Open Guard Basics

Below is an intresting article I came across on the open guard…basic info but important principles. 

The Open Guard in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
By Sean Apperson

2309754221_e4a96546d32One of the more complex skill sets to learn in BJJ is the open guard. The key to the open guard is good hip movement and spacing. When learning the open guard novice grapplers often look as if there hips are glued to the mat. The result of this is one tends to push too much with the upper body which causes quick fatigue.

The first idea to think about in the open guard is not allowing your opponent to set your hips. What I mean by this is don’t allow your training partner to pin your hips using gi grips or body weight. There is a critical space were you don’t want your opponent to enter. What I usually see is students allowing their training partners to easily control their hips and then control their head. The guard is a position where you must constantly move and attack. Just like a shark must always swim to survive so must you in the guard. The point of all the hip escapes we do in the warm ups are to develop these skills for the guard.

If you take only two things from this article remember to move your hips and stiff-arm your opponent from the open guard. The function of the stiff-arm is when your training partner is bulldogging into you. This move will buy you time to move your hips before its too late. Another important tip from the open guard is to keep your opponent from achieving dominant grips especially on your pants. Learning grip releases from the open guard is an important skill to devote some time to. It will amaze you how frustrated a passing opponent will become when you break all of his controlling grips. If your opponent cannot make strong grips, he will have a hell of a time controlling your hips.

As we discussed earlier if a training partner can’t dominate your hips he will never pass your guard. There are many types of open guards you can play with. I recommend learning the “spider guard” first and then the “seated” and “butterfly” guard. The fundamentals of all these guards are based on spacing and hip movement so pay attention when drilling warm up moves. In closing have patience when learning the open guard, it requires hundreds of hours of practice and mat time to master.  Train hard and make a game plan!!


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