Knowing what you are against is half the battle – Guard Retention: There are few in Jiu Jitsu that are more important for than guard retention. If someone passes your guard you are now one hundred percent defensive and you won’t be able to get back on the until you recover your guard. In a short time match this may mean that half the match time is lost based on that one mistake. Moreover, now your opponent is ahead on points and no longer feels compelled to engage and as a consequence you will have to push the action to catch up – never easy on an opponent who is not engaging. Guard retention is among the more difficult to teach to students. I always like to begin by clearly outlining what an opponent actually has to do to pass your guard. In fact it is not an easy process. He must complete five sequential steps:
1 – Break whatever grip/ you have to him sufficiently to be able to move independently of you
2 – get an angle
3 – close distance and bypass your legs and get past the line of your hips
4 – lower his to get chest to chest (or in some cases knee to stomach)
5 – hold you in a pin with one shoulder to the floor for three seconds That’s a lot of work! Your job as the athlete retaining guard is to fight each one of those sequential steps as they occur. THE FURTHER INTO THE SEQUENCE YOUR OPPONENT GETS THE MORE DIFFICULT THE TASK OF RETENTION BECOMES AND THE MORE RISK YOU WILL HAVE TO TAKE TO PREVENT THE PASS. By breaking down the act of passing into these sequential steps, students can more easily identify what they must do to stop an opponent and when they ought to be applying a given defense. Once your retention game has a sense of DIRECTION you can take away the mad scramble elements that often detract from many beginning athletes attempts at guard retention and skillfully hold even a determined passer – and when you can HOLD a guard, you can ATTACK and FINISH from guard – and that’s what Jiu Jitsu bottom position is all about!