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Half Guard BJJ Instructional Video
Full Guard BJJ
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Full Guard BJJ

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was created early in the 20th century by Helio, and Carlos Gracie. The brothers developed this formidable combat system after learning the intricate details of Kodokan Judo, which was an ancient form of Japanese Jiu Jitsu. The system of grappling was designed for the smaller person to defeat a larger, and stronger opponent. Fighting stronger opponents created the need to use leverage, and technique to outmaneuver, and trap opponents into joint locks, and choke holds. Because the art was designed for the smaller, and weaker athletes, they would commonly be unable to stay on top of an opponent, and certainly would struggle with applying any form of significant pressure.

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This brought about the need for students of this calibre to have extensive guard applications. Smaller students would usually have an outstanding jiu jitsu closed guard, and this was because of the tremendous amount of time they would spend underneath stronger, and heavier opponents. Being smaller would mean the student would have to be crafty, and use a sneakier method of advancing their position. This would mean that these students would also have a greater ability to escape from dominant control positions, by first securing the bjj half guard. Utilising a diverse range of guard techniques became a crucial element in the early days of Jiu Jitsu, right through to the modern era where utilising complex guards like the single leg x guard, the 50/50 guard, and the coyote guard bjj game, has become more dynamic.

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WHAT IS THE FULL GUARD

The full guard is also known as the closed guard, and is one of the most common guards in the game of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. For over 100 years the art of BJJ has used the iconic guard system, where athletes were commonly known to pull guard bjj against their opponents. To secure the full guard a student will use their legs to wrap around the waist of their opponent.

Accomplished grappler and academy owner, James Booth offers his FULL GUARD FORMULA  for grapplers of all ages and body types.  You can get yours Accomplished grappler and academy owner, James Booth offers his FULL at BJJFanatics.com!

bjj full guard

The guard can be secured from the standing position, as students would sometimes jump guard, but more commonly the guard was secured from the seated position. To have a good full guard it takes more than just having a student's legs wrapped firmly around the waist of their opponent. They should also be breaking the posture of their opponent down, by grabbing hold of a neck and a wrist grip, or in the Gi using a collar grip, and a sleeve grip. If a student does not use some form of grip on the upper body of their opponent, then they will easily posture up and attempt to break out of the guard before passing, which can put the student back to square one, and force them to have to escape all over again.

SWEEPS FROM THE FULL GUARD

Utilising sweeps from the full guard can be a great way to stay in control, and end up in a dominant control position like the mount. One of the most common, and more basic sweeps that is taught to beginner students is the hip bump sweep, or the kimura sweep. To achieve this sweep the student must first manipulate the arms of their opponent. Commonly when a student has the full guard their opponent will have both of their hands in the abdomen, or the hips of the student, as they attempt to create space and break guard. It is here that the student must grip one of their wrists, and move it to the mat, before reaching up over the elbow with their opposite hand, and threading through and grabbing their own wrist. This is called the kimura grip, as they will commonly attempt the kimura submission. To get the kimura sweep the student will let go of their own wrist, switching the grip to their opponent's wrist, and bringing up their other hand to post high off the mat. From here they will use their hips to roll their opponent over towards the arm they have trapped. This is an extremely common sweep for beginners, but can also still work for high level competitors.

Another good sweep from the full guard is the pendulum sweep. To execute this technique the student will commonly start by securing an over hook on one of their opponents arms, or a sleeve grip that is nice and tight being held to their chest. Using an over hook is a better method of executing this sweep, as they can also reach through and grab their own lapel, making the over hook extremely tight. The next step is to dive under their opponent's leg with their opposite arm, and switch their hips from straight to more of a 45 degree angle. From this position the student will create a pendulum movement by using their leg that is closest to the over hook. They will start swinging their leg away, and using the momentum to kick their other leg through, while they push up underneath their opponent's thigh creating a momentum shift, where they will sweep their opponent over onto their back. This is a great sweep because the student can follow the movement, and land straight into the full mount.

One of the best sweeps from the full guard is the scissor sweep, but it does involve opening a full guard, and bringing their knee into a knee shield position. If a student is competing against a high level guard passer, or a heavy opponent, this may be a hard sweep to execute. To perform the scissor sweep the student will firstly secure a collar grip, and a sleeve grip, or they can use a necktie. Once they have secured these controls they will slightly open their guard, before sliding one of their knees into the sternum of their opponent. From this position they should lean back, and lift their opponent up over their abdomen, and this will help to take away their base, and help unbalance their opponent. Once they are in this position their other leg will go to the mat blocking the far leg of their opponent, as they kick it inwards and their other leg scissors across, creating a momentum shift forcing their opponent onto their back. This is another sweep where the student can follow the movement, and move straight into a mount attack.

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SUBMISSIONS FROM THE FULL GUARD

Using the full guard in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gives a student a comprehensive range of submission attacks. Practitioners have been using this guard since the inception of Jiu Jitsu into the early 1900's with a high success rate of submission maneuvers. There are many ways to attack a submission from the full guard, as a student can decide to switch into other guards like the williams guard, the lasso guard, or the bjj spider guard. Submissions like the triangle are a great weapon of choice, as they can be set up straight from the closed guard, or the technique can be utilised from more of a bjj open guard. There are many ways to secure the triangle submission, with one of the most common ways starting with two wrist grips. The student will push one wrist into the belly of their opponent, and pull one wrist towards their own chest, as they step up off of the hip, and shoot one of their legs over the neck of their opponent, locking them into the mix. From this position the student will then grab hold of her own shin pulling down on the back of their opponent's neck, as they lock their other leg over their foot, creating a triangle locking mechanism.

The arm bar would have to be one of the most versatile submissions in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Accessing the arm can happen from any position, and is extremely common from within the confines of the closed guard. To set up the arm bar the student must first secure a grip on their opponent's arm. A good tip to remember for a student is to grab the wrist of the same side arm that is in front of them, and use their other arm crossing over the body of their opponent, and cupping onto the back of the tricep. Once the student has this grip they should tuck their elbows into their body, keeping the arm trapped into their chest. The next step is to step up onto the same side hip as the arm they have trapped, before using their other leg to cup underneath their opponent's other armpit, and up over the top of their shoulder, as they cut to a 45 degree angle. To finish the maneuver the student can now bring that foot from off of their opponent's hip, and circle it around in front of their face until their hamstring is pulling down onto the side of their head. This will expose the arm, as they can now put two hands onto the wrist, with their thumb facing upwards, before lifting their hips and hyperextending the arm.

There are just too many submissions to talk about from the full guard, as this position has many core movements that can be achieved. Students should always be looking to set traps by baiting their opponent into thinking they are going for a certain maneuver, before switching into something else. Staying ahead of their opponent in the transition is crucial to achieving any type of submission. Nowadays defending submissions is not easy, but most students are well versed, and well conditioned in how to survive, and defend a submission. No matter which setup a student uses they can achieve a multitude of different submissions like the omoplata, the kimura, the cross collar choke, the ezekiel choke, the guillotine, the arm triangle, and many more. 

THE DEFENSIVE FULL GUARD

Utilising the full guard is not just to attack submissions like joint locks, and choke holds. The guard can be an extremely reliable defense mechanism to help a student find respiration during the heat of an extremely tough battle. Most practitioners of the sport have been stuck underneath a heavy mount, or in the clutches of a death defying submission. Navigating a way out of these kinds of obstacles can be extremely challenging, as a student always has the shining light of the guard. This is what guard retention is, and a student will use technique, and desperation to frame their way out of bad positions, before achieving the half guard, and then the full guard. Sometimes a student may find themselves up against an extremely high level opponent who they just cannot beat, and reaching the guard can be a victory in itself, as no student likes to get submitted, and would much rather last for the time duration.

The beauty of the full guard is that it can be accessed during a lot of different scenarios. Even when a student is successfully setting up submission attempts like the triangle, or the arm bar they may find themself losing the position, as their opponent begins to defend. During these types of situations an opponent will start to gain a greater advantage in the middle of the transition, and what can be a common mistake for a student is to think that if they just hold on they can achieve the submission. When dealing with the triangle a student will often throw up their legs only to be met with an opponent who stacks them, and throws their legs to one side, before passing their guard. This can be avoided if during that transition the student decided to give up on the triangle, and used a defensive mindset to swing back into the full guard. There is no shame in giving up on a submission halfway through, and going back to the closed guard, as this is a tactical advantage, and is how a student will win at this game of human chess.

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HOW TO BREAK THE FULL GUARD

One of the hardest things to do in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is break a closed guard, and this is because nowadays students have extremely tight guards, and know how to use inversion techniques to stifle a guard passer. There are many different ways to break a closed guard, with one of the most common ways being the knee stretch. This involves a student starting by staggering their grips into an opponent's hips, and placing one knee firmly into the middle of their opponent's buttocks. It is important to remember that this position can force students to lose their balance, so they must be ready to step their knee back out to a more stable position. Once their knee is in their opponent's buttocks, they will use their other leg stepping backwards, as this will force their opponent to lose the guard position. It is important from this moment that the student takes a good grip on the knees, or underneath the thighs of their opponent, and works hard to pass the guard straight away, otherwise their opponent will simply retain guard.

Accomplished grappler and academy owner, James Booth offers his FULL GUARD FORMULA  for grapplers of all ages and body types.  You can get yours Accomplished grappler and academy owner, James Booth offers his FULL at BJJFanatics.com!

full guard jiu jitsu

Another good method of breaking the guard will start as a student takes hold of one of their opponents wrists with both hands pinning it to their chest. From here the student will step up onto the side where their opponent does not have a free arm, before stepping up onto the second foot, with this one slightly backwards. This will stop any chance of their opponent hooking under their leg, and stopping the guard break. Once they are in the standing position the student will use their frames to crack open the legs of their opponent's guard, before taking control around the outer of their thighs, and wrestling their way through for an easy pass. There are many different ways to break a guard in BJJ, as these days the accessibility of these types of techniques are available online through the popular platforms like bjjfanatics.com, and YouTube. Working on fundamentals like guard breaking, and guard passing are important elements which will help a student improve exponentially at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. 

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