My guest blogger is none other then my four stripe brown belt Todd Richards. Todd's guard is really good so this makes an appropriate topic for him to blog about!- Keith Owen www.bjjmoves.com
One thing I struggled with when I started Jiu-Jitsu was
being defensive from my back. As a former wrestler, being on my back with an
aggressive opponent was something I was not particularly comfortable with. I
struggled with this all the way through white and blue belt!
While I had a good closed guard, my open guard, against an
aggressive opponent was not good. When
my opponent did pass I was also not good at recovering guard. I finally decided that this was something I
needed to focus on. I knew that the
thought process I was using was not effective because it had not worked in the
Most of the people who know me know I am a big pretty big
nerd. I have a huge interest in castles
and medieval style warfare. I decided that I needed to construct my defenses just
like a castle. A castle has layered defenses in order to protect the king.
Building my “Castle Of Defense” started from the ground up. I decided that my head and my neck would be
THE KING of the castle because they were the most vulnerable and the least able
to defend themselves on their own. It is pretty hard to stop a choke by just
moving your neck around.
The next thing I needed were soldiers to protect my king.
The idea I had for SOLDIERS was my arms because, while they are great at
defending my head and neck, they are also vulnerable if they got into a bad
position. So my arms (soldiers)
constructed my first layer of defense while on my back.
The next layer was my hips and turning onto my side. I labeled
these as the INTERIOR DOORS of the castle because while they can slow down an
opponent they cannot directly stop someone from attacking my neck (the King). The movement of your hips also works well with
the arms (soldiers) to create “frames” and keep the enemy at a distance.
Next I needed INTERIOR WALLS for my castle and these would
be my legs and inner thighs because they are used for pushing people back and
keeping them out, creating space against an opponent and then attacking them through
sweeps and submissions. This is most prevalent in the form of the half guard.
These three layers, the soldiers, interior doors and interior walls work in
concert as “defensive layers” preventing an opponent from getting to my neck
(the king) or passing guard. The next layers are more offensive.
The best defense is a great offense. The next two layers work more as attacking
layers to keep an opponent away and to gain an advantage. The EXTERIOR WALLS of
my castle are my shins and my ankles, specifically as hooks. These are used for
elevating my opponent or for moving them in conjunction with my soldiers (my
arms) throughout the castle working with grips and pushing to control and
attack my opponent. This layer also works well for controlling the distance and
redirecting an opponent, keeping them off balance so I can counter attack.
The last layer is THE MOAT to my castle. This would consist of the soles of my feet to
push and move my opponent while I attack my opponent. It is difficult to attack at such a long
range, however it is also difficult for my opponent to attack me.
The last piece of my castle is my closed guard. This is THE
COURTYARD to my castle. The closed guard is inside the moat and the outer wall
layers of my defenses. It is close to my
inner wall layer but the closed guard is also different because it is a better
place to attack. The courtyard of a castle can be riddled with different traps
making it dangerous place for an opponent.
By combining these layers and being able to transition
between them is essential. None of the layers work by themselves. They work in tandem, to form a solid castle
of defense, to stop an opponent and allow you to defend; then attack an
opponent. This strategy might seem weird but it has worked well for me!
Long Live the King!
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