, which is what I used to do in the past. That way I can get in some sparring without taking away sparring time from a student. I'll be at the open mat on Sunday too (12:00-14:00 at our Longwell Green location), which will help too.

However, I'd want to make sure somebody was keeping an eye on sparring. The room we're in isn't huge (it used to look bigger, when we had less members!), so I wouldn't want people crashing into each other or the walls. Having said that, it hasn't happened so far. On a number of occasions, I've seen people notice before I get there and moving back of their own accord. That's a good habit to see, which I'll be looking to encourage.

It helps if people aren't being super aggressive, something else I've actively been dissuading: I use a combination of repeating stuff like "keep it light and technical", along with careful music selection. Upbeat, but friendly and non-aggressive. :)

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