COYOTE GUARD BJJ
There are many different guard systems in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that range from a simple bjj half guard all the way through to the more intricate, and complex lasso lapel guard. Mastering techniques in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will help an athlete improve certain aspects of their game style, but mastering a concept is how an athlete will form a true understanding of the position. This is more beneficial to an athlete, and it means they will then have an easier time learning techniques, and creating their own variations. Mastering Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is not necessarily about mimicking their instructors movements, but it is more about carving out their own pathway within the art.
What this article covers:
- What Is the Coyote Guard
- The Development of the Coyote Guard
- How to Sweep from the Coyote Guard
- How to Pass the Coyote Guard
Athletes will always implement different parts of their instructors' game style, whether it is passing the guard, takedown maneuvers, or just different guard systems. When an athlete chooses to major in becoming a guard player there is now a huge range of technical guard systems that they can choose from. Some athletes will use different lapel guards like the worm guard, the squid guard, the gubber guard, or the bjj spider guard. The modern day athlete has a different approach, and will use guards that attack the leg like the 50/50 guard, the saddle guard, and the bjj inverted guard. The older and more traditional guards like the half guard, or the bjj closed guard are still highly effective even in the modern day of submission grappling. This is why the coyote guard is a great choice for athletes to master, because of its core functionality with its attacking style of half guard.
WHAT IS THE COYOTE GUARD
The coyote guard is an extremely effective form of half guard. Utilising a half guard in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has always been a defensive mechanism, until Roberto Correa developed the attacking style of half guard. Since this evolution many other half guard positions have become available like the deep half guard, the lock down guard, the bjj z guard, the knee shield guard, the half butterfly guard, and the x guard can even be considered as a half guard. Now the coyote guard has become a weapon of choice for high level athletes like Lucas Leite, and Mica Galvao.
To secure the coyote guard the athlete will thread their leg around their opponent's leg like a normal half guard. From here they will scoop both of their hands deep, as one will thread through into an under hook, while the other goes underneath their opponent's leg. The athlete will then tuck their head in deep towards their opponent's hip, where they will have a really deep control of an opponent's hip area. What makes this guard different to other half guard positions is that the athlete will use their legs to twist their opponent's leg out into a forty five degree angle, making their opponent extremely unbalanced, and inevitably easier to sweep.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF MODERNISED GUARDS
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has evolved considerably from its initial function as a self defense combat system. The development of the art has been catapulted significantly in the last decade with many high level athletes adding their own adaptations of the art. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has moved from the more simplistic bjj full guard into a more versatile range of intricate guard systems. The lapel guard system has become extremely complex with a wide range of different ways to trap, and entangle opponents. Nowadays there is a rather high number of black belts worldwide, and this has helped significantly, as many of them have added developments into each different guard system.
The modern day grappler is becoming more and more interested in competing in No Gi grappling tournaments. This has seen a significant rise in athletes learning the leg entanglement bjj game style. The development of the leg lock game has grown in leaps and bounds, as pioneers like Dean Lister, Masakazu Imanari, John Danaher, and Erik Paulson have lit a fuse into the heart of the more modern day athlete. Nowadays athletes like Craig Jones, Gordon Ryan, Gary Tonan, Lachlan Giles, and Eddie Cummings are all high level leg locking specialists. The development of the leg attack has become quite substantial with a range of guards that include the 50/50, the ashi garami, the saddle, the cross ashi, the outside ashi garami, the inside sankaku, and the Sambo leg knot.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE COYOTE GUARD
The coyote half guard was created by Lucas Leite, who is one of the most formidable Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitors within the sport. Lucas is a three time No Gi world champion, and an IBJJF Gi world champion. His success on the world stage of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become phenomenal, as he has begun to further add his own innovation to the sport. He developed his own signature half guard called the coyote guard, and it got its name because of its similar positioning to Eddie Bravo's dog fight position. The coyote guard was developed to help a smaller athlete overwhelm a bigger, stronger, and heavier opponent. Due to the extensive positioning of the athlete's legs, this guard has a way of twisting up an opponent, which will make passing the guard a tricky prospect. Lucas has had many successes with this style of guard in professional competition, and other athletes are also using this highly developed guard position.
HOW TO SWEEP FROM THE COYOTE GUARD
Sweeping from the coyote guard has a range of advantages. One of these is that before an athlete can decide to use the coyote, their entry into this guard can also switch between the coyote and the deep half guard. This is a great functionality, as it can help an athlete tremendously in achieving a sweep. If an opponent is unsure of how the athlete is setting up, then trying to defend and pass the guard becomes increasingly difficult for the opponent. To achieve an easy sweep the athlete will set up into the coyote guard, and really put some torque on the leg, as it twists away from the opponent’s body. From here it's just a matter of the athlete using their shoulder to lift up, as they switch their legs in the opposite direction, and use that leverage to turn their opponent, and climb up into a side control position.
Another good sweep is when the athlete switches into the deep half guard. This sweep is a highly effective one, and can be done in conjunction with the coyote sweep. To use this deep half guard sweep the athlete should position their body into the deep half position, and think of this sweep as a movement that only needs themself to move. This means that the sweep does not actually need the opponent to be moved at all, rather due to the deep positioning of the guard the athlete just has to move themself. As the athlete holds onto a tight grip around the leg, they only have to circle themself around their opponent's leg toward the outside, as they roll onto the top of their opponent's leg. This will force the opponent to fall into a seated position, as the athlete begins to move into a more dominant control position.
Another variation of the coyote guard sweep involves a slightly different set up. The athlete will secure the half guard, reaching both of their hands in with one underneath the leg, and the other securing an under hook. Their leg positioning will switch, as they remove their bottom leg hook, and replace it with a top leg hook, before pulling their heel back towards their own hip. This will create an angle on their opponent's leg that will cause them significant discomfort. Once they have this position secured they will release their arm from underneath the leg, and place it on the outside of their opponent's closest hip, while their under hook reaches deep and secures a grip on the far hip. From here the athlete will use this position to get to their knees, as their nearside hip grip moves to secure the hamstring, and what will usually happen is the opponent will fight to get the athlete back down on the mat. Using their opponent's downward momentum, the athlete will do a forward roll, and use the momentum to roll their opponent over onto their back. This sweep is great for unbalancing an opponent, and then catching them off guard with the forward roll.
COYOTE GUARD SUBMISSIONS
There are multiple ways to secure submissions from the coyote half guard. There is a good transition into an arm bar that involves an athlete to be smooth and precise. The first step is to secure a half guard, before scooting in deep, and securing the coyote guard position. With this variation the athlete needs to have one hand on the far hip, with their other hand posting off of the mat. An important tip to remember is to make sure the opponent cannot grab the elbow of the athlete's posted hand, as this will make it hard to transition. After the athlete has torqued their opponent's leg towards the outside, they will proceed to push into their opponent, causing them to react and try to push them back down to the mat. Commonly an opponent will secure an over hook in the dog fight position, and this is where the athlete will hook the forearm, and then dive underneath for a leg grip. From here the athlete's momentum will force a roll over sweep, and as they land on top they can scoot into an arm bar position with the arm they have already hooked.
Another successful chain of submission attacks is the kneebar fake to the calf slicer. To achieve this submission an athlete will secure the coyote guard, while making sure all of their levers are tight, so that the opponent does not secure an under hook. With this submission it is ok to allow the opponent to get the athlete flat on their back, because this will only advantage the athlete in finishing the submission. All the athlete has to do is leave their top hook just above the knee joint, while their bottom hook is wrapped around the leg, and begins to slide down the calf. This will begin to force the leg into a knee bar, which can be a legitimate submission, but easy for the opponent to defend. As the opponent begins to lift their leg to defend the kneebar, the athlete will drop their bottom hook in behind the knee joint, as they create a triangle with their other leg, and place two hands on the opponent’s foot, pulling the leg down into a calf slicer.
Another good submission will occur as the opponent will force the athlete to switch into the deep half guard. From this position they will shoot their hips under their opponent's leg so they are almost facing their opponent with their left hamstring connected to their opponent's leg. From here the athlete will slip their right knee into the groin of their opponent, as they create space with it, slightly changing the angle of their hips. Now the athlete will push into the opponent’s hip to create more space, as they slip their left knee under their leg. Now they can remove their right leg, and throw it over their opponent's leg, creating a strong position on the leg. To finish the submission the athlete can choose to angle into a kneebar, switch their angle to execute a heel hook, or apply a toe hold. Utilising leg lock submissions are extremely high level maneuvers, and are usually extremely successful in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition.
HOW TO PASS THE COYOTE GUARD
Defending the coyote half guard position has a few different stages that an athlete can utilise. The first aspect for the athlete is to shoot their other leg backwards, as this will make it hard for an opponent to secure a grip underneath their leg. The next stage is to secure a grip on the opponent’s back just below the armpit with a stiff arm, before they can get a really deep grip with their under hook. The athlete will then post off of the mat with their opposite hand, as they shoot their trapped leg backwards, and onto their toes. This will allow the athlete to angle their knee, and place it in the hip of their opponent. This will force the opponent onto their back, which will open up a gap between the athlete, and their opponent's under hook. Now the athlete can pummel in for an underhook, and begin to knee slice, or knee cut their way through the guard. This is a highly successful guard pass, which can be made even stronger by linking an athlete's hands together, and applying head pressure up underneath the jaw of their opponent.
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