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The Tragedy of Having Your Guard Passed
The evolution of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has seen countless waves of innovative and creative techniques that will certainly continue long into the future. The increase in focus on techniques like berimbolos and leg attacks over the last five years or so has rippled through most academies and students work to perfect their inversion skills and sharpen their ashi garamis.
But at a recent training session for his academy students and affiliate instructors from all over the world, ADCC and UFC veteran Tom DeBlass shared some thoughts about how students should constantly ground their training in a basic principle.
"It should be a tragedy that someone has passed your guard." --Tom DeBlass
DeBlass went on to share an anecdote about being a young blue belt competitor who began to explore and become successful with a newfound collection of leg submissions and having been reminded by his teacher, Ricardo Almeida, that the true foundation of BJJ success was making sure your guard was impossible to pass.
For another look at how to develop a guard that is impossible for your opponent's to get beyond, check out this article at BJJ Fanatics on the topic!
He goes on to describe the newest generation of jiu jitsu competitors as not as complete because they've ignored this key principle and simply focused on the the latest flashy techniques, which ultimately can lead to a weaker ability to defend oneself in self defense scenarios which should always inform one's training.
By adopting a more serious mindset about having one's guard passed or when you are on top, working to be impossible to sweep or reverse, you will develop the necessary foundation upon which to begin to build the fancy inversions and leg attack entries into your game. A great exercise to implement when you happen to be the higher belt training with a newer student is to work on different ways to control them in your guard and not allow them to pass. If you are on top, conversely, you can repeatedly put yourself in positions where they should be able to sweep you and you will work to prevent that.
In this way, one can effectively create a serious training environment where all can benefit and the newer student can quickly begin to learn to treat those crucial foundation positions like the guard with the respect they deserve. This will make them well rounded and ready to learn the latest flashy techniques as the superstars of the time continue to break the mold.
Treating someone passing your guard as the worst possible thing that could happen to you, will make not only your guard, but your BJJ in general better. It's also going to have the effect of improving your training partner's guard passing ability as they continuously run into the brick wall of your guard.
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