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The Secrets To An Amazing Open Guard With John Danaher

The Secrets To An Amazing Open Guard With John Danaher



The open guard is vast in its many resources. Without the solid and recognizable connection, we feel with many other guards, the open guard offers hundreds of possibilities, making it both exciting and a bit trying at the same time. You must be willing to get your guard passed a bit in your first endeavors with open guard as you begin to navigate the waters of this position. But you can quickly adapt to the many ideas here with some focused practice and a willingness to learn. 

The open guard learning curve is about to change forever. John Danaher has released his newest installment in his “Go Further Faster” series, and it so happens that this newest body of work is all about this dynamic position. You can view the release here. Danaher conveys to us that the open guard is probably the most important foundational skillset we can acquire in all of our BJJ practice. He places great importance on the development of the open guard because he believes that the majority of our time in the guard position will be spent in the open guard itself. 

Though the position may be incredibly complex, Danaher categorizes the open guard in to 8 different sections, making it easy to digest. This is one of the greatest things about Danaher’s instruction. His ability to provide blueprints that have answers for the most common sets of circumstances is simply incredible. This makes the learning process much easier and the content more applicable.

In this video, Danaher gives us some insight in to one of these important open guard concepts. This is a great way to get familiar with what you’re going to experience in the series. Prepare yourself. This is some fascinating stuff and it may completely change the way you look at this incredibly significant position. 


Double Directionality

This is the first concept that Danaher will outline for us. He speaks of an idea he refers to as coupling forces. In an example Danaher talks about the application of a submission. To inflict the maximum about of damage, we’ll need forces working in opposite directions at each end of the lever. This provides jus with the ability to create the maximum amount of pressure and force at the point of the break. Danaher applies the same idea to sweeps. When we’re looking to implement a sweep, we’d like to send two different portions of the body in opposite directions to create the best chance of off balancing, thus creating the reversal. 

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Example #1 - Hook Sweep

The idea here, as Danaher explains is going to be to expose his partner’s belt. Through a series of gripping exchanges and off balancing movements, Danaher will cause his partner to give expose the backside of their body making the belt very accessible. With his training partner positioned on their knees, Danaher first begins to secure a grip. To do this, he begins with a straight grip using his left hand, which he pushes forward to create a bit of an off-balancing effect and then trades this straight grip for a cross grip with his right hand. Now positioning his right foot in his knee, Danaher gives a little push, creating an off-balancing effect and causing his partner to lurch forward. This exposes the backside of the body and gives Danaher access to the belt, near his partner’s hip. 

With the belt secured, Danaher takes an angle (think technical lift position) and acquires the far arm. This leaves his partner with no base, except for the leg. As Danaher begins to apply the lift with his hook, both of his partner’s knees come off of the mat in an effort to thwart the reversal. Danaher finds this posted leg with the bottom of his foot and curls his toes around the shin area in this case. With westward movement coming from his hook and eastward motion coming from the connection of the foot, Danaher can elevate his partner and use the coupling force principle to bring the reversal to life. 

Example # 2 – Scissor Sweep

Now employing a straight grip with the left hand and a grip on his partner’s opposite sleeve, Danaher places his right foot on his partner’s hip and begins to travel down to his side. He positions his knee in the armpit area which also likely serves as a frame while he begins to work. With his shin providing elevation and forward momentum up through the armpit, he uses his bottom leg to move his partners lower half in the opposite direction forming the perfect opposing energies for the sweep to be completed. 

Example #3 – Spider Guard Sweep

Gaining control over both of the cuffs on the sleeve using palm up grips, Danaher now places the bottom of his left foot on the bicep and begins to drop down to his right elbow, again positioning his bottom leg on the mat near his partners leg. He then uses his foot on the bicep to begin bringing his partner’s elbow higher than his head. As Danaher continues this elevation, he looks to travel to a position where he is no longer facing his partner but looking at him from the side. With another scissoring action of the legs, Danaher can easily finish this technique and put his partner on their back. 

Example #4 - Hook Sweep Variation

Here, we’ll find Danaher achieving a very dominant grip. He uses a standard grip on the cuff first, but then turns it upward exposing the seam on the back of the arm. Once this seam has been exposed, he grips it and has now acquired an incredibly controlling two on one grip on the arm. Drawing his partner in close, Danaher now tucks his arm in tight so that he can pinch his partners elbow and keep the arm from coming free.  With his opposite arm, he secures an under hook. Here, he begins to bring his partner up on top of his hips and started the action of elevating with his hook. He employs the same concept here as the first hook sweep, finding the leg with his free foot and using the opposing forces to turn his partner over.  See another instructional grip strategy videos The Dutch Judo Playbook by Noel Van't End. Also check Torture Chamber Top Wrestling and Escapes by Zain Retherford

There’s enough gold here to last you months. Danaher’s approach is just amazing and incredibly helpful. This is not one to be missed! Pick up your copy today!

Open Guard: BJJ Fundamentals - Go Further Faster by John Danaher



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