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Make Your Guard Impassable: Drills For Retention
How much time do you spend on guard retention? There are literally hundreds of resources pertaining to the subject, each with their own unique qualities that can assist you in your quest for a more impenetrable guard.
There are several layers of the guard. Beginning with our feet, our opponent must make his/her way through each layer, successfully pinning us along the way, until eventually reaching a position of dominance. Having several layers to the guard gives us many opportunities to recover but knowing when to give up a layer and begin working to defend the next one, and what elements of recovery are required for that particular situation can be tough to prepare for.
Thinking of the guard in layers, is a good place to start. I’m partial to several guard retention drills that make a point of focusing on the different degrees of how close our partner is getting to passing. For instance, is my partner behind my feet? Is he/she past my feet, but behind my knees? Or maybe they’ve made there way past the knees, and now my hips must become more active to recompose my guard. Is my partner coming straight forward, or moving more laterally? In some cases, the guard passer has made it too far, and I need to bail out to turtle, or the next best position to recover. These are just a couple of things I focus on when choosing the correct method of recovery. I find that choosing a set of drills to work with can make our reactions much sharper, and the movements of the passer feel a little more predictable.
Here’s a great place to start. In this video Almiro Barros shows several entry level guard retention drills. Throughout the demonstration, several different layers of the guard and their individual components of retention are covered. Notice the heavy presence of leg pummeling, proper framing, and basic hip escaping being put to work here.
If there’s a layer of your guard that feels insufficient, seek out the proper retention drill, and make it a staple in your training. Even referring to it for just a few weeks to help bring up the deficiency can be tremendously beneficial to your game.
Put the time in to make your guard impassable. A well-maintained guard can be extremely frustrating on a mental and physical level to your opponents. Give your guard proper upkeep and constant evaluation to make sure its firing on all cylinders!
You can't get much better in the area of guard retention than Mikey Musumeci, two time black belt world champion! His new instructional from BJJ Fanatics is called Power Switch Guard Retention and Genius Back Takes. Get it here!