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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

15 November 2016

15/11/2016 - Open Mat | Open Guard

Class #783
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 15/11/2016

I've been focusing on my open guard for the last couple of years, but it is still the weakest part of my game. So, I've started to film my specific sparring to isolate exactly where I'm going wrong. If I can get some kind of grip it helps, but against somebody good at quickly dancing around the legs, I struggle (as per bottom right of the video ;D). Both Sam and Hamza have excellent agility and speed. I end up flailing at them with my hands and spinning to try and block, until eventually they manage to step past my knee and block any more spinning. I could at that point be better on the stiff-arm guard I've been using for the last couple of years, perhaps into the knee? It might be worth me drilling that in isolation, recovering to guard when they step past my legs but haven't yet got their weight down onto me.

I'm having much more success passing than I am using my guard, which is interesting. It used to be that I dreaded passing: now I feel I at least have a few things to aim for. However, I'm using too much energy in general and I need better grips from open guard, both top and bottom. Ideally I want to build on all the stuff I've been doing the last few years, so that's a lot of sitting guard on the bottom. I also think Sam's knee shield approach could work for me, as I like knee shield too. What I particularly value about that guard is the way it offers a secure but low energy way of preventing the pass. Naturally you need to progress from there into attacks, but having something like that in my toolbox would be awesome. The ability to analyse Sam's video is really helpful too: it's already shown me lots of details I didn't realise he did.

Another guard I'd like to try more is the modified spider guard that I first saw on Xande's DVD from a few years ago. I tried that on Heidi today and it worked ok, but then there is an experience and size gap there. I also tried more sitting guard and knee shield on Tom, where again there is an experience gap and possibly size, but it is smaller (he's got a few years of nogi IIRC).

I ended up with a pseudo-butterfly guard at one point (top right of vid below), which eventually resulted in a sit-up sweep. I wasn't going for the sit-up sweep (I wanted a hook sweep, a la Caros Machado) so I should look at for that more. I think it came about because I was trapping the arm and looking for the shoulder clamp. Perhaps I need to sit up more: I felt too flat when I was doing that. Also, on the butterfly hook sweep I attempted and failed, I should have brought my arm under the head when I first went for the sweep, that might have done it.

A video posted by Can (Jun) (@slideyfoot) on

Also, chatted about Faria's deep half with Matt, looked interested. It's a deep half guard sweep where he wraps a gi lapel around their leg to facilitate the sweep, then if they raise up, a Turkish get up variation. I've got video so will check that, possibly pick up Digitsu's instructional Faria did too. There's a lot of deep half prep I want to do for December, so we'll see how far I get with the instructional and notes I already have on the position. :)

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