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Kneel Or Stand to Pass the Guard?

I once drilled technique with a big, strong rock climber who had a grip from hell and tenacious isometric strength. I noticed how much he liked controlling my gi, breaking my posture and attacking with collar chokes.

Since I knew we were going to spar soon I formulated a simple sparring strategy: I told myself that as soon as I ended up in his guard I would stand up and not go back down onto my knees until I was past his guard.

Why did I do this?

Simple: I did NOT want him to latch onto my lapel and choke me silly, so I decided to take the risks of standing up instead!

Lets first look at your options…

A coarse classification divides guard passes into either standing or kneeling guard passes.

If you wanted to break it down a bit further you could say that there are standing and kneeling methods of opening a closed guard, and standing and kneeling methods of actually passing an opened guard. Both standing and kneeling methods have their strengths and weaknesses – I use them both, but I try to choose the appropriate approach for the situation.

Kneeling in your opponent’s guard makes you a little harder to sweep because your center of gravity is closer to the ground. If you are kneeling in an opponent’s guard your arms and neck are more easily available for him to attack, but it is quite difficult for him to leglock you.

If you choose to stand in order to pass the guard you make yourself a little more vulnerable to sweeps and leglocks. The advantage of standing passes is that you are more mobile and that it is harder for your opponent to attack you with chokes and armlocks.

How can you use this information?

If you have both standing and kneeling guard passes in your repertoire you can tailor your game to avoid your opponent’s strengths.

If your opponent specializes in chokes and/or armlocks then get to your feet whenever you end up in his guard and try to work your standing guard passes. If your opponent is a leg locking machine then consider engaging him on your knees.

Additionally, guard passing methods vary greatly from club to club. In some clubs kneeling guard passes predominate, whereas other schools tend to mix standing and kneeling guard passes. Schools that do a lot of » Continue Reading.

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Inside Pass Or Outside Pass

Smash them, or evade?  Fast, or grinding?  Push, or pull?  Rock, or water?  The art of Jiu Jitsu sometimes circles around these questions. Whether you are a small or large competitor, the idea of using a ‘brick wall’ or a ‘quicksand’ method is always there. The best answer to these questions does not rely on […]

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Breaking down the Turtle

Attacking the turtle position is a matter of three variables: keeping your weight on the right parts, achieving your optimum grips, and attacking at points your opponent isn’t expecting or can’t defend. When you are looking for points, or a finish, taking the back is a great option from the top of the turtle position. […]

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Podcast Episode 125: Reilly Bodycomb on Sambo, Leglocks, MMA, Jiu-Jitsu and No Gi Grappling

I loved doing this interview with Reilly Bodycomb. Reilly is a Russian sambo and leglock expert who has competed in a TON of different rulesets including BJJ, no gi submission grappling, MMA, Sambo, and wrestling.

He is the Pan-American Sport SAMBO Champion (2016), USA Sport SAMBO Champion (2016), Dutch Combat SAMBO Champion (2016), recently competed in Japan and is a BJJ black belt as well!

In our talk he shared stories about competing all over the world, and shared some major insights about how the rules you compete under totally influence the development of a sport.  My favourite part was when we were riffing about creating the ‘perfect’ grappling rule set.

I hope you  get as much out of it as much as I did.

If you enjoyed it then please share this podcast episode with at least one friend or training partner – that’s how this podcast grows and I really appreciate it!!

Here are some of the highlights

00:23 – Reilly Bodycomb intro 07:22 – History of Sambo and the Russian martial arts 13:53 – Competing around the world 15:48 – Rules of Combat Sambo 20:34 – Dealing with and competing under differing rulesets 28:35 – Reilly’s favourite throws for different sports 32:49 – Gym culture and training environments 37:23 – Leglocks in submission grappling 48:30 – The flying scissor takedown 53:38 – Competing in Japan 56:04 – Game design and the ‘perfect’ set of rules

The best way to listen to this podcast is to go to your favourite podcasting platform, subscribe to ‘The Strenuous Life’ Podcast (*ahem* that’s my podcast) and then look for episode 124. You can find it on most podcast platforms, including…

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/strenuous-life-podcast-stephan-kesting-grapplearts/id320705565?mt=2

Google Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?authuser&u=0#/ps/I3qvbtkdb74xrpv6ozbzie2ca4e

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-993426357

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/stephan-kesting/grapplearts-radio-podcast

You can also listen to interview on the embedded player below…

Finally, if you like what you hear then why not go and give The Strenuous Life Podcast a rating or review on whatever platform you listen to it on. That kind of stuff is super appreciated, and it’s really helping

Cheers!

Stephan

P.S. Find out more about Reilly Bodycomb and his upcoming ankle lock instructional at https://www.rdojo.com

Combat Sport Videos and Links Referred to in this Podcast are Below! Example of Russian style wrestling from the Russian Nationals

How to do the Flying Scissors Takedown (and hopefully not injure your partner)

Daido Juku Karate Competition

» Continue Reading.

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Control Your Opponent’s Head & Become More Dominant

While head and posture control are essential in Jiu Jitsu, taking care of your partner’s is more important. This article talk’s a lot about turning and pulling heads. Make sure to warm up well, talk to your partners about what you are working on, and as always don’t use full force to smash your partner. […]

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Podcast Rant: Why You Have to do Jiu-Jitsu, and How to Get Good at It Fast

Here’s a quick 10 minute audio rant I released on my Strenuous Life Podcast recently.

I start out by talking about why you absolutely have to train some form of grappling if you consider yourself a martial artist.

Then we go into the 6 basic position of traditional BJJ – the positions that you’ll be spending 80% of your time in when you’re rolling around on the mat.

And then I cover the idea of having at least 2 reliable escapes, transitions and submissions from each of those positions.

You can listen to the audio below or go to iTunes, Google Play, Soundcloud, or Stitcher and listen to Episode 104 of The Strenuous Life Podcast.

BJJ

If you’re convinced by my arguments about the necessity of training BJJ and want some help in getting to the next step then I would suggest doing two things…

First download my free checklist of jiu-jitsu positions and techniques in PDF form by clicking here, and then Download my free Roadmap for BJJ app for your Apple or Android device by going here.

Both steps are free and both will definitely help you get good at jiu-jitsu MUCH faster!

Cheers,

Stephan Kesting

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The Superman To The Old School Pass

The superman pass is one of the most basic guard passes. It is a great way to learn both weight distribution and pressure. While using it against an opponent, they very often will use defenses that open up another great and simple guard pass; the old school pass. Where the superman pass shows you how […]

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Master Your Half Guard & Butterfly Guard

The best way to perfect both your half guard and butterfly guard is repetition. Fortunately enough, a grappling dummy allows you improve your sweep and submission game from both of these positions. The Half Guard At home, sometimes a grappling dummy is the closest thing to a real live opponent. It allows you to work […]

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On Starting Sparring from the Knees…

A reader writes: Hi Stephan, I’ve been doing BJJ for about 6 months and am wondering if you have any advice about what to do when you’re starting on the knees?

I find that most wrestling-style takedowns are very difficult to do from the knees, especially because my opponents are really good at sprawling.

And if I get my grips then inevitably my opponent also gets his grips and the whole thing turns into a big pushing and pulling match, which doesn’t seem very technical to me.

Anyway, I currently feel really lost and have no idea how to initiate the action from the knees – can you help?

Sincerely Bohdan

——————

Hi Bohdan,

Most BJJ classes start their sparring from the knees. This is because staying on the knees reduces the amount of space you need for each sparring pair, and that allows more people to be on the mat at the same time.

Starting on the knees also reduces the risk of injury associated with throws and takedowns.   Less throws and takedowns equals less injuries (I love Judo as a sport but don’t fool yourself – it has an incredibly high injury rate).

However starting with both people on their knees isn’t the most realistic position from which to initiate sparring.

First of all, starting on the knees has no application to modern self defense.

This might not always have been true.  In medieval Japan, after all, people spent a lot of time on their knees, and I’m sure that people did get attacked while kneeling.  That’s why many traditional Japanese jujutsu systems include armed and empty handed techniques for when both people are kneeling. But this kind of scenario – two people kneeling in front of each other – in today’s day and age is exceedingly rare!

Furthermore starting on the knees has very limited application in tournament competition.

I’ve watched hundreds and hundreds of BJJ matches, and I can only think of one or two cases where both contestants both ended up on their knees facing each other for more than a brief moment (inevitably one person either pulls guard or stands up).

So spending most of the match on the knees, pushing and pulling against your sparring partner, is a waste of sparring time.

But what are your alternatives?

Well, often you can ask your opponent to start in a specific position. Tell him something » Continue Reading.

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Marcelo Garcia’s Top Game

While Marcelo Garcia is rightly known for his excellent guard, his guard passing and ability to submit from dominant positions is equally impressive. First, let’s here from Leo Kirby, who has been breaking down Marcelo’s game for years, about Marcelo’s Jiu Jitsu when he’s in a dominant position: Here are a few things that I […]

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Reverse De-La Riva Guard

There are several different names for this guard (reverse de la Riva, spiral guard, Paraestra guard, Terra guard, standing half-guard, etc.), and several different modalities of attack. Regardless, the reverse de la Riva (DLR) guard is a form of open guard that uses the instep to hook inside the lead leg of a standing or kneeling […]

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The Leo Viera Back Take

Sometimes the most enjoyable techniques are those that are both fun and functional. The Leo Vieira roll (for lack of a better name) is one of those techniques. It’s not the most complex move to pull off, but there are a few points of which anyone attempting this transition to the rear mount should be […]

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The Leg Drag Pass

Martin Aedma leg drag pass: The first step to passing the guard is having good posture. This may seem obvious, but I’ve seen many decent guard players become lost when passing. Remember: elbows in tight, spine straight, weight over the hips, guys. The style of guard pass explored today is called the “leg drag.” Although […]

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The 50/50 Guard

Has there ever been a more controversial guard than the 50/50 guard? When the guard first emerged at the highest levels on the IBJJF circuit, many people, including multiple world champions, decried it as being nothing more than a cheap stalling guard that results in no real progression of the position. Despite that, the 50/50 […]

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The 50/50 Guard

Has there ever been a more controversial guard than the 50/50 guard? When the guard first emerged at the highest levels on the IBJJF circuit, many people, including multiple world champions, decried it as being nothing more than a cheap stalling guard that results in no real progression of the position. Despite that, the 50/50 […]

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Inverted Guard

The inverted guard. A guard that has been the subject of more than a little controversy with one side deriding the pure ‘sport only’ aspect of the guard while others seeing it as an evolution of the sport, often with the claim that no BJJ practitioner would actually attempt the inverted guard in the oft-quoted […]

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X-Guard

Popularized by none other than the legendary Marcelo Garcia, the X-guard was introduced to the world from Marcelo’s performance in the 2003 ADCC. In this article we will go over what is the X-guard, a look at some of its variations, and its continued use to this day. But first, check out Marcelo’s masterful use […]

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De La Riva Guard

TheDe La Riva guard is quite possibly the most popular and dominant style of open guard being utilized by most Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners today. In this article, we will be taking a brief look at the history of the De La Riva guard as well as exploring how the guard has continued to evolve, […]

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Knee on Belly

Knee on belly, knee on stomach, knee ride; three different names for one of the most painfully uncomfortable positions in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. In today’s article we will be taking a look at some of the concepts and common uses of this position. While most lower belts have probably felt the crushing and inescapable pressure […]

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