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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

17 June 2015

17/06/2015 - Teaching | Closed Guard | Standing Guard Break & Leg Pin

Teaching #340
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 17/06/2015

For the standing guard break, start by shoving their sleeve/wrist into their belt knot/belly button. With your other hand, push into their sternum (as always, be aware this is just one option, there are many other ways of standing in the closed guard). Either way, be careful you aren't tempted to lean forward, or they can grab you and break your posture, preventing your stand. Keep your posture upright and head up.

Swing to your non-sleeve grabbing side, then raise your knee on the sleeve grabbing side, stepping forward with that foot. Once it is up, turn your leg into them, pressing into their hip. That should hopefully provide you with some base, meaning that as you step up the other leg, you can keep it further back, so you have a staggered stance. Standing up with your feet in line makes you very vulnerable to sweeps. You also want a slight bend in your leg, in what Jason Scully calls an 'athletic stance'. That helps your base and also aids mobility.

As you stand, pull up on their sleeve/wrist (if you've lost it, grab their collar, if they are wearing a gi). Make sure you keep your elbow inside their knee: that both makes it harder for them to pull their arm back, as well as protecting you from omoplata attacks and the like. You then want to push their knee off your hip on the other side, stepping back with your leg on the non-sleeve/wrist gripping side to help.

If you're having trouble getting that knee off, try bouncing your hips to open their ankles, like you were struggling to take off a tight pair of jeans. At the same time, splay your hand by the knee you want to shove (Roger Gracie calls this 'making his hand big') in order to help push down. Immediately as their leg hits the mat, you can move into the leg pin pass by trapping their lower leg with your same side shin by sliding it over, driving your knee into their same side hip. Hook your instep around their leg near the crook of their knee. Also shift the foot of your non-sliding leg closer to your bum, so they can't hook it.

The hand which was pushing on the knee now goes to wrap under their head, looking to get your shoulder next to their jaw. I'd suggest switching the other hand (which was gripping on their sleeve/collar/wrist) to behind their leg to stop them bridging and rolling you during the pass attempt. You could also try blocking their near hip with that hand, though that isn't an option I normally use. This also puts you in a powerful guard position, should you need to switch mid-pass if they resist your initial passing attempt.

To finish, swing your non-sliding leg all the way over, so your back is pointing at their head, in a sort of reverse scarf hold: you're sat next to them, facing their legs, sole of your non-sliding leg foot on the floor. You should still have their leg trapped at this point with your hooking foot. Finally, switch your hips, sliding that hooking leg under the back stepping leg, settling into side control.

Teaching Notes: Main thing I want to emphasise next time is posture. A common mistake (I've done this myself plenty of times) is to put too much weight through your forward arm as you stand, leaving your posture bent over and easy to break. Instead, it's better to push off your feet rather than their chest, but I can understand the instinct to push on the chest. I need to highlight that the reason you have the hand there is to stop them sitting up, not to help you stand.

I'm not convinced of the leg pin's utility, as I never use that pass myself. Would it be better to go with the knee cut or underhook pass instead? I might try that next time, though the leg pin does feel like a natural progression from pushing the leg down. Also, just because I don't use it doesn't mean a student might not find it fits well with their game. I'll think about it.

Also, cool that there was a purple belt popping down tonight: always great to have experienced grapplers on the mat! In sparring, I'm still looking to work on the shoulder clamp, but still not controlling the posture properly. It's too easy for them to free their arm, I think because I'm continuing to stay too square on, as well as not pressing in with the knife of my hand into the shoulder. Plenty more chances for me to keep working it though, as it's closed guard all this month. :)

On top, I was trying the Vini Aieta option again, where you sort of half stand up, leaning into them trying to connect your hips. It's an interested option, so I'll keep giving it a go. I only tried it on white belts so far: I imagine some interesting problems will arise when I attempt it on somebody more experienced. ;)

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