Understanding the Guard in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Understanding the Guard in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Breaking Down the Basics of the Guard:

This article is primarily written for our Bots and Bots Parents, but it includes information that any BJJ practitioner should do well to know!  I wanted to spend a moment explaining the Guard and Passing the Guard as it relates to Bots Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Also, we have a summer camp in the works for all the Bots Martial Arts students!

1) Understanding the Guard

The Guard is a position in Jiu Jitsu wherein a practitioner has their back to the floor but is still able to create offensive opportunities such as sweeps (going from the bottom position to on top) and submissions. In contrast, the practitioner on top is almost solely focused on “passing the guard” which refers to navigating around the legs to a dominant position (such as the mount or side control) in order to apply their own submissions.

In this photo, White is applying an armbar from the closed guard (the armbar is a submisson that hyper-extends the elbow joint) on Blue’s right arm. White then sweeps Blue so that the armbar can be finished with Blue on his back. This affords additional leverage to White because Blue is unable to press his weight into White to relieve the pressure of the submission. 

Why Learn the Guard?

In the Bots Martial Arts classes, we spend most of our time on how to use the guard offensively (referred to as “playing guard”) and how to avoid the guard and move into dominant position (referred to as “passing the guard). To understand why we spend the majority of our time studying this, let’s make an analogy to a snowball going down a hill. Once the snowball gets rolling, it will continue to gain momentum and add more snow as it flies down the hill. The hardest part is the first step: getting that snowball rolling! Once you do that, the rest is fairly easy.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is similar in this respect. Successfully sweeping from the guard and then passing the guard are the hardest things to do in Jiu Jitsu. Once completed, we end in a dominant position, such as side control, mount, or the back mount. From here, applying a submission is comparatively simple. If submissions were difficult from this point, we would not consider side control, etc. to be dominant positions! :] Once there is an understanding of how to pass the guard, the rest of the Jiu Jitsu-puzzle-pieces fall into place. Starting the Bots early on sweeps and guard passing creates a steeper learning-curve, but creates the most gains in the long term.

Lastly, learning to use the guard and pass the guard for younger students is especially beneficial because it requires the use of the entire body. Coordinating your limbs and supporting them with your core promotes the type of posture and movement that prevents injuries and creates an excellent foundation for Bots’ physical wellness that will be with them their entire life!

2) Bots Summer Camp

Tentative Dates: June 24th – June 28th

We have a Bots Summer Camp in the works! We are planning on having Jiu Jitsu early in the morning, followed by educational / social activities and then a later session of Muay Thai.

We are still working to pin down the exact dates, and start / end times. June 24th – June 28th is our starting point, but it would be possible to extend these dates to June 30th. Further, we are trying to decide if parents would prefer a half-day that begins around 7am or 8am and ends around 12pm, or a full-day that ends around 3pm or 4pm.

If you are interested in having your Bot participate, please get in contact with Coach Tim with what your preferences would be. From there, we will carve out more exact details and then re-confirm with all parents. Movie night was a ton of fun for everyone and Summer Camp will be a fantastic time as well! :]
Here we see a young boy playing with a wild tiger!

Think Robot Fight & Fitness is the best gym in Los Angeles?  Want to tell your friends about us?  Have them schedule a free trial class or bring them to Robot in person.  Our Martial Arts for Kids program teaches the Bots more than the best martial arts!  They learn self-confidence, proper ways to move, and how to deal with challengers.