Matt Arroyo & Guard Defense
Matt Arroyo, is an black belt in BJJ under Rob Kahn, from Florida. Matt has had stints on the Ultimate Fighter, as a fighter in the UFC and has competed in many Jiu Jitsu tournaments, particularly in no gi. While primarily known as a back attack specialist, with a great deal of knowledge in leg locks as well, Matt is an overall great black belt. He is one that can be exceptionally offensively and defensively. And he has some very solid concepts about guard defense and retention. Check out his defensive concepts…
1) Feet on the hips
To prevent your guard from being easily passed, you have to your first line of defense. That line of defense is to put your feet on the opponent’s hips. By doing that, you are keeping your opponent at a distance, so that he cannot close in on you. It also gives you the chance to work some open guard, and go for leg attacks.
2) Knees in the stomach
If your opponent gets passed your feet on their hips, you’ll have your next line of defense. That would happen to be your knees in the opponent’s stomach. By getting your knees in as a placeholder, you will prevent your opponent from getting the pressure needed to get a successful guard pass, and will usually stop him from making any connections with his arms on you. Also by having knees, blocking out your opponent, you have the chance to get your feet back in for guard.
3) Hands on the body
Let’s say things are not going down as planned. Your opponent now gets passed your knees. Do not panic. You can use your hands on the opponent’s body to keep him away. First, lock out your arms, then put one hand on his shoulder and one on his hip. Your arms are long and can once again, prevent the needed pressure of getting a pass and can stop dominant positions. Using your hands will give you the space you need to spin back in to put your knees back in, possibly your feet back on the hips or even to guard.
4) Elbow on the body
The last line of defense before having your guard passed is to use your elbows on the opponent’s body. You have to put one elbow on the opponent’s neck and one elbow on his hip. The elbows on the body will give you just enough space before you get put in a bad position. While it is not ideal, it can give you a chance to get your hands back on, then knees, then feet, then hopefully back to guard where you can work more offensively.
Matt Arroyo is one hundred percent correct when it comes to this guard defense. But this is not the only area where he can improve your game. Specifically, his back attack game is smothering and he gets a lot of finishes there. You too, can use Matt’s concepts, ideas and techniques to improve your own game.