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BJJ Instructional Videos
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Gordon Ryan Explains The Open Guard

Gordon Ryan Explains The Open Guard



The open guard is as exciting as it is versatile. Anything can happen as we set up and wait for the guard passer to approach and we begin to respond. But are you just choosing an open guard posture randomly or are you setting yourself up in the best way possible to respond to the passer’s advancements? A guard passer can choose to move forward in a variety of ways. They all have different goals and there are factors that should be considered as we attempt to answer their movements.

Whether you’re a leg locker, always hunting for the reversal, or looking to take the back, the open guard offers direct pathways to all of these areas. Our first experiences are usually a bit rough, as we try to navigate the waters of the position. Its likely that early on, while attempting to implement the open guard, your training partners may have been passing your guard with relative ease. But as we become more attuned with the tools of the open guard, we begin to catch our mistakes and start developing a game. It’s critical to further this game and the knowledge of what’s possible here with the right approach. 

Enter Gordon Ryan…

Gordon Ryan has become a household name in BJJ. His accomplishments are far reaching and at such a young age, its hard to believe that this young man is probably just getting started. He recently took home double gold at the 2019 ADCC world championships. Winning both his weight class and the absolute division. This is an incredible feat and one that not many, even at the highest levels, can say they have accomplished. 

If you’ve ever looked in to any instructional material from Ryan, you know that he has an incredibly systemized approach to each position and its utilities. He doesn’t leave jiu-jitsu to chance. Rather, he has blueprints for every position, its unique intricacies, and its contingencies. Ryan has been able to take a scientific approach to jiu-jitsu in his instruction and now he’s sharing his findings with the world.

Ryan’s open guard is more than dangerous and he’s demonstrated this time and time again at the highest levels. It seems he’s able to funnel his opponents down a path of bad decisions that ultimately lead to their demise. But this is not a product of athleticism or luck, it’s a product of intense study, focus, and preemptive planning. Ryan understands the common scenarios that take shape as guard passers begin their charge and he has different set of reactionary plans for all of these varying situations. In this video, Ryan explains to us how to navigate the open guard and the goals we should set for ourselves as we begin working from the position. You’ll want to see this!


In this segment, Gordon will outline 4 different open guard scenarios that we might find ourselves in and provide some notes on how we should respond to each one.

Ryan explains here that our goals consist of exposing the passers centerline or exposing the back in order to gain favorable position. Exposing the centerline will open up attacks on the legs and upper body. Back exposure will create a myriad of opportunities and help to keep the passer in danger. 

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Constant off balancing will also be a player here. As Ryan explains, off balancing will lead to the extension of limbs, and we all know that’s not good. This can be accomplished by the continual threat of the sweep. As we pursue the reversal, our opponents will be on constant alert as they work to keep themselves grounded and balanced. This leads to mistakes and moments of opportunity that we can take advantage of. 

1 – Opponent standing with their feet square

This is exactly as it sounds. As we take a seated position, the guard passer is standing directly in front of us with their feet parallel to each other. In this position, the passer is exposing their own centerline and Ryan can get right to work. 

2 – Opponent with staggered stance

Here, we have an opponent with a clear lead leg and one leg back. With a staggered stance Ryan must take it upon himself to produce centerline or back exposure. In an example, Ryan advances and begins to harass his partner’s feet, causing a reaction and centerline exposure. To create back exposure, Ryan quickly demonstrates a very slick movement. As his partner begins to step across the front side of his body to achieve an angle, Ryan keeps him moving by using his instep to create an exaggerated step. This opens up a path to begin attacking the back. 

3 – Opponent on 2 knees 

Our opponent has decided to come down to the ground and position themselves on 2 knees. AS Ryan explains, this can the toughest form of passer to deal with, as they are keeping everything from us and we’ll need ways to make them open up. Here, with his partner on 2 knees, Ryan attempts a simple butterfly sweep. This action entices his partner to step up on his outside leg in order to maintain base. Ryan has now created limb extension and can begin to attack.

4 – Opponent on knees with one knee up

Often referred to as a “combat base” the passer has elected to begin working with one knee on the ground and the other pointed at the ceiling. Here, the goals will be similar to the previous position, but there may be different opportunities to off balance and varying options for entries in to good position. 

The open guard can be a bit of a tornado. As Bernardo Faria explains with some closing thoughts, many of us don’t even know what were; doing. We’re just hoping to catch the passer as they attempt to fly by us. This is not a good approach to the position. Understanding the different passing postures and common scenarios that Ryan outlines in his instructional will help you to manage this position with an increased understanding. 

I was fortunate enough to sit in on some of the filming of this instructional and I have to say, the level of understanding that Ryan possesses and the approach to instruction is just simply on another level. There are no stones left unturned and every possible reaction is accounted for. This is a very fun way to learn. Ryan isn’t just spitting out techniques, he’s providing a roadmap to all the different reactions you’ll encounter and how to respond to each one. Amazing stuff. 

My Evolution Your Revolution by Gordon Ryan

While you wait for Gordon’s next big release, you might as well Revolutionize your game! My Evolution Your Revolution is exactly what you need for that revolution!



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