In this second installment of we will look at how to prevent our opponent from going hurricane on our behinds when we have already messed up a bit by landing in a weak guard position. I call this controlling the storm and it is a topic of grave in importance that is rarely talked about in the online Jiu-jitsu community. We will talk about breaking posture, catching the leg and wrapping them up in the gi.
You feel your empty hands, you sense the lack of tension in your legs, you start sweating, you make eye contact and the both of you know what’s up. You have no grips or leg control at all, the sky looks dark and the storm is about to hit.
Obviously you messed up and now you are on your back in the no-grips guard if you don’t do something real fast, you will get your guard passed. What are you going to do now? Well first we figure out the goal then we figure out the method. Our short term goal is to stop this guy from moving and our end goal is to start being offensive from here. So we’ll try to shut down the movement in a way that sets up our attacks.
There are three ways to shut down the movement of a standing opponent and they are mostly very instinctive reactions, they are: Breaking the posture, controlling a leg and wrapping him up in the gi. The hard part is using the right one at the right time, a true master will often stack multiple of these methods on top of each other in order to really shut down the passer and set up a strong offense.
I invite you to watch this 30 min video of Keenan Rolling, because he starts in the “no grips guards” the whole time so you will see him apply these methods all the time.
The first and most basic way is breaking the posture, basically every time you pull him down in a way that messes with the hip/ shoulder alignment you are breaking his posture. When your posture is broken it becomes very hard to move around because your balance is severely compromised. If you start out with absolutely no grips the easiest way to do this is to just grab the collar with one or two hands and pulling down as hard as you can, if you do this right it will make your opponent feel as if you are hanging on them.
If the toreando flurry start from a double biceps spider guard it is fair to assume that you still have a sleeve grip, in this case your strongest posture breaking weapon will be a lasso hook, with this kind of control you keep his upper body close to you and the weight of your leg will allow you to break the posture. If you start out with a collar grip it’s usually extremely easy to add the lasso too, this will shut down most people’s speed passing really quickly.
A good toreando passer in ideal circumstances will keep pressure and chaotic movement on your legs with his arms while his legs move all over the place and far outside of your reach. Luckily for the guard player you are actually in a fight where ideal situations are rare so usually you will either be able to catch a leg with a de la Riva hook or with a pints grip either before the attack starts or when he is closing the distance.
Both a pants grip and a de la Riva hook are strong controls but in contemporary jiu-jitsu times people are experts at breaking them. Hooks get push down and grips get broken, that’s why it’s absolutely crucial to move forward from the first control you get on the leg. Basically it will allow you to shut down the movement for one second and in this timeframe you will want to add at least one extra control, preferably some sort of upper body control like a nice lapel grip. The guy on top should feel like fly that was flying around freely a moment ago but is now all of a sudden trapped in some sort of spider web and well on its way to get eaten.
From leg control I prefer to go to some sort of lasso, deep de la Riva or Lo guard but really you should use this opportunity to transition into your favorite position.
A third alternative is wrapping your opponent up into some sort of lapel guard, usually before even attempting to play this kind of guard you should have some sort control already set up as it can take some time to set up. But you can go from No grips guard to some sort of lapel guard if your opponent’s gi is already loose. If you know your opponent likes to pass like this and you insist on pulling guard then it can pay off to open up the gi before you pull.
In essence wrapping someone up in the gi is really just another way of breaking the posture.
When you end up on the bottom with no grips, you still have a lot of options and the sooner you start attacking the safer you will be. Never chill in this position as you are literally only one jump away from getting your guard passed. Next week, we’ll look at how to counter attack from against the toreando pass.
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Stapho started training Brazilian jiu-jitsu in 2009 in Belgium where training was scarce but he was hooked from the first class nonetheless. It didn’t take long for him to watch every instructional available and to replace everything in his room with mats. Some days he would spend 6 hours on public transportation in order to get 2 hours of training. In 2015 he finally decided to follow his dream, quit school and move to Stockholm to train full time at Prana Jiu-jitsu. He is now a purple belt with big hopes who has collected medals all over Europe. Apart from jiu jitsu he reads non-stop about nutrition, psychology, sport science and strategy. Since 2009 Stapho has been addicted to Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Originally from Belgium he is currently training full time in Stockholm Sweden and on his way to a Brown belt.
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