The Impassable Guard with Xande Ribeiro
Xande Ribeiro hasn’t had his guard passed since 2005. Yes, 2005. This is an incredibly impressive feat, especially given how active Ribeiro has been in the competitive circuit over the years. He’s had hundreds of matches, including wars with some of the best BJJ players on the planet, and still this remarkable statistic remains.
How do you create a guard so impenetrable? How do we build such structure, that our opponent’s efforts to pass, just simply don’t matter? Of course, years of experimentation and focused training are key. Nothing becomes battle tested without numerous battles. But what are some of the themes Ribeiro adheres to, that can help us begin to understand how we can create a guard this solid? In this video, Ribeiro shares some of these golden concepts with us. Take some time to watch and see what you can pick up! Have a look!
The Diamond Concept:
In his BJJ travels Ribeiro has experienced a lot. He’s developed concepts about distance management, posture, among other things, and has been a le to scrape away the excess to reveal what really matters in his training. The diamond concept is a simple theme that Ribeiro applies to the form of the human body. While many of us worry mainly about the bottom half, subscribing to ideas such as the hips giving us the most trouble, Ribeiro focuses on the upper half, likening the structure of the upper body to a diamond and proceeding accordingly with him game plan.
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Keeping his knees connected to his elbows and defending with his arms in the style of a boxer, Ribeiro can create a very solid structure that lends itself perfectly to keeping his guard safe and obviously impenetrable. Keeping this connection creates a shell that regardless of the passer’s plans, makes it incredibly difficult to crack this shell.
Protecting critical corners of the body is a focus when you’re dealing with defending the guard pass. Ribeiro refers to this protection and decomposition as the vortex. As his partner gets tight to him, his focuses his energy on bringing everything back to the inside and then expanding it to reclaim the space between himself and his partner.
Demonstrating various examples of this particular principle, Ribeiro shows us how these ideas can be applied to many different aspects of combat.
Ribeiro also touches on another concept that’s quite interesting. Maybe you’ve found yourself doing this on accident. Many people focus on using their bottom knee to retain their guard. This is a classic form of guard retention that will never go away, but Ribeiro puts a twist on it. He uses the top leg to get in the way of his partner and help him return to the guard.
Ribeiro shares a couple of drills that can help us understand how this process might work. As his partner begins to walk around him from a standing passing position, he uses the top knee to implement a reset back to a square position, and then also completes the movement on the opposite side. He also performs a similar movement while a kneeling passer as well. I love this type of guard retention. I gravitated toward it early in my training, and it really resonated with me. Besides it begins incredibly effective, it also gives us more option where recomposing the guard is concerned.
Ribeiro presents us with a drill that looks to be a ton of fun also. He lays flat on his back and closes his eyes with his hands and feet positioned above him. His partner can approach his from any angle he chooses, and Ribeiro must immediately respond by using these concepts to get back to a positive position.
As you can see Ribeiro applies this concept to what appears to be just about every BJJ scenario. IT makes a ton of sense, and its easy to see why he’s been so successful. His focus on this particular area of his game has obviously paid enormous dividends.
This is on e of the reason why I love BJJ so much. Within the realm of the most elite competitors and teachers of all time, there lies these philosophical gold mines. Studying BJJ for decades yields some incredible insights about how we move our bodies, and use them effectively in a combative situation against a resisting opponent. Its incredibly fascinating, and the best part, it will continue to evolve this way for many years.
You can hear and see the passion Ribeiro has for BJJ and its intricacies. It's always fun to listen to a career BJJ titan talk about the concepts they’ve developed. Nothing can replace years of experience and trial by fire. We’d be wise to heed the words of these relics of the sport. With our own hard work and the guidance of those that have gone before us, we can continue to create our own BJJ legacies and one day share them with the world. Hope you enjoyed this! Good luck!
Xande Ribeiro is one of the best competitors of ALL-TIME! He is set to release his instructional for all of you FANATICS out there VERY SOON! Stay Tuned! In the meantime check out some closed guard mastery at BJJFANATICS!