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DONKEY GUARD BJJ
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DONKEY GUARD BJJ

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu started off as a simplistic form of self defense, but throughout its evolution the art has become quite a comprehensive series of technical movements. The days of old saw practitioners utilising guards like the bjj half guard, the closed guard, and the open guard, as a self defense system. Since the art has become more heavily linked to a sporting aspect, new age grapplers are mastering guards like the 50/50 guard, the saddle guard, the ashi gurami guard, and the bjj inverted guard. These newer styles of guards are all designed to trap opponents into the leg entanglement bjj game, where the newest trends are to submit opponents with different heel hook variations, and other leg lock submissions.

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These new trends also include the more outlandish guard systems like the bjj rubber guard, and the donkey guard. As the modern day grappler uses an innovative style of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and the older more traditional styles are being lost to the detriment of the sport. However, many of the new styles of guard do incorporate the older traditional styles within its parameters. The donkey guard may be more of a tactic used to avoid stalling within Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition matches, but there are extensive techniques in the forms of sweeps, and submissions that practitioners can apply using Jeff Glover's donkey guard systems.

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WHAT IS THE DONKEY GUARD

The donkey guard is an outlandish style of guard that was  created to frustrate, and annoy an opponent. Commonly some opponents will use stalling tactics during Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition matches, especially as the fight draws to a close. The donkey guard is used as a way to encourage an opponent to take the back of an athlete. From the standing position an athlete would basically turn their back on their opponent, and wait for them to engage.

Jeff Glover is one of the most innovative grapplers in history.  Learn the secrets of his creative and amazingly effective DONKEY GUARD series from BJJFanatics.com!

donkey guard jiu jitsu

As the opponent draws near to the back of the athlete, they will use their hands as a springboard off of the mats, while shooting their legs backwards, and securing a reverse guard position around the abdomen of their opponent. The donkey guard can also be utilised from the seated position, as an athlete can secure this guard, while using inversion techniques, or during a scramble when an opponent attempts to pass the guard. 

WHO INVENTED THE DONKEY GUARD

The donkey guard was created by Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt Jeff Glover, at first as a joke, but then as a way to distract, and annoy opponents that were prone to using stalling tactics. The wider Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community has been divided on the professionalism of this concept, as many of them feel the position is disrespectful to an opponent. This has resulted in the technique being banned from multiple Jiu Jitsu competition organisations. Jeff Glover has been widely known for his outlandish style in competitions, as he baits his opponents by turning his back on them, waiting for them to attack, and surprising them with innovative submission attempts. He began developing this guard, after it started as a takedown, where the athlete would give up their back on feet, and wait for their opponent to engage, before launching their legs backwards, and securing a reverse guard. Jeff would use this position successfully in many of his tournaments on the North American east coast. 

The history of this guard position has only recently been added to the Jiu Jitsu arsenal of moves. Since its creation it has gained some notoriety, as some practitioners will use the donkey guard to stifle an opponent, and to execute maneuvers that have direct links to the guard. The concept of the donkey guard is not new to Martial Arts, as the scissor takedown, or the kani basami as known in Japanese, uses a similar concept. The scissor takedown is an illegal move in most Martial Arts competitions, and this is why Jeff Glover created his own version that he could successfully use in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments. The idea behind the donkey guard was designed to force an opponent to engage in the fight, rather than using stalling tactics on the feet.

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IS THE DONKEY GUARD REALISTICALLY EFFECTIVE

There has been much debate in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighting community about the audacity of the donkey guard system. Many old traditionalists believe this guard is an insult, and a slap in the face to every competitor that has stepped onto the mats. The modern day grappler has a different opinion, and believes this guard has an extensive amount of potential waiting to be unearthed in various Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques. Judging the effectiveness of the donkey guard can be extremely difficult, as it really is a transitional style of guard. Watching some athletes execute this guard on their opponents, it is quite a hard guard to escape from, and it does have opportunities that can help an athlete achieve submissions, and sweep maneuvers. Like many new guards the community often will debate on the functionality of its core. The donkey guard has received similar attention to other previous guards like Keenan Cornelius' gubber guard, and the new stylings of other guards like Rene Dreifuss' rat guard bjj game, or Eddie Bravo's rubber guard, and twister side control systems. The biggest problem in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu today is that many of the old traditionalists are not willing to have an open mind to the newer more modern techniques, and even though some of these modern day techniques have ridiculous names, they all can be extremely beneficial systems to a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athlete.

SWEEPS FROM THE DONKEY GUARD 

Utilising different sweeps from this awkward style of guard can be simplistic for an athlete. Even though the donkey guard is frowned upon by most of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community, there is merit in its sweeping and submission game. An easy sweep to accomplish from the donkey guard involves an athlete rolling underneath their opponent, as they grab the back of their legs. This grip on the legs will help to stabilise an athlete as they attempt this sweeping maneuver. The next step should happen as a continuous movement from the initial roll, as the athlete will push both of their opponent's legs forward. This will force their opponent to post with both of their hands on the mat, as the athlete can now control their legs, and choose which way they want to go. The back take is predominantly the most viable option from this sweep, but they can also throw their legs to the side and secure a side control position. 

There is another great sweep variation from the donkey guard that bares a similar resemblance to the imanari roll. This is the same sweep that Jeff Glover  gained significant notoriety for, after using it in the 2011 ADCC championships. After setting up all the right controls with an athlete's hands on the mat, and their legs wrapped around their waist in a reverse guard, the athlete will attempt a similar movement to the imanari roll. The athlete will roll through on an angle, as one of their legs will swing around and hook their opponent's leg, tripping them to the mat, where the athlete will end up on top of their opponent. From here the athlete will apply significant pressure, and look to pass their opponent's guard.

DONKEY GUARD TRANSITIONS

The donkey guard may be an extremely unorthodox guard position, but one aspect that can be relied upon is the ability a student will have to transition into other guard attacks. From the donkey guard it is achievable to access many guards like the 50/50 guard, the ashi gurami guard, the saddle guard, the x guard, and even the bjj spider guard. Using the donkey guard can be extremely effective, as it does allow inversion techniques like the imanari roll, or techniques from the tornado guard. Using a sweep that enables an athlete to roll over their shoulder is a great way to transition into back takes, where the athlete can utilise crab rides, and set up dangerous chokes like the rear naked choke, the military choke, loop chokes, and arm bars from the back. Using transitional components are extremely important for a successful Brazilian Jiu Jitsu game style, and using them from the donkey guard is the natural progression of this movement.

SUBMISSIONS FROM THE DONKEY GUARD 

Using the donkey guard is quite the unorthodox position, as many athletes would believe it is more of a defensive position than an attacking one. Although the donkey guard can be used to subdue, and stall an opponent, it can also be quite advantageous in submitting their opponents. Starting from the donkey guard position, the athlete will attempt to use an imanari type of roll to trap their opponent's leg, and cause them to fall to the mat. From this position the athlete will secure the heel of their opponent, and lock into an inside heel hook. If the athlete loses position on the heel hook, then they can always switch into a toe hold submission. This position has become extremely popular in No Gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition.

Another submission that is highly effective from the donkey guard is a knee bar. This submission can be executed before the donkey guard is fully secured, as the athlete will turn their back and wait for their opponent to engage. As the opponent steps in for their control, the athlete will position their legs around one of their opponent's legs, before securing their grip around the leg. The next step is for the athlete to roll underneath their opponent, as this actively exposes the knee bar. All the athlete needs to do now is hyperextend the knee joint, or they can switch into a variety of other leg locks like the heel hook, toe hold, the ankle lock, or a calf slicer. 

Another submission that can be achieved is a reverse triangle, but this submission is generally executed when the opponent is on their knees. To secure the reverse triangle the athlete will have a tight control around their opponent's waist with their legs. Commonly the opponent will actively be trying to break open the guard, and this will allow an opportunity to turn their hips, and control one of their opponents arms. The next step is to push the arm underneath the athlete's thigh, before shooting their leg backwards, and locking into a reverse triangle. This may not be an easy submission to set up, or to finish, so a good option is to kick the momentum backwards pushing their opponent's back onto the mat. This will enhance the opportunity to finish the submission, or transition into other attacks like the arm bar.

Another submission that is a Jeff Glover special is the donkey guillotine. This submission may be low percentage, or only accessible to athletes like the Jeff Glover type, but it is an option, especially when an opponent takes control of the back. With this submission the athlete will only turn their back without gaining an actual control with their legs. It is important to throw one arm backwards, and allow the opponent to take a grip around the body. From here the athlete will use their free arm to scoop over their head in a guillotine grip, as they spin their body towards their opponent. To finish this choke they can connect their hands together behind their back, and angle into the guillotine choke. The other option is to not connect their hands behind their back, and just shoot in for a normal guillotine choke.

HOW TO DEFEND THE DONKEY GUARD 

Defending the donkey guard is a concept that needs to happen as a preventative measure. If an opponent turns their back on an athlete then there is usually something sinister at play. Engaging an opponent who is clearly baiting for the donkey guard, the athlete needs to be aggressive and take control and not allow their opponent to throw their legs backwards.

Jeff Glover is one of the most innovative grapplers in history.  Learn the secrets of his creative and amazingly effective DONKEY GUARD series from BJJFanatics.com!

bjj donkey guard

Instead the athlete should take control, and use techniques like the valley drop, the foot sweep, or engage their hooks in fast to gain a dominant back control. Once an opponent does have control with their legs, the athlete can use grips to open up the guard, just like a normal guard brake. A key component is to not allow the opponent to roll underneath the athlete, so it is important to lower themself into a combat base, and attempt their guard breaking techniques.

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