Snap Guard DVD Conversation With Neil And Ricky
Neil Melanson and Ricky Lundell discuss Why BJJ Practitioners Should Consider Adding Wrestling to their Training using the Principles in the Snap Guard DVD.
Ricky Lundell: Neil, Why did you add wrestling to your BJJ training?
Neil Melanson: I gravitated to wrestling because it made sense, not because I had any experience with it. When I competed, I wanted to win. As a coach for professional fighters, I wanted my fighters to win. And when coaching my hobbyists, I wanted them to see ongoing progress in their skills and confidence. Adding wrestling concepts to BJJ made this possible.
Ricky Lundell: You have always been a truth seeker, Neil.
Neil Melanson: If something is working, I want to know about it. I want to use it. The more I learned about wrestling, the more I wanted to learn more.
Ricky Lundell: What inspired you to create the Snap Guard and Shin Whizzer instructional DVDs?
Neil Melanson: A lot of BJJ practitioners don’t understand the transitional zones of snapping and guard work. Adding snap guard and shin whizzers are a great way for BJJ athletes to start integrating wrestling principles into their fight game.
Ricky Lundell: These DVDs introduce BJJ practitioners to the wrestling mentality of finding a way to get on top.
Neil Melanson: Yes. In BJJ, you could say that being on your back is okay. Or if the other person is in your guard, then “they” have to escape. In wrestling, it is not the same. It’s a game of control. If the other person is in control, then you are losing. It is never okay to be on your back.
Ricky Lundell: I agree. That’s what makes wrestling so good for BJJ. It creates new ways of thinking for the BJJ practitioner. It opens a whole new world of fighting effectively.
Neil Melanson: I wanted to put together a form of playing the bottom and the guard position because it makes the most sense for MMA and wrestling, getting up and staying on top.
Ricky Lundell: In MMA, you receive a lot of pounding on the bottom. It’s not a good time.
Neil Melanson: Snap guards allows you to bust the structure of your opponent, driving them down below you in a snap position where you can have access to the front part of their body or go behind them and take their back.
Ricky Lundell: I like how you can play the bottom and top, while protecting your head.
Neil Melanson: Exactly. Then, if they have the skills to counter, putting me back on the mat, I can use that seated position I was in, while trying to get up, to get my hips out, applying direct guard attacks without mentally pausing to plan the next set up. Snap guards work great for regular grappling because most opponents don’t expect you to try to snap them down. They expect you to just sit on the bottom and work.
Ricky Lundell: Do you find that the snap guard works for all sizes of fighters?
Neil Melanson: Yes. But especially heavy weights because they generally move slower. There is a lot of friction and they get tired fast on the bottom. The idea of getting up and getting on top is a good attitude for the BJJ heavy weight. The snap guard is going to work whether you are sweaty, wearing a Gi or no Gi.
Ricky Lundell: Sounds like something useful in a street fight.
Neil Melanson: You do not want to ever be on your back in a street fight. In a street fight, the whole guard concept should only be used when everything else goes upside down. It should never be the goal.
Ricky Lundell: When do you allow attacks using the snap guard?
Neil Melanson: Only if they are good enough to counter do I allow attacks; however, when I do allow attacks, as I sit back, I am sweeping to get on top.
Ricky Lundell: I like your tactical mind.
Neil Melanson: Tactics can beat technique. BJJ practitioners don’t like to hear that.
Ricky Lundell: (Laughing). No one likes to hear that, but it is truth.
Neil Melanson is a military veteran and retired Federal Agent. He has more than 17 years of grappling experience and is a Blackbelt in the Hayastan Grappling System under the legend Judo Gene LeBell and Gokor Chivichyan. Even though Neil is an MMA coach by trade, he is known for being a ground fighting specialist. Neil has coached many professional MMA athletes, most known for his work with Randy Couture. Has coached top teams such as Xtreme Couture, Alliance MMA, and the Blackzilians. Neil currently has 9 instructional DVDs on grappling available at bjjfanatics.com as well as an instructional book called “Mastering Triangle Chokes” which is available on Amazon.com.
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Ricky Lundell is a 4th degree Gracie BJJ Blackbelt under Pedro Sauer ((8th Degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Coral Belt under legendary Grand Master Helio Gracie and Master Rickson Gracie) and wrestled for Iowa State University under Cael and Cody Sanderson (Olympic Gold Medalist in Wrestling and 4X All American Collegiate Wrestler). Ricky is the author of the 1% Better Every Day Strength Training System DVD on bjjfanatics and 1% Better Every Day, Ricky Lundell’s Personal Guide to Back Squats, available on Amazon.com.