Basic Guard Maintenance Drills: a BJJ Tutorial

Updated on April 13, 2017
revolutionbjj profile image

Andrew Smith is a 3rd degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs the BJJ Tutorial Encyclopedia here.

Source

Guard maintenance!

Arguably the single most important aspect of your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu game for sport competition, guard maintenance is often overlooked. If you can't keep someone in your guard for more than a few seconds, it's going to be really difficult to sweep or submit them. On the other hand, if you can keep someone from passing your guard for five minutes, the likelihood of improving your position or finishing the match is very high, all other things being equal.

We're going to take a look at three fundamental concepts for maintaining your guard, each of which can add to your ability to keep someone from passing your guard dramatically. Your training partners will come to dislike trying to pass your guard, becoming frustrated after a few minutes of trying, ultimately succumbing to more frequent submissions and sweeps. While all of these defenses are conceptual and very general in nature, they can be applied across a wide stylistic range of guard passes. For a more comprehensive look at Preventing the Guard Pass, see the related tutorial.

Drill 1: pivot/hip out

The basics

This is the simplest, most direct solution to someone trying to push your legs to one side to try to pass your guard (think: toreando). Paradoxically, it gives you the best core workout and uses the most core strength, but it is very, very time efficient. When your partner pushes your legs to one side, the most important thing to remember is not to allow your hips to turn away. When your hips are facing away from your partner, it is very easy for them to pass your guard!

To prevent this from happening, there are two things you can do. First, plant your outside foot on the mat (only your outside foot; if your inside foot is gone, it's too easy for your partner to close the distance and establish a knee on stomach or side control position). Use the floor to shrimp to the side - except it's not really going to be like a traditional shrimp movement. Because your partner has provided you with a lot of force going to the side, use that to pivot (like a "lazy Susan" or record player, not so much like a "hip escape" or "shrimp" drill). The second option is to use your partner's hands on your feet in the same way that you would use the ground, thus lifting your hips up and making it even more difficult to push your hips to the side. With the second (slightly more advanced) option, your opponent will quickly grow tired, expending a great deal of energy to get your hips off the ground in the first place, but this takes some practice.

Two more things to remember here: first, try to keep your knees in close to your chest, Imagine a kitten lying on its back (hence the name "Savage Kittens" at Revolution BJJ!). Second, when you return to the center each time during the drill, try to connect with your partner's hips, pushing them away momentarily to make space. After connecting and pushing, return to the "savage kitten" position before the next leg throw from your partner.

Buddy foot

A slightly lazier alternative

In this second drill, your partner has again tossed your legs to the side. This time, however, when you try to bring your inside knee back through as before, your partner has done a much better job of closing the distance, ultimately blocking your legs with their shin, similar to a proper knee on stomach position. In other words, the pass is at a slightly later stage when you're able to start defending.

Instead of bringing your knee through their leg (which is not allowed within the laws of physics, per the electromagnetic force!), use your outside foot either on their chest or hip to create enough space for your inside knee to slide through. When connecting with your "buddy foot", be sure to step on your partner, and use this to lift your hips up, creating enough space for the recovery. As in the previous drill, it is important that your hips do not face away from your partner.

Inversion

Using the buddy foot - a second option

When using the "buddy foot" option exactly as described above, it is often preferable to invert instead of coming back through to the inside with the close knee. This can arise for on of three reasons. First, you might find that your partner continues to follow with their knee and shin, preventing you from making enough space with your "buddy foot" to slide your knee through. Second, you may find that your momentum has carried you nearly to the point where you're already upside down. Finally, you might simply choose to invert for the sake of the opportunities you create in order to be offensive. No matter the reason, inversion via the "buddy foot" is an excellent third method of guard maintenance, and one that gets easier over time.

Favorite maintenance drill from the above three?

See results

Practice makes perfect

All three of these techniques will get much, much easier with lots of practice. One way to accomplish this is to set aside some time with your partner to drill, where you go for (say) four minutes, nonstop, with the drills outlined above, then your partner gets to go for the same amount of time. Another method is during rolling - simply refuse to get grips in the beginning, and start balled up, savage kitten style. This will force you to utilize these techniques, depending on how your opponent tries to pass. Also: try to bring these concepts to bear when dealing with other types of guard passes. With a little creativity, you can apply these concepts across a wide field of passing strategies, ultimately setting up various submissions from the bottom or improving to more comfortable types of guard, eventually sweeping.

About the author
Andrew Smith teaches gi and no-gi seminars across the country, and runs Revolution BJJ in Richmond, VA. Check out a complete index of his tutorials here. Subscribe to the Revolution BJJ Youtube page here.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • revolutionbjj profile image
      Author

      Andrew Smith 3 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Legitsu, maybe even?

    • profile image

      legitsu 3 years ago

      LEGIT

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, howtheyplay.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://howtheyplay.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)