Can Wrestling Actually Help Your Guard?
A lot of BJJ practitioners will cross-train wrestling to help improve their takedowns. What good is your top game if you can't get the fight there, right? While you are working on those important single legs and double legs, you might actually be building some fundamental skills that can improve your grappling in a lot of other areas, including off your back! That might sound a little off since wrestlers hate to be on their back, but keep these 3 ideas in mind the next time you are playing guard or lacing up your wrestling shoes.
See the guard that grappling wizard and catch wrestling expert Neil Melanson has turned into one of the trickiest on the planet!
Control The Inside
When you are setting up your best takedowns, it's incredibly important to be hand fighting for the most dominant tie up. If you watch two experienced wrestlers spar, they are always pummeling for the inside position, because that will give them a little more control and power when it comes time to attack. When you are on your back playing guard, this same principle is true! You always want to be the one in charge of the grip fighting, and controlling the inside space. If the top fighter can start to take control of that space, they can start pressuring and opening your guard, and taking over the fight.
Move Them, Don't Let Them Move You
No wrestler ever wants to get moved around the mat. Those collar clubs and snap downs are great setups, and you always want to be the one who is moving your opponent around the mat, imposing your action on them. In the same way, when you are playing guard, you want to keep things on your terms. You always want to be the one who is creating the action and making your opponent respond! The more you are leading and they are following, the less you are at risk of getting attacked, so (just like our wrestling friends) do the work to move them, instead of being moved around!
Don't Get Pinned Down!
If there's one thing wrestlers learn pretty quick, it's don't get pinned! It's the ultimate form of victory and their sport, and they will fight with every muscle to avoid being flattened out. This is actually a great thing to remember when you are on bottom too! A guard with your entire back flat is usually a good sign you are not generating much offense because it's hard to find a good angle or create any momentum to attack a sweep or lock on a submission. Instead, find ways to keep creating angles by favoring one side or another, or working your hips up your opponent so you can move a little more freely. Simply put, even in BJJ, try not to get pinned down!
Find Out About The Ground Marshal Guard That Neil Melanson Taps Everyone With
Is this an extensive list of principles that wrestling can bring to your guard? Definitely not! But it's a good starting place, and a few ideas you can keep in mind when you are cross training to become the best grappler you can be.
Neil Melanson is one of the world's premier grappling coaches, with fundamentals and ideas from so many different grappling styles that his approach is all his own. See how he uses his catch wrestling style to attack off his back with the Ground Marshall Guard 4-volume set, available now!