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BJJ Instructional Videos
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Shin on Belly Sorcery with James Clingerman

Shin on Belly Sorcery with James Clingerman


As the guard game evolves and we search for more ways to add different layers, we come across many different interpretations of it. The days of a closed guard only game are gone. Of course, the closed guard will always have its place and the value of understanding it will never go away, but it’s a big world out there as far as the guard is concerned, and there’s lots to discover. 

In addition to the staples (closed guard, half guard, etc.) there are a lot of different guards that we find ourselves gravitating towards. This might be just pure preference or interest, but it can also be dictated by body type. As Bernardo Faria often says, “the best way, is the way that works for you”. 

Its fun to explore the different aspects of the guard. Sometimes we come across something that just sticks out to us immediately, and we bring it on board as go to. You never know that’s out there waiting to be recruited as a piece of your game! 

James Clingerman utilizes something he refers to as the “shin on belly” guard. I’ve seen variations of this position in the past, but he’s taken the concept and put his own unique spin on it. Have a look at this video, where Clingerman explains to us a little bit about the guard and how he chooses to use it. Check it out! 


At a first glance the position may look unfavorable to the guard player, as it seems like the top player is almost passed the guard. But there are elements at work here that keep Clingerman in the game. As you can see, Clingerman is set up with his right shin across the belly, a grip on the sleeve, with the opposite hand securing the pants. As Clingerman explains, there different positions that he can set himself up in, depending on the passer’s plans. The sin is always on the belly it seems, but with the top leg there are options. He either slings the leg over his partners shoulder, works with a lasso, a spider guard style hook, or with his shin placed underneath the bicep. 

Check out more of Clingerman's work! Click Learn more!


Regardless of the leg positioning, Clingerman looks to begin the exchange with the same sweep. With everything in place, his partner begins to come forward to pressure Clingerman for the pass. Here, Clingerman easily loads up his partners weight on to his shin and then reverses him to the opposites using the passers own momentum. 

IF the passer is sitting heavier, Clingerman engages his hips, lifts his body off the ground and pressures up and in to his partner, compromising their base. This will no doubt be met with some opposing force by the top player to maintain balance and as this occurs, Clingerman again takes advantage of the momentum and sweeps his partner to the opposite side with the exact same technique. 

This sort of push pull type of game is incredibly effective when you’re attempting to reverse. You can see here with the shin positioned across the belly how much Clingerman can play this game of opposing forces. The shin acts as an elevation tool, lifting and moving his partner and it also serves as a strong method of pushing in to his partner’s as well. 

I’m definitely excited to see some more variations of this particular guard and how other modifications come in to play. It seems Clingerman has an entire catalogue of techniques from here that he’s going to be sharing with us. Can’t wait!

Loopchoke Seminar DVD by James Clingerman

In the meantime you can check out Clingerman's Loopchoke Seminar! Take your guard to an all new level with the Devestating Loopchoke!



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