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Gordon Ryan Is Here to Fix Your Sumi Gaeshi

Gordon Ryan Is Here to Fix Your Sumi Gaeshi

Gordon Ryan is arguably the best No Gi grappler in the world and by all accounts looks to remain at the top of the heap for the foreseeable future.  From his historic ADCC debut in 2017 to his dominating double gold performance in Anaheim in 2019, Gordon has moved the bar far beyond his competition of late.  Once known as the overly confident young kid with the leg locks, Gordon has transformed himself into the unstoppable King of the Grappling world who basically wins by whatever he feels like at the time.  

Superfight matches that opponents spend weeks and months prepping for quickly turn into science projects based on whatever Gordon and the Evil BJJ genius John Danaher are currently working on in the blue laboratory in Manhattan.  With shocking ease, each opponent is dispatched and in the post-match interview we hear that Gordon's been playing with this position or that and that's how he decided to win.  He simply makes a very complex and difficult task look too easy.

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One of the positions or skills that Gordon has been working on very intensely in recent months is his Open Guard, particularly the Sumi Gaeshi or Butterfly Guard position.  With plans to release a vast, encyclopedic breakdown of one of the least understood positions in BJJ, the Open Guard, Gordon took some time out from filming to discuss some key concepts and philosophy behind his very successful use of Sumi Gaeshi at the highest levels of competition.

Check out the video below from Bernardo Faria and then stick around for a quick breakdown of some key ideas from the video:

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 Let's look at some key principles from the video that will have you dumping opponents (and internet trolls) on their faces before long:

STICKY HOOKS

Pulling back the toes towards the shins and keep a tight connection to the inner thigh of the opponent is crucial to this entire butterfly guard project.  Without "sticky hooks" that follow the opponent's hip movements, they will easily be able to slip past, freeing their hip to slip to the side or potentially crush your two legs together making it easy to pass any way they would like.

 

GET THE OPPONENT'S CENTER OF GRAVITY OVER YOURS

Until their hips are directly over yours, you are not fully in control of their weight and the direction their body is going.  Bringing them directly over you makes them the lightest you can possibly make them and ensures that you have maximum control of where they go next.  This allows you to set up your sweep or potentially transition into some sort of attack position, i.e. ashi garami.

CONCAVE SHOULDERS

Curving your back and shoulders towards your opponent allows you be much more mobile and ensures that you can bring the opponent's weight directly over you.  Having your back flat is a great way in this case to make your life very hard trying to pull your opponent onto you.

UNDERSTANDING THE TWO TYPES OF SWEEPS

For Gordon, we must make the clear distinction between two distinct types of Sumi Gaeshi sweeps and their relative success rate.  The most effective of the two are considered "Chest to Chest Sweeps" where we are able to utilize underhooks or some sort of control that connects our chest to our opponent's chest.  This also helps keep their center of gravity in close proximity to our own to allow for maximum control and power.

The second type of sweep would be the "Non Chest to Chest" sweeps where perhaps you are off to the side of the opponent and driving them with collar control to the side to unbalance them and sweep them away from you.  These are less idea because of the relative lack of connection and the fact that once swept you are not nearly as tightly conjoined with them allowing them to begin recovering and launching their own offense.

 At the close of the video, Bernardo asked him essentially what was the secret to his success with the Butterfly Guard position.  Interestingly, he used a concept that runs like a Reddit Thread through Gordon's game, the concept of Inside Control.  By always keeping the sticky hooks between Bernardo's thighs and the knees within the space of Bernardo's body and the elbows and hands for frames and grips within the inside of Bernardo's passing attempt, Gordon's guard will not get passed.  Whether the opponent is on their knees or standing, the concept remains the same.

As you eagerly await the release of Gordon's Open Guard series, make sure you check out his most recent series on Systematically Attacking the Back available here from BJJ Fanatics!

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