Another cold wintery night and I’m off to Academy Sport for my next Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class. I’m feeling quite positive and looking forward to this class as it is a beginners’ lesson and the class is filled with white belts like me.
This week the lesson focused on breaking out of closed guard. This is the position that is almost a default for the competitor that has found himself on his back. It is immediately identifiable as it looks so unorthodox for two competing practitioners. Anyone who has watched Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) will recognise it. The opponent lying on his back has his legs wrapped around the waist of his opponent who is typically on his knees with his bottom as close to the mat as possible.
From his back, the floor bound BJJ practitioner is relatively safe but this does not apply in MMA as being on the floor makes it difficult to have any power in striking and the upright fighter can strike with a lot of power on a target that is very isolated. But we are concentrating on BJJ, where the floor bound practitioner may at some point need to open his guard to move to a submission. If the guard remains closed, that is, the feet are used to lock the upright opponent in place, it’s a bit of a stalemate. So, the upright opponent needs to open the legs around his waist to execute a submission.
The technique we learned this week was to stand up. Sounds simple, right? Basically, while holding onto the collar of your opponent, you plant one foot on the mat, then the other, and in one swift movement, thrust yourself upwards as if you are an Olympic weight lifter. This is equivalent to a very deep squat. My first attempts were terrible and I have strong legs. But I’ll get used to it. Also, using the floor to drag and your opponent’s weight to your advantage makes it a lot easier. Once upright, keep your hips forward but don’t lean back too far. At this point, the opponent that was on the floor now finds herself effectively hanging from the legs. With gravity and a push of your hand inside the knee of your opponent, it won’t be long until the guard is broken and you are free to make your next move.
More on what to do next on my next post.