Go for it!

I know, I know, it’s been a while. I’m sorry, but it seems from now on my life is going to be constantly crazy, so I’m not going to explain all that’s going on. Just wanted to spread some advice that’s truly helped me so far.

As you know, from reading my previous post (if you did), I’ve been working on my leg drag pass. Now, I’m still actually working on it, but I’ve moved to working on my closed guard, instead of my half guard. It seems I spoke to soon about my half guard being harder to pass. Yes, it’s gotten better, but I found out that for some odd reason (long legs) I have a very tough closed guard and I’ve gotten rather good at attacking from it. I’m going to share a couple pointers that I noticed about closed guard later in the post, but for now, let’s discuss what I originally set out to write about.

Last week I was rolling with Andrew, one of our purple belts, and I tried to leg drag him several times. Every time I failed and I chalked it up to him just countering what I was doing. After our roll, he said, “If you’re going to go for the leg drag, go for the leg drag. You’re playing with my pants to much. If Justin (one of our black belts) goes for an arm drag, he’s either getting the arm drag or ripping your arm off.”

He then sat down into seated guard and said, “Go for the leg drag, but actually go for it.” I’ve been drilling the leg drag for months now, but when I actually went for it I must admit, I believe it was the most beautiful leg drag I’ve ever done. Andrew seemed happy with the way I did it and asked me to drill it several more times.

On my way home from BJJ, I thought about it and really tried to drill it into my head. “If you’re going to go for something, go for it 100%.” I had been playing around with the pants, trying to get grips, all the while broadcasting what I was going to do. And then, I was hesitating in the middle and backing up out of it.

After drilling that into my head, I’ve really seen an improvement in my open guard passing and in my all around game. Just for clarification, I don’t mean if you get a submission go 100% and yank it like you’re in a competition, but if you’re going to go for a submission, actually go for it. Don’t pause midway. Don’t hesitate. Don’t play around with the grips. Grip it and attempt it. That concept truly has helped me all around.

As for my mentioning earlier about closed guard tips, I hadn’t originally planned to write this when setting out, but I definitely think it’s well worth it. With that said, sorry if they aren’t great, but they are unplanned so they are off the top of my head. Here are my tips:

  1. Don’t be lazy! Always attack. If you’re constantly attacking then you’re opponent won’t have any chance to pass, as they’ll be constantly defending.
  2. Feet to the floor. I saw a video from Stephan Kesting where he was discussing a tip he read from a Shawn Williams book. In the book, Shawn Williams talked about feet and hip positioning in the bottom of the guard. Instead of laying with your hips flat on the floor and your feet crossed on their lower back, push your heels to the floor. Pushing your heels to the floor will lift your hips (making the knee in butt to break the guard practically impossible) and put tons of pressure on their hips. Now, do you do this all the time? No. If my opponent is postured up/trying to pass, yes! Always do it then. But, once I have my opponent’s posture broken, then I move up to a higher guard in order to keep it broken and create better attacks.
  3. Attack with numbers/break posture with numbers. If you’re going to attack an arm, attack with numbers. What I mean is, attack 2 on 1 if you have the opportunity. Break down an opponents frame (their arms) using the 2 on 1 method. I usually break down one arm with two, then my legs and body weight can break the rest of their frame. Think about it, if you strip 1 arm, they’ve lost 50% of their posturing strength. Unless they have a significant strength advantage, then you’re legs and weight should break the rest down. Or you can immediately used the 2 on 1 for the next arm.

Those are the tips I can think of that I’ve really noticed recently and that work well. Hopefully they can help someone with their closed guard game and hopefully I’ll be able to post more often.

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