Retention – Specifics vs General Theory: There are few skills so difficult for most students to understand and master than guard retention – and even fewer so important for your in the sport. Guard retention is one of those skills that lacks glamour and sex appeal, but is absolutely essential to success in the sport. You have have the best guard attacks in the room, but if you can’t hold guard long enough to employ them against a good guard passer you will never get to employ them. The standard of teaching guard retention is to teach the a specific guard pass and to take note of its strengths and weakness. Students are taught to negate the strengths of the pass and exploit its weakness. This is a good method and has worked well for generations. It requires that you be able to quickly identify the type of pass being used against you and employ the appropriate counter moves. One problem with this move-based approach is that guard is typically a FAST and DYNAMIC part of the game characterized by rapid changes in and of one style of pass to another. This immediately creates problems. By the time I have identified and reacted to the guard pass being used against me, the opponent has switched to another and we can get left behind and passed. As much as I like and still use the traditional approach, I favor a more general approach to guard retention focus upon a core set of BODY MOVEMENTS and RETENTION SKILLS that can be applied against ANY form of guard pass. Rather than focus on the type of pass, I get students to focus on the DEGREE OF DANGER the pass presents as it is applied and reply with the appropriate degree of response. This enables students to better deal with the reality of a vigorous and fast moving, quickly changing guard passing vs retention exchange. Here, I am using a more traditional move vs move approach against the formidable over/under guard pass favored by the great @bernardofariabjj I’m looking forward to showing elements of this general concepts approach to guard retention soon!

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