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Guard retention is a small, but massive importance when it comes to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training. Training how to retain guard not only makes your guard more effective, but it makes your top game feared more as well. If someone cannot pass your guard, it will always be an uphill battle for them. There are a few key maneuvers and mechanics to make your retention top notch.
The first thing to be aware of, is your hips and legs. If you do not keep them active, your guard will be easily passed. When someone is trying standing passes on you, or low passes, you can use your legs and hips to keep them away from a successful position on you.
One of the ways you can use them, is to use your feet on an opponent’s hips and make the use of hooks such as de la riva hooks, reverse de la riva hooks, and inside hooking positions on the knees. To pass your guard, an opponent will have to clear and stop your legs and your hips. While using these leg positions, you will have to use your hips and be able to move on them. This is your first key to success.
The next thing you can do to retain your guard, is to use leg pummeling. If your opponent is able to beat your leg hooks, use your legs to pummel. For example, if your opponent goes to your left, you can cross your right leg over to the opposite hip to prevent him/her from passing to side control. You can also use inside and outside pummeling techniques (circular rotations) to clear hands on your ankles. Spider guard controls on the biceps and lassos work as well in this aspect.
If your opponent gets passed your pummeling, it is imperative to use knee shields. Knee shields can keep pressure off of you, and give you the chance to work for a sweep or a more advantageous position. It comes down to feeling an opponent’s pressure and your own timing at this point.
The last workable maneuver is the use of arm frames. If an opponent is starting to pass your knee shield, you must use your arms in a manner that you can once again, keep pressure off of you. Using your forearms and elbows is the way to go. Do not focus on using your hands, as those are bendable and not strong. Framing on your opponent’s body with your forearms and elbows can give you the braces you need to keep an opponent back, to get back to a better, improved position. The exception is that you can use your hands on an opponent’s bicep to prevent a cross face.
If you follow these helpful tips and procedures, you will have an impassable guard. Many people will try to pass your guard and fail. Your submission finishes will come quicker, and your opponents will beat themselves trying to pass.