Jumping Guard

In a tournament, getting the takedown, passing guard, and staying on top is almost always the preferred strategy. I can’t count the times I’ve seen someone jump guard and promptly have their guard passed and end up losing the match due to giving up the top position from the start. However, there are times when jumping guard pays off and helps you win the match.

  • You know you’re not going to get the takedown – let’s face it, sometimes you know you are not going to get the takedown on your opponent. If this is the case, it’s better to work for a strategically timed guard jump than to struggle for the takedown.
  • You’re ahead on points and there’s little time remaining – clock management is one of the most overlooked aspects of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament strategy. If you’re in a situation where you need to eat up the clock, pulling your opponent into closed guard and playing down the clock is viable.
  • The match is tied and there’s little time left – this is a risky move but sometimes advantages are awarded for aggressive guard jumps especially when followed by submission attempts. This is on par with going for the desperation takedown with little time left on the clock. It’s a risk but with a tied score it could push you over the top.

Here are some tips for pulling guard effectively.

  • Set it up – a poorly setup guard pull is easy to defend and leaves you in a vulnerable position. Setup the guard pull by getting the proper grips your opponent first (I prefer the collar and sleeve). Make sure your distance is correct. Think of guard pulling like striking. You want to be within striking distance to pull guard effectively.
  • Too aggressive is better than not aggressive enough – this is one area where you don’t want to make a half hearted attempt. There’s no backing out of the guard jump once you start. It’s not like a takedown where you can fake a shot. The guard jump is mostly an all or nothing event. Make sure you’re physically and mentally committed to it before attempting it.
  • Have a plan – once you pull guard, start working immediately on your next step. Attack your opponents posture and work for the submisssion or sweep out of the gate The easiest time to pull your technique off is before your opponent settles in your guard.

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