Why and How to Wrestle Up From Guard: An Andrew Wiltse Case Study
Why Should You Learn To Wrestle Up From Guard?
First, why focus on Andrew’s ability to wrestle up from guard? Andrew has a diverse game with many strengths. He is a relentless guard passer with a suffocating side control and a nearly unpassable guard. The answer to this is inexorably connected to the nature of nogi grappling. Finishing a sweep cleanly in nogi is much more difficult than when in the gi. The level of control you can exercise over an opponent in the gi expands exponentially as compared to nogi due to the pant, sleeve, and lapel grips. Without these grips it becomes difficult to control the opponent through the sweep and prevent a scramble. The result of this is that many nogi sweeps turn into wrestling exchanges. If you want to be successful as a nogi or mma grappler it is critical that you be able to transition from guard to wrestling exchanges and initiate the exchanges on your terms.
Andrew Wiltse is known for his aggressive style, and in the following video you’ll have front row seats to the madness. Take a look at how Wiltse wrestles up from the bottom in a variety of scenarios.
If you’d like to learn more from Andre Wiltse check out his complete collection of instructionals, Click Learn More!
Setting The Terms
Wiltse is clear that he wants to engage on his terms. The first move he makes is to use his feet to probe his opponent rather than reaching with his hands. Here, Andrew explicitly cites the vulnerability to the inside step when extending himself by reaching for his opponent with his hands. Using his feet to probe, Andrew will try to attack the Dummy Sweep to either sweep the opponent or force him to avoid the sweep by stepping back and blading his stance. Once the opponent blades his stance, Andrew can now enter into his choice guard to initiate the wrestling sequence.
Shin On Shin Guard
While Wiltse has a multitude of positions in which he can wrestle up, each of which is explained in detail in his Wrestle Up instructional, he demonstrates his sequence here from shin on shin guard. The importance of cross pressure between the guard players arm and the guard players shin is of utmost importance. Cross pressure is created by maintaining a solid connection with the arm behind the bend of the knee and lifting with the shin.
Weight Manipulation In Shin On Shin
Once the Shin on Shin guard is established, Andrew chooses to transition to single leg X. To do this, he needs the opponent to shift his weight to his free leg. Why is this important? In order to roll under and establish a single leg x guard, he needs to be able to lift his opponent's leg with his shin to shin connection. If the opponent is heavy on this leg, it will be immensely difficult to lift his leg. Shifting the opponent's weight to the opposite leg necessitates that they take weight off of their trapped leg or they will be swept. Andrew accomplishes this by threatening another Dummy Sweep. After the opponent steps back to avoid the sweep, their trapped leg is now light, opening the door for Andrew to roll under and enter into single leg X.
Weight Manipulation In Single Leg X
Now that Wiltse has gotten into the Single Leg X position, he again has to make the trapped leg light in order to wrestle up. Taking the weight off the leg involves three steps. First, he uses his inside leg to push on the opponent’s far knee, extending him. Second, he pressures his heel into the hip of his opponent, lifting his own hips off the ground. Finally, while lifting his hips with his heel pressure, he rotates his body, driving his own hip into his opponent's trapped ankle, lifting the ankle off of the ground. After he has accomplished each of these steps, he is ready to begin his wrestle up sequence on his terms.
How To Wrestle Up
Wrestling up in this position is counter intuitive, as Wiltse explains. A common reaction would be to pressure forward into the opponent and drive them back. Even though this would seem to be common sense, Wiltse explains that this is counterproductive to wrestling up when the opponent has their hips above the hips of the guard player. Driving forward in this situation allows the opponent to keep their weight on their free leg and drive back in, placing the guard player firmly on their back. The more effective means of wrestling up involves doing a technical standup while dragging their own hips away from the standing opponent. Once the guard player has pulled their hips away from their opponent and under their own body, they can begin their preferred finishing sequences.
Where To Learn More?
If after reading this, you find yourself wanting to learn more about wrestling up from guard, either for nogi grappling or MMA, check out Andrew Wiltse’s Wrestle Up instructional. It is a phenomenal breakdown of the pressure-tested systems he has used on the highest level to wrestle up from guard and finish sweeps.