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John Danaher Is Making The Closed Guard Great Again
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John Danaher Is Making The Closed Guard Great Again

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The closed guard is quite possibly the most recognized position in all of BJJ. Even those that don’t have any experience with the art may associate the position with their limited knowledge of what BJJ is. In its earliest days, we found the closed guard being used to prove jiu-jitsu’s effectiveness over and over again. In these initial efforts to expose traditional martial artists to BJJ, the closed guard was huge factor, allowing the BJJ player to reside in the bottom position, and still win.  

The closed guard will always be a fundamental pillar of any BJJ curriculum. IT simply cannot be skipped and its important that we learn the inner workings of the closed guard early on in our study, as it sets us up for success in many other areas of our BJJ training. Not to mention the self defense aspects of the position that may literally save your life one day.

John Danaher is set to release a new segment in his Go Further Faster series on the closed guard. This highly anticipated release gives us new insight in to the position and will help you view the closed guard in a new light. Check out this video with Danaher and get in tune with some of the principles he adheres to. I found this video incredibly insightful and it helped me to view the closed guard through a new lens. Have a look at this!

 

To the untrained eye the closed guard may appear that we’re losing the battle. And as Danaher explains there is a common misconception about, he closed guard about who has top position. This concept is very interesting and really helps us to understand the role of the closed guard. Yes, it’s true that the passer is “on ‘top” so to speak, but they are only on top of our upper body. Our hips are positioned above theirs. So, both parties actually possess top position to a certain extent. Viewing the position in this way is much different than most teaching we experience and it also helps us to understand the advantages of the closed guard. Amazing insight here. 

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As Danaher further explains, the functionality of the closed guard is to exploit the lever that is the spine. The spine is the longest lever in the human body and is susceptible to manipulation, more specifically in the pursuit of gaining control over a guard passers posture. Notice how Danaher is able to use knee pulls and the clearing of hands to cause his partner to travel closer to him, where he can begin to disrupt the posture and plans to pass. Speaking in terms of this idea the posture can be more easily broken when the head is forward of the hips, but there’s a dilemma here. If the top player keeps the head too far behind the hips, movement in the opposite direction becomes a serious threat. 

Did you hear that? Let me repeat this for you. “Everything we do in the closed guard is an attack on our opponent’s posture and balance”. This must not be forgotten. If anything, to help us understand our goals from this position. These are important words to live by in your closed guard endeavors. Before we begin to attack this theme must always be observed and implemented. 

In another functional example of closed guard mastery, Danaher begins by gaining the inside track with his hands. Here, he raises his knees up to the level of the armpits and hits a knee pull, bringing his partner forward. With his partners hands on the ground, Danaher can now secure the head and use his partners body to create an advantageous angle. A very interesting detail to take note of here is that with this angle, Danaher’s knee is very close to his partners head, making the end of the lever idea here even more prevalent, and the knee pull that much more effective.

From this position Danaher can now set up a clamp. This is where he brings his knee in tot eh space between his partner’s bicep and armpit. These two clamping points now serve as methods of keeping the passer from coming forward as well as retreating. As you can clearly see, the splitting of the hands and the acquisition of this clamp position helps tremendously with the functionality of the closed guard and sets us up for success on many levels. Keeping the hands separated prevents the passer from closing a very powerful circle that can be used to defend a great number of attacks. 

This is merely a 20-minute glimpse of what to expect on the new instructional and already I’m completely enamored with the material. The amount of thought and study behind Danaher’s teaching is really on a scale that we can’t imagine and its been wonderful to work through these different programs to fill in the blanks and learn new methods of applying our jiu-jitsu. 

This is surely not one to be missed! 

Guard Retention: BJJ Fundamentals - Go Further Faster by John Danaher

IF you are beginning your Jiu-Jitsu Journey NOW is the perfect time to  learn from one of the LEADING minds in Jiu-Jitsu. The Go Further Faster Series by John Danaher is designed to shorten the learning curve required to become proficient. Take the first step in ENHANCING your Jiu-Jitsu forever!

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