10 Oct 2008

Opening up

One of the hardest aspects - well one of many, many - in my BJJ training is trying to break away from my old habits. Despite learning and drilling loads of new techniques every week, I still rely on the same old techniques when it comes to live sparring. You know the ones - closed guard, scissor sweep, maybe a passably bad one legged guard pass etc. They are the same techniques I did at white belt and still do at blue. But look at any brown or black belt. You hardly ever see them use closed guard, or any of the same techniques that white and blue belts do. Why?

One of the things I have noticed is how my instructors Nick, Eddie and other high grades I have sparred with all are adept at open guard. So I've resolved to change my habits and open up my guard and play a more loose game - attempting to transition between various guard positions. My current favourite is the Del La Riva guard and it's variants. It looks really loose and easy to pass, but when I've started using it against a standing and sometimes even a sitting down uke (who is in combat base), it is amazing how durable it actually is. During my private sessions with Nick, I've been playing with the reverse Del La Riva and X-guard. For me, it's a whole new world that has got me all dizzy. But I am trying to make the effort and use them in live sparring. With some interesting, though encouraging results. I feel this is the start of a new phase in my BJJ journey.

Mind you, none of this is useful in our own trad JJ groundfighting competitions as the rules state - knees on the ground and no standing. This is fine with me, I have no skills in stand-up sparring so starting on the knees is all I know. But it means some aspects of the open guard game is not applicable. Which is a shame as they are really cool. So, come October 25th, watch me as I attempt my same old, same old - passably ok closed guard, dodgy scissor sweep, ropey armbar and choke defying escapes. Who knows, it might just work again.

About the Author


Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.


Anonymous said...

Reminds me of something Bob Breen said about stand-up fighting: if you were a night watchman you wouldn't stand in front of one door all night - you'd make a regular round of all the doors to check the locks. He says your defence in sparring should be the same.

Alternatively you could just by a BIG dog.

Dave T.


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