My first two when I teach open guard: Open guard is among the most difficult skills to learn in Jiu jitsu. Part of the problem is that it’s a big, interconnected skill area. If you lack skills in one area the whole project can look and feel weak. Another problem is that as you are trying to enact your guard play, your opponent is trying to enact his guard passing. As a result you have to try to impose your whilst simultaneously defending his. This often tends to shut developing students down as they get caught somewhere between their desire for offense and their need for defense. I found over the years most students (above blue belt level – should focus on guard retention first and fundamental initially) do best when they learn the skills of GUARD RETENTION and as their first skills to focus upon. All the other skills of guard play are contingent upon being able to hold a guard for extended periods of time against strong passing pressure. Without that as a foundation I can’t show you anything of value from guard. However, you can’t just get stuck in defensive cycles where you just defend and defend and defend – you have to carry the attack to your opponent. Learning to tie guard retention into counterattacks is a crucial part of your journey into advanced Jiu jitsu. The most readily available for of attack from guard is leg locking. The legs are almost impossible for an opponent to completely hide from you as he engages in passing. As such, I put a very heavy emphasis on guard retention and leg locking as the basis of my guard play coaching program once students have gone beyond beginner level. Learning to synthesize them leads to a powerful amalgamation of DEFENSIVE RESPONSIBILITY with CONTINUOUS OFFENSE – which is the of good guard play.