The mental battle vs open guard
The mental battle vs open guard or the great challenge of open guard is understanding your desire for offense with your need for defense. Open guard play is probably one of the most frustrating elements of Jiu-Jitsu for most players. It offers almost limitless possibilities for attack with sweeps and submissions, but it also offers our opponent limitless opportunities for positional attacks of his own – guard passes. As we are thinking about our offensive possibilities it takes only a fraction of a second for an opponent to blast past our legs and in a flash we have gone from pondering offense to scrambling desperately for defense and preventing an opponent scoring with a guard pass. Everything we do from open guard has to be done with a sense of defensive responsibility. The main thing that prevents an opponent gaining the distance, angle and level change he requires to get past our legs is our connection to his body. If we are well connect to him, we will follow his movement easily as he tries to out flank our legs. If we lack sufficient connection he can pass your guard in a heartbeat and put you under great pressure. Whenever you begin to feel your connection to an opponent is failing, you must begin to shift from PULLING connection (offensive) to PUSHING connection (defensive) and thus create frames that prevents an opponent getting chest to chest contact and control of your head that will enable him to solidify a pass. Learning shift seamlessly from offensive grips to defensive frames as the second by second dynamic of the match unfolds is the key to reconciliation of your desire for offense and your need for defense from open guard. Here, our Savarese BJJ (www.njbjj.com) student Leo shows excellent defensive responsibility as his opponent Anoop threatens to pass his legs. His frames are quickly set in place and this will prevent further advances long enough to recover the position of his legs and the integrity of his guard.