Posts Tagged ‘flexible’

Flexible Guards, and how to deal with them.

There are many notable exclamation points on our BJJ timelines. One of those points that I found massively annoying and unforgettable is the first time I came across a persons guard who seemed to me, at the time, impossible to pass. As you exert all of your energy while flying in every direction you can think of, they have this smug look on their bastard faces:

Smug flexible guard player, Gumby.

gumbytheasshole

That son of a green bitch.

No matter what you throw at them their body just pancakes and squeaks away.

But as with all things, we evolve. At the highest levels of competition massive amounts of flexibility is still a major nuisance for guard passers, but their tricks are being decoded even as I type this.

For this breakdown and analysis I’m going to show how two of the best guard passers (in my most humblest of opinions) in the BJJ world, Rodolfo Vieira and Rafael Mendes, pass a flexible opponents guard using basic principles to isolate an opponents hips. It’s not intended to be a step-by-step tutorial of the passes they are executing and basically I am just focusing on the principles of their passes. Check it out, and see if you can implement some of these principles into your guard passing game. You’ll note that Rodolfo deals with spider guard much more and keeps his hips away before bringing them back in, as to where Rafa is dealing mostly with DLR and open guard so quite often stays in a squat like position before going for his passes. I believe it’s better for someone to understand the principle of something than to know a technique out of the blue, because that way people will develop their own methods for deconstruction something.

Let’s start with the Pressure Passing King and Supreme Chancellor of Leg Drags, Rodolfo Vieira and Rafa Mendes, respectfully.

Rodolfo Vieira & Rafael Mendes

A flexible opponent can often bring their opposite side leg across your chest which helps them square up. Or they will bring it under your arm and attempt to invert. Rafa and Rodolfo attempt to solve this problem by doing a number of things and there’s many intricate things going on in these clips but what I feel are the main points are:

1. Turning their opponents hips AWAY from them but not allowing them to turtle.

2. Using their heads as a wedge to divide their opponents legs from their torso.

3. Gripping the upper back of their opponent.

4. Blocking the far side leg, either with their leg or their arms. (typically the shin)

5. They stay at the lower body and controls the hips, not the upper body of their opponent like traditional side control.

6. Often times, their passes aren’t just one smooth movement, they’ll settle into each step comfortably and slowly.

7. Stack, then dive for the leg drag position with another stack.

In the video below, I point out some basic observations that I mentioned above.

Passing flexible people is all about controlling their hips and taking away the space for them to rotate. If you grab a flexible guys leg, he can still spin his hips around. Try pinning a leg with your shin and then reaching around their hip or wedging your head in but all the while trying to control where their hip is and what it is facing. When you stack, try and get them on their neck or they can still swivel on their shoulders. Don’t just try and stack them into oblivion and force them away from you, try and keep them attached to you. Pull their upper body into you while pushing their legs away with your shoulder so they can’t turtle. So much of it is about tightness. When Rodolfo stacks he tries to stack them on their neck, not on their shoulder blades. He mitigates how much they can move by gripping the back of their collar (pulling towards him) and gripping their pants at the butt (pulling up).

Another excellent tid bit is how Rafa will simply change his upper body angle to be able to reach with the arm he wants to reach with. He actually turns away from his opponent briefly so that his left arm can get to the left side of his opponent faster. Don’t be afraid to reach across your own body and grab the outside of an opponent. He always tries to find the shortest route to do something, which leaves no space available. Moving yourself is most of the time much easier than moving your opponent to where you’d like them to be. Like so:

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A noticeable attribute with Rafa Mendes and Rodolfo Vieira is that they typically go around the legs, vice someone like Leandro Lo who goes through their opponents guard. Leandro Lo’s style of passing is excellent against flexible individuals, and paired with Rafa and Rodolfo’s excellent styles makes for quite an arsenal of BJJ guard passes. Check out Leandro Lo’s style via BJJ Scout here.

This is only a small handful of examples that are out there, don’t fear the guard! And my biggest recommendation is to just get right into someones guard and discover what is going on for yourself. You’ll never be able to execute passes if you don’t try. Look for a handful to start with (the Leandro Lo DLR counters by BJJ Scout is my favorite guard passing series in the world) and just step in and work your way through it. You might not get it perfect the first time (you won’t) but eventually you’ll have a great guard passing game.

Bottom Line:

– Control their hips. Control the direction their hips are facing and where the hip itself is. (On the ground, in the air, etc)

-Try new things, check out Youtube and try to implement what you can into your game at the gym. BJJ has a nice natural way of showing you what will and won’t work on the mat. Give it a couple tries and if it’s not working ask your friends and coach and if it still doesn’t work, shelf it and move on to something else.

-Stack them to their neck, not just their shoulder blades, then wedge your head in while controlling them with a collar grip and a back of the pants grip.

-Give intense pressure with your shin into their leg and then with the same side arm reach to the opposite side outside hip of your opponent and try and pull them into a post leg drag position.

-Generally speaking keep your hips extremely tight to your opponent. No space!

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