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Open Guard Concept for Better Retention with Priit Mihkelson
Leg Pommels...Breaking Grips
If you’re a fan of the open guard, there’s a multitude of important aspects of guard retention that come into play if you hope to be a successful open guard player. Being disconnected from your opponent requires that you keep your hips moving, and a watchful eye over your opponent’s angles, movement, and intentions. I’ve heard that having a good open guard can be compared to being a lion tamer. I love that metaphor. If you can master keeping a good guard passer at bay, you’ll gain an enormous mental advantage over them, and build confidence in your ability to impose your game.
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Developing an impassible open guard takes a lot of work, and live practice. I find that guard retention drills can be incredibly helpful to bring up any deficiencies in your open guard game, and fill in the holes. You can find tons of great guard retention content on YouTube to pick from. Guard retention drills can further your understanding of common movements and help your body become a better predictor of passing strategies.
There are also certain concepts that can make your life easier when you’re delving into the open guard world. Themes that seem to always be present, and maybe don’t get the attention they deserve. Check out this video with Priit Mihkelson. He offers some solid pointers on making your open guard a little more problematic for your opponents.
A super common way for the top player to begin his pass is to scoop under our feet and begin to fold us for a stacking style pass. If you don’t have a plan in place here, this will be the beginning of some positive advancement for your opponent.
As the top player begins to lift your feet, Mihkelson suggests putting your tailbone, shoulders, and head on the mat. This creates a more difficult structure for your opponent to work with. As they continue to move forward your body will slide, and remain rigid, making the stack more difficult.
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The style of grip the passer is using will determine the direction of the pommel of your feet. To combat a C grip on the ankles from underneath Mihkelson does a simple leg pommel to the inside to release his feet. If his feet are resting in the hands of his opponent from underneath, Mihkelson pommels his feet to the outside. Once the feet have been released, Mihkelson is free to begin re-establishing his guard.
Small details like these can really make a difference in whether you survive a passing onslaught or fall victim to it. Great stuff!