Developing a good guard game is no easy task.
The guard is the foundational position in Jiu Jitsu.
It’s what sets us apart from the other grappling arts.
You get points in a tournament for sweeping from your guard.
As well as your opponent — if they manage to pass your guard.
So it’s a very important position.
While there are no shortages of guard techniques online with resources like YouTube and other online training sites gaining in popularity.
Putting it all together is the difficult part.
At all levels of Jiu Jitsu — players seem to struggle on how to effectively play guard and this in turn affects your confidence in your guard.
You’re not going to rely on your guard if you don’t have faith in it right?
If we look at the best guard players right now there is one major common factor that seems to set them apart from all the rest.
This ‘something’ is not unique to them.
It’s not a special ability that they alone possess.
It’s not some innate talent.
In fact, we can replicate what they do and that’s great for us!
If you study the best guard players in the world. They all seem to have a very aggressive guard.
When they play guard they do so with purpose.
They are actively looking for sweeps and constantly searching for submissions.
You thought I was going to say they have a special grip? Or some hidden technique right?
No, it’s just the opposite.
The best competitors are doing the same moves as you or I.
Albeit, maybe at a higher level of course.
But the key detail in their guard is that they go into attack mode as soon as they get their grips.
There is no playing around.
No trying to stall or wait out the match.
They want to submit you and end the match as soon as possible.
The more they go on the offensive. The more openings they create to sweep.
The more you defend. The more your chances of slipping into a submission go up.
Competitors like Nicholas Meregali and Tommy Langaker both utilize this attacking guard style.
The threat of their guard attacks makes even the best passers in the world hesitant.
Their opponents can never get a chance to relax because they are always on edge.
So how does all this help you?
Going forward, if you find yourself having trouble playing guard or you’re not really having a lot of success on bottom.
Next time you roll — mentally prepare yourself to go on the offensive.
Visualize yourself going for the different submissions in your arsenal.
Think about your set ups to those attacks and whatever sweeps that you can combine in between your attacks.
So when you train next time — instead of hanging out in closed guard or spider guard.
Try to chain a few attacks together or maybe be more assertive in hitting your sweeps.
I’m not saying go full 100% porrada on your training partners but try to put yourself in the best position where you can keep attacking.
The top guys aren’t more aggressive than you or me.
It’s the techniques that they use that force them to go on the offensive.
For example, if you have a berimbolo type game. In order to get that style to work — you have to constantly go on the offensive by trying to off balance your opponent and looking to get to the back. Eventually your opponent will slip up.
So the best way to gain more confidence in your guard right way and increase your success rate is to up the level of your guard attacks.