Tips For Playing Open Guard
The move of going from solely playing closed guard, to then playing open guard is a big one. Many people find it difficult to make that jump. The fear of once they open their guard is that their guard will be passed and put in a bad position. While that is a threat, the good far outweighs the bad on playing open guard. Especially because there are so many good open guards to play, including X Guard, De La Riva Guard, Spider Guard and etc. There are some things that you can do to make the jump. Here are tips for those trying to play open guard.
Practice on making your grips strong
So many of the different open guards require solid and strong grips. That means you need to be doing various grip exercises. Do pull ups using your gi around the pull up bar. Hang from your gi on the pull up bar, and any other exercises that you can to improve your grip strength. Your instructor should know more, so don’t be afraid to ask. For example, in Spider Guard, you need to have strong grips on the sleeves. If you have weak grips, your opponent can easily break those and then work on passing your guard. The stronger your grip, the less chance your guard will be passed, and the more likely you’ll be able to dominate your opponent from your open guard.
Practice leg pummeling
Leg pummeling is an essential activity that you need to practice to get good at open guard. The act of leg pummeling is being able to move your legs around, in large to tight circles, to prevent your opponent for passing your guard. It is excellent for guard retention but is also needed for open guard players. The moment that your opponent defeats the guard, not all is lost. You can use your legs to prevent the pass, and to even get back to the guard that you’re playing.
Practice core techniques
One of the beautiful aspects of the many open guards is the fact that there are so many techniques from those positions. But don’t get wrapped up in learning and doing every technique. Pick five core techniques. Three sweeps and two submissions, just as an example. That way, you have some of your favorite techniques to look for while playing your open guard. Instead of just holding the position, you can be active and use it to beat your opponents.
As I mentioned, open guard can be fun. I love to play X Guard in no gi, and I love to play Spider Guard in gi. Open guard can make for a highly entertaining, but equally effective way of playing both offense and defense in Jiu Jitsu. Leandro Lo, who is open one of the best open guard players in the world has a DVD set, called The Lo Guard out at BJJ Fanatics for only $77. It is a must for anyone looking to play open guard!