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The Williams Guard
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The Williams Guard

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It all seemed so simple starting out.  We had so few positions to learn and our opponents only knew similar ones as well.  It was either closed guard or nothing.

As we developed these skills the world of Jiu Jitsu started to open and we began to see the vast ocean of technique that awaited us.  Even still, there was maybe only a few other guard positions thrown in the mix, open guard for sure, maybe some spider guard. Here we are now, where video instructional’s are available with ease and we can learn from the best of the best from the comfort of our own home, or home academy.  

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As I have progressed in my Jiu Jitsu journey I have been made aware of so many additional types of guard, none of which I have mastered, and some of which I couldn’t begin to tell you how they work.  I came across the Williams guard as a result of researching triangle strangle submissions and the trap triangle that becomes available as a result of the Williams guard. More on that later. First, let’s break down what the Williams guard is, why do you need to know it, and how can you use it to advance your game. 


The Williams guard has developed over time starting as a basic Omoplata setup that was quickly beat by a sweaty shoulder to a seemingly all encompassing guard that delivers the ability to keep your opponent’s posture broken down, while also enabling a few options for submissions.  


The initial Williams guard looked like what you see pictured below.  Essentially starting from a closed guard position, Williams brings his right leg in front of his opponents face and under hooks his own ankle with his left arm.  While this position certainly provides a fantastic entry to the Omoplata, and not a bad triangle setup as well, the one weakness that Williams quickly discovered was that is his opponent was sweaty and simply stood up and started pulling on their arm, well, the arm would slip right out no problem.  This position lacked the control required to maintain this position in all situations.  


Frustrated with this recent development Williams went to work on resolving the issue.  It wasn’t long before realizing that rather than only under hooking his right leg with his left arm he could over hook his right leg with his right arm and grab his opponent’s trap muscle using a cupping grip, in addition to the under hook with his left arm.  Doing this (as shown below) prevents the opponent from being able to stand. Perfect! Problem solved. No matter how sweaty the opponent gets, there is no slipping out of this newly developed guard.  


“Easy come, easy go” as the saying goes…

It was not long before opponents started to realize that while this position presented additional challenges, it wasn’t very hard to eliminate all of their possible attacks and either begin passing the guard or worst case, just stall out the match from a safe position.   All the opponent needed to do was drive into Williams, towards his right shoulder. This would force Williams back onto his back and remove the easy mobility he previously enjoyed preventing him from being able to launch Omoplatas, Triangle Strangles etcetera. Clearly this was not acceptable and once again, Williams was back at it developing a new fix, what would become officially known as the Williams Guard.  

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Very similar to what is pictured above, Williams would bring his right leg up high on his opponent’s back to the point he could reach over his own leg with a deep under hook.  Now instead of grabbing the opponent’s trap muscle, Williams would now gable grip his other hand, the one that had previously been used as an under hook on the opponent’s leg. Rather than using his left hand as the under hook, he now uses it to frame on his opponent’s neck.  This frame eliminates his opponent’s ability to drive into him therefore removing the opportunity to force him to sacrifice his dominant position, all while still making sure that a little sweat isn’t going to interfere and aid in any escapes.

The Williams guard is a great position for control and wearing your opponent down just as much as it is a great position for launching numerous submissions.  If this guard is not currently part of your game, it may make sense for you to add it. Some concerns that will quickly come up will likely be flexibility. The reality is you have to do what you can do and continue to work each day to get a little better.  If you are a smaller grappler, this position may give you an advantage when it comes to controlling larger opponents. You will obviously want to understand the rules of the match and if slamming is allowed or not because I can not imagine it would feel very good being slammed in this position, or any position for that matter. 

This was a very high level short and sweet into to the Williams Guard.  If you are interested in adding this slick guard to your arsenal you can get all of the in depth details here in Shawn Williams video Instructional “The Complete Williams Guard”.  This 8 volume masterpiece already has nothing but 5 star reviews from grapplers just like you who are committed to taking their game to the next level.  Are you ready for the Williams Guard? 

If you're ready to learn directly from the source, then you have to check out "The Complete Williams Guard". This DVD will give your guard game a new edge, and keep you a step ahead of everyone! Check it out here!

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