Thursday, 27 August 2009

16 Tips For Closed Guard

This was an awesome list of tips I came across. Really worth going through and keeping in mind when playing closed guard, with or without gi.

These are very important aspects of the closed guard to remember and practice.

  1. Don't give him space. When having your opponent in closed guard you don't want to give him any space. Space for him means more opportunities to work a pass.
  2. Don't let him posture. When he has his posture he is able to get his elbows in and head up to work out of your guard.
  3. You want to get control of your opponent's hips, head, and upper body.
  4. Climb your legs high up on your opponent's waist, closer to his upper back. When they are higher up it is much harder for him to sit back and get his elbows in. You also have your hips off the ground, which allows for better movement on the bottom.
  5. Knock his hands off your body. When he has his hand flat on your body he has the opportunity to push off of you. As emphasized before, if your legs are higher up his waist/closer to his upper back it is much harder for him to push on your body and regain his posture.
  6. Pull him in with your legs. Do not rely on using just your hands to pull your opponent in close to you. It will not work. Your hands against his whole body are not an even battle. You want to close your legs tightly around your opponent and bring your knees into you: this will cause your opponent to lunge forward.
  7. Control his head. This is a really important point. Where the head goes the body follows, so you want to try to control your opponent's head most of the time, at least until you have moved onto something better. If you have ever experienced someone constantly pulling down on your head while you were in their guard, you would probably agree that it is very frustrating. Also when you pull down on their head you want to pull down on the upper back of their head because that is where you get the most leverage. It is much harder to pull down on your opponent's head once you get closer to his neck area. Don't control directly on the neck
  8. Try to control his arms/shoulders. Immediately after controlling your opponent's head and bringing him close to you you want to get control of at least one of his shoulders or arms. This gives you a lot of control. You can either overhook one if his arms or underhook one of his arms, but always remember to keep control of his head.
  9. After you gain control of your opponent you want to start moving your hips out so you can start working some attacks. Most attacks are going to come from the side or with your hips out, so you need to be a step ahead of your opponent and start moving your hips out right away. Many people make the mistake of not angling out while having a closed guard, but it is very possible to have tight control with a closed guard and work angles at the same time.
  10. You want to stay tight at the same time as making your movements. An example of this would be placing one of your feet on the ground to aid in scooting your hips out, but retaining control of your opponent's head and shoulder/arm as you do it so he can't sit up. Once you get your hips out you want to immediately get your legs tight around your opponent's body again. Think of yourself as a Boa Constrictor, always on the move but staying tight at the same time.
  11. If you feel you can't stop your opponent from getting his posture and opening your legs. then you need to open your leg voluntarily before he forces you to do it. Remember you want to always be a step ahead. If he forces your legs open, he will have the upper hand and will most likely be able to control your legs and hips. Always be ready to react and go into a position if you feel your opponent is going to open your legs.
  12. When he sits back, try to sit up with him. Remember you always want to be tight. When he goes to push you back, lots of times he will open up an opportunity to gain control.
  13. Always practice regaining guard control. During your practice sessions allow your partners open your guard and work passes. Then fight your way back into guard. To do this always practice your hip escapes (shrimps), this is a really important fundamental movement that is used in a ton of techniques involved in grappling. Also do not let your opponent get control of your legs above your knees, close to your waist. You are in a bad spot if your opponent gains control of your legs close to your hips, or even worse gains control of your hips all together.
  14. It's in your hips. Remember a lot of the grappling game, especially on the bottom, is in the hips.
  15. Always practice your backward rolls. These are very important in getting back to your knees if your opponent stacks you up and there is no way for you to stop him from passing your guard. If you can roll back to your knees, you're in a much better position. Also work on getting back to your knees during your grappling sessions so you can increase your reaction time.
  16. Always practice your shoulder bridges. These are very important should your opponent pass your guard and you need to escape or prevent the pin. You can develop the right mechanics and reaction time to bridge into your opponent and back on your knees, or make at least enough space too scoot back into guard.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009


Here in the UK and in SA we have pretty good tap water. For some reason people dont drink it. It's true stuff is added to our water but I wonder which is better, chlorinated tap water or "pure spring" water out of a plastic bottle?
Sure maby the water is pure- BUT it's in a plastic bottle.
The stuff used to make plastic bottles includes some pretty scary stuff. Phthalates and bisphenol A, 2 of the most common chemicals used to make them soft and shatterproof are both known to cause endocrine and reproductive system problems.
Plastic bottles are also a huge enviromental problem.
90% of marine debris is plastic!

Once plastic makes it'sway into the ocean it becomes more than just an eye-sore it becomes a hazzard to sea creatures. The plastics mix of petroleum and toxic chemicals also become part of the food chain.

If you dont trust tap water, consider a home filtration system. If you feel you must buy bottled water (or any bottled drink), go for glass containers.

You may be wondering what this has to dowith Jiu-jitsu. Jiu-jitsu and surfing have very strong ties as many top practitioners are surfers or body-boarders.

I grew up in Durban, South Africa where, like Rio the beach is a huge part of our culture and we were blessed with miles and miles of beautifull coastline. I spent most weekends and holidays at the beach with my mom or with my Uncle, body-boarding or snorkeling so the sea is a big part of my life.

Even if you dont surf or enjoy the ocean, water is the essence of life. Our planet is made of water, We are made of water.

Our blood contains the same trace minerals as seawater, only in slightly different proportions.

The oceans cover over 3/4's of the earth's surface, provide 50% of our oxygen and are home to 80% of all known life forms.

I need the ocean, you need the ocean AND the ocean needs us.

For more info on plastic pollution in the ocean:

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Wednesday Inspiration...

“If you always put limitations on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work, your relationships and into your whole life and you will stagnate. And stagnation is worse than death. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them even if it kills you. Even if it kills you.”

Bruce Lee

Monday, 17 August 2009

Cool De La Riva Guard Pass

The De La Riva guard can be a tough one to pass, especially if the guard player has control of your back sleave. If you stay standing you are at risk of being swept with the basic sweep from here where they kick your back leg out, if you step back to avoid that leg you risk having your back taken.
Here Jacare shows a cool pass.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Part 2...

This was at Rodney King's Pride and Honor II. It was a real pity that these didnt continue as it was a very well run show. Good refs, international rules and the fighters were treated well.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Late night Thursday inspiration...

"To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it."

I thought about this for a while after I read this as I cant dance, play music or write very well but the times I feel closest to this are sliding down the face of a wave or hitting that sweep or technique without thinking that Ive been drilling and working on for a while.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Where it all began...

My first exposure to Jiu-jitsu was Gracies In Action and the thing that most impressed me apart from how incredible the concepts and techniques were, was the absolute belief they had in Jiu-jitsu.

"Jiu-jitsu is perfect and does have an answer to every problem. We as practitioners arent perfect and WE can make mistakes."

We were the only people I knew of practicing jiu-jitsu at the time and we got a lot weird looks and dumb-ass remarks from the members of the kick-boxing gym we rented mat space from. The owner of the club was also a promoter and we managed to talk him into putting a couple of mma events at the end of one of his shows. I was paired up against a Thai-boxer as the last fight before the main kick-boxing match of the evening.
I wasnt too sure what to expect but I believed in jiu-jitsu...