RUBBER GUARD BJJ
In the modern era of grappling there have been many innovations that have steered the art towards the competitive aspect. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has a wide variety of attacking, and defensive maneuvers, and this has given way to many forms of guard positions. The versatility of positions like the 50/50 guard, the single leg X guard, and the bjj z guard have brought about a significant rise in leg lock submissions. This has become evident with Eddie Bravo's rubber guard system, as his creative style of grappling has seen innovative leg attacking positions like the truck, which is how a student can access heel hooks, toe holds, and calf slicers. The rubber guard position is a highly effective control system that is utilised by many world class athletes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Mixed Martial Arts. This series of innovative techniques work as a way to bait, and trap opponents into modern day variations of traditional submission maneuvers.
What this article covers:
- What Is the Rubber Guard
- The Origin of The Rubber Guard
- Submissions from The Rubber Guard
- The Importance of Flexibility for The Rubber Guard
- How to Defend the Rubber Guard
WHAT IS THE RUBBER GUARD
The rubber guard system is a highly functional guard that was designed for No Gi grappling. It starts by pulling guard bjj, and involves a student to lock down their opponent with a main control point called mission control. This position involves breaking down an opponent's posture, and placing a student's shin across the top of their shoulders. From here the student will hold down their shin, while trapping their wrist against the side of their opponent's neck.
The last step is to hold their own knee by cupping the back of it, and this is to stop any damage inflicted upon their knee. The rubber guard system has many different control positions, and transitions that have uniquely diverse names like new york, chill dog, meat hook, the pump, the zombie, the kung fu move, crackhead control, the double bagger, and many more. The rubber guard has proven to be a successful guard system, where its creator Eddie Bravo has taught this knowledge to many of his students across the United States.
THE ORIGIN OF THE RUBBER GUARD
The rubber guard system was created by Eddie Bravo, who is also the founder and brand ambassador for the 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu school. Before the rubber guard was made public by Eddie Bravo in spectacular fashion the development of the shin game was already being utilised in BJJ. Nino Schembri was a high level BJJ practitioner in the early 90's who was predominantly known for utilising his jiu jitsu open guard. Nino was utilising a heavy shin game, where he would use his shin to pull down control of his opponent's neck. Nino developed his open guard game, which was mainly fueled by omoplatas, and gogoplatas, and his success with this type of attacking guard game inspired athletes around him. The most famous of his fights was a Mixed Martial Arts contest against the Gracie hunter Kazushi Sakuraba, where even though Nino lost the fight, lasting all three rounds gained him significant notoriety.
Eddie Bravo discovered this attacking form of the shin guard, and developed his own intricate system called the rubber guard. Eddie Bravo achieved worldwide notoriety after defeating Royler Gracie in the 2003 ADCC quarterfinals. Eddie Bravo showcased his rubber guard system trapping Royler into a series of attacks, before eventually finishing him with a triangle. At the time no one was beating Gracie clan members, and Eddie Bravo took a step towards stardom with his new innovative style of guard. This new style of Jiu Jitsu was heavily scrutinised by the community, as Eddie often spoke about his style of BJJ as revolutionary. Since the creation of the rubber guard system Eddie has added more unique transitions that have only consolidated how effective this guard can be in both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Mixed Martial Arts. Nowadays many professional athletes are using Eddie Bravo's system of grappling, with many high level Mixed Martial Artists like Shinya Aoki, Vinny Magalhaes, and many other world class athletes leading the way.
THE TRUCK SYSTEM
Eddie Bravo created the rubber guard as a way to wrap up opponents, and use strategic ways to submit his opponents. One of his positions that has now become widely used throughout competitive Jiu Jitsu is the truck position. Utilising the truck goes hand in hand with the bjj inverted guard, as quite often entering the truck position involves rolling over a student's shoulder. The truck position is basically having a half guard from an opponent's back, as they use a figure four locking mechanism with their own legs onto their opponent's leg. The student can then utilise different controls like grabbing hold of the other leg, and attempting submissions like the banana split, calf slicers, heel hooks, and the crotch ripper. They can also use this position to maneuver into back control positions. The truck is a highly functional position in BJJ, and is linked extensively with the leg entanglement bjj game. This position is also heavily linked to the Mendes brothers, who also like to execute submissions from this highly versatile position in the Gi.
TWISTER SIDE CONTROL
Twister side control is one of Eddie Bravo's special weapons, as the spinal crank called the twister is also highly effective from the truck position. To execute this position a student will have to move from the traditional side control into almost a reverse position. The student should have a reverse kesa gatame, meaning they should have their body pinning down their opponent, while facing their legs. It is important to note that a student should be pinning their weight against the shoulder and facial area of their opponent, while using one arm underneath the armpit of their opponent's farside arm, and checking their legs with their other hand. They should also be using their knees to block their opponent from turning into them, and gaining any sort of guard retention.
This position is an extremely attacking one, and can be used to roll into the twister submission. To initiate this submission the student should first use their bottom leg to hook the top leg of their opponent. The hook can be loose, or it can be locked into a figure four, deciding which one will depend on the skill level of their opponent. Once they have the leg hooked they will reach over their opponent's hips and secure a grip on their other ankle, before rolling over their own shoulder. This dynamic movement will force their opponent to slide into the student's truck position. From the truck the student can move into leg lock, or groin submissions, or continue into the spinal crank. From the truck the student will grab their opponent's arm and feed it behind their own head, before reaching over the top of their shoulder and sliding their hand around their opponent's head. Now the student will link hands, and start flexing their opponents head towards themself while they torque the trapped leg in the other direction. This will cause a crank to the spine, which is famously known as the twister.
SUBMISSIONS FROM THE RUBBER GUARD
There are multiple options for submissions from the rubber guard control position. There are literally thousands of submission maneuvers, with many of them variations of already traditional submissions. One of the most iconic submissions from the rubber guard is the triangle, which is one of those submissions that can be achieved from multiple positions. What makes the rubber guard so powerful is that all the submissions incorporated in the system are all highly reliant upon certain reactions from an opponent. This means that once a student has set up mission control, and has locked their opponent into this control position they can throw up two different bait options, and based upon their opponent's reaction, this is how they can initiate each submission maneuver. This is a highly innovative and functional system of Jiu Jitsu which can take a student into the depths of the world class level.
The general flow of the rubber guard starts with a student using tricks like the meat hook, or the double bagger to achieve multiple steps in the system of submissions. Moving from mission control to new york, and then to chill dog will help to set up an omoplata, and if the opponent defends this submission, then they can bait them into landing the triangle. Just like the traditional style of Jiu Jitsu the rubber guard system can access arm bars in all attempted submissions, like one of the most famous ones the carni. The rubber guard system can go into even more intricate details, as many other more advanced submissions can be achieved like the gogo clinch, the invisible collar, the hindulotine, the dead orchid, the gogoplata, and the locoplata. The rubber guard system has an infinite amount of transitional movements that can help a student go from one position to the next submission. The rubber guard uses sneaky methods to bait an opponent into defending a certain way, so a student can access various submissions. All of these attacks are premeditated setups, which are highly advanced, and extremely hard to defend.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FLEXIBILITY FOR THE RUBBER GUARD
To be good at the rubber guard a student must have a certain level of flexibility. To some degree a student could get away with using certain angles in their hips to achieve many rubber guard techniques, but there are many movements that need higher levels of stretching ability. This is why the system is called the rubber guard, because it refers to a student's legs bending in positions like rubber. Many of these positions involve extremely rotational knees, which can put a lot of strain on the tendons, and the ligaments in the knee. Eddie Bravo created this intricate rubber guard system, but he also created a just as detailed series of stretches that will allow students to access greater flexibility. Many of these stretches are poses in yoga, and they will all help a student gain a significant advantage in the stretchability of their muscles.
The sitting butterfly stretch is a great one, and it involves a student sitting down bringing their heels together towards their groin, and putting their knees to the mat. Once a student has a good level of flexibility within this stretch, they can take it further by reaching forward, and placing their abdomen on the mat. This can go even further as instead of putting their heels together, they can bring one of their ankles on top of their thigh, and the other ankle on top of their other thigh, creating a figure four stretch with their knees. To increase this stretch they can then reach forward, and put their abdomen on the mat. This is the full lotus stretch, which is extremely hard for beginners, and must only be attempted by students with a high level of flexibility. There are many other yoga stretches like the pigeon pose, warrior one, the downward dog, the cobra, and the baby pose, and all of these movements will help a student gain further flexibility, which in turn will help them in accessing a greater level of the rubber guard.
HOW TO DEFEND THE RUBBER GUARD
Defending the rubber guard can prove extremely difficult if an opponent knows how to use this guard well. First things first, when attempting to defend this position a student cannot be hasty, because inevitably that will be the catalyst for being trapped into a submission. Taking time and being calm, and calculated is the right steps in achieving a defense to the rubber guard. Ideally if a student can get both of their hands inside, and onto the chest of their opponent, they can use a gable grip, and begin to use their forearms as frames to posture up, and bust out of the rubber guard. However this is not always as easy as it sounds, as an opponent that has a nice rubber guard will have the student's posture broken down extremely well. It is important to know that if a student brings one of their hands on to the chest of their opponent, then this can give enough room for them to trap them into a triangle.
The first step in defending the rubber guard is to use their elbow to pretend to come inside the leg. This will force their opponent to throw up the triangle, but as the opponent takes the bait the student should stop, and use their elbow as a frame on the inside of their opponent's thigh. Even this can be an art form, and a student must use the right part of their arm to block their opponent's leg, and this is usually more the point of the elbow which is in line with the shoulder. The next step is to swim their other arm backwards placing the back of their hand on the mat, with their palm facing up. From this position the student can now step up onto their feet, and start to retract, and back up through the little gap, which will result in freedom from the rubber guard position. It can also be important not to just stop there, as soon as a student has cleared out of the rubber guard they should use connection, and move their opponents legs to one side, as they pass the guard, and land in a dominant control position.
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