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The Biggest Mistake When Playing Guard
Identify this common mistake and don't repeat it
Passing the open guard is proving to be one of the more difficult skills in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. New guards and techniques are developed so often that our passing game will often lag in comparison. Another reason passing is difficult is because of the way we train. When practicing specific scenarios of passing the open guard, we are limiting ourselves to those individual circumstances. This allows for what Keenan Cornelius considers to be one of the biggest mistakes in passing the open guard. Keenan, a guard expert, capitalizes on this mistake everyone makes all the time.
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The mistake, Keenan describes, is that we allow ourselves to be put in various positions before beginning the aggressive guard passing. Grapplers typically let guard players get their grips and settle in unique positions before really trying to advance. The problem with this is now the guard player is one step ahead. While you are trying to break their grips now, they will be attempting sweeps and submissions and transitioning before you can. This is extremely vital in Jiu Jitsu as the player that is transitioning faster will most likely, if not always, be more successful. In the following video, Keenan describes this problem and offers some solutions on how to stop it.
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One of the solutions Keenan offers is to practice entrance straight into the half guard. Rather than allow ourselves to get stuck in something like spider guard or De la Riva guard, we should be knocking the guard player to the side and moving into their half guard quickly. Keenan also explains that moving into half guard is better than other guards because of the heirarchial advantages of various passing positions. This idea stems from Keenan’s philosophy of the guard having multiple levels, or barriers, that we must deal with individually to progress to a dominant position.
One of the drills we do at our academy very often is starting in the open guard with no grips, we will then quickly push our opponent on their side and enter a knee slice pass position, finally we will then move back to the initial position and do the same on the other side. We drill this in 1-2 minute intervals so that this movement becomes natural and subconscious. I thoroughly enjoy Keenan’s videos because he offers new ideas and philosophies that although become obvious after learned, are not commonly discussed. I highly recommend watching more of Keenan’s instructional videos if you also wish to improve your overall game.