6 BJJ Mat Tips to Improve Your Closed Guard Attacks (Part 1)

May 6, 2011

If I told you I knew 6 simple training tips that would make your closed guard more threatening to your opponents, would you be interested?

If you’re a serious grappler, the answer is obviously yes!

And though these tips probably aren’t new or exciting, they could mean the difference in you having better control of your opponent and improving your submission attempts, while keeping your opponent from cutting through your closed guard like a hot knife through butter.

Here are Tips 1-3 for improving your closed guard attacks:

Tip #1: Don’t allow your opponent to get their grips – When grapplers start out sparring in the guard position, the grappler on the bottom usually allows the grappler inside their guard to get their grips so they can start to escape. Every time you allow your opponent to get their grips while inside your guard first, you give them an advantage that makes it easier for them to pass your guard.

Tip #2: Keep your opponents head in front of their hips – I know, how do I keep my opponent’s head in front of their hips during a match. You do that by forcing your opponent to use bad posture and not allowing them to get correct posture. The easiest way to do that is by pulling your opponent off his base by pulling them forward towards you. If your opponent can’t maintain good posture, it’s highly unlikely they’ll be able to pass your guard.

Tip #3: Get into your opponent’s “blind spot” by using angled attacks – Whenever you start with your opponent in your guard and you’re parallel with them, your opponent can see you using their full mat vision. But once you start breaking down their posture (while scooting out your hips off their center line), you’ve moved into their “blind spot”, making the task of keeping their natural body posture more important than trying to pass your guard. Your opponent can’t stop you from sweeping or submitting them if they can’t see or face you head-on.

In the next article (Part 2), I will reveal Tips 4-6 for improving your closed guard attacks.

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Happy Thanksgiving

November 26, 2010

If you live in the U.S., then you’re celebrating Thanksgiving with
family members and friend that you care most about… or at least
can put up with for a few days!¬† ūüôā

Seriously, I wanted to send you a quick note to say from my
family to yours… HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

I’m thankful for your support and friendship.¬† I also hope we’ll
get to share with each other in the future because of our love
for BJJ and the grappling arts.

Enjoy your day!

Dedicated to improving your mat experience!

Paul Greenhill (aka The Wise Grappler)


The Wise Grappler QofTD:

November 4, 2010

The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.

William James


OG Starting Over at BJJ After Quitting

November 3, 2010

Paul, I’m a 36 year old OG. I started BJJ back in 2003 and quit a
few times. Well now I want to try again but I keep backing out. I’ve
even driven out to the gym only to turn around and go home. I
suppose I’m worried about looking out of shape and getting hurt. I
think I’ve forgotten all my techniques too. What should I do?


TWG:¬† This problem isn’t as tough as you think and happens quite
often, OG.

First, you should do is recognize the fact that deep down inside,
you REALLY want to train at BJJ, maybe even become a black belt
someday.¬† The reason I point that out is to show you that you’re
NOT as big a quitter as you feel.¬† If you were a “true quitter”,
you wouldn’t still be thinking about going back to the mat or going
as far as driving down to the school, in spite of the fact that you
never stop and go inside the school.

Second, 90 percent of this struggle comes from your poor mental
mindset about who you are or what you think you should be.  It
doesn’t matter that you’re out-of-shape because most of the people
that start training are out-of-shape in the beginning, me included.
You just have to get back in there and let the training get you in
shape.  And as far as forgetting the techniques that you learned
back in the day, no one will know that unless you want to go in and
start telling people that you’ve been training since 2003.¬† If you
go into the school like you’re a brand new student that’s never
taken a BJJ class before, then there’s no pressure to remember
anything you learned back in the day and you can learn like every
other newbie taking BJJ for the first time.

Finally, as for worrying about getting hurt, you should know since
you’ve been training that bumps and bruises come along with the BJJ
Training.¬† If you’re really concerned about it, use that concern to
help guide you to the right school to train.¬† You don’t need to be
at a school with a bunch of up-and-coming MMAers where the risk of
being used as a grappling bag with feet is likely.  Check around
and (if possible) find a school that’s being run by an OG
Instructor (see my website for a list of schools).¬† If there aren’t
any schools run by an OG in your area, pay attention to the school
that seems to have a good number of OGs in their classes and talk
with a few of them.  That should ease your concern about being hurt
because you’re an OG.

Bottom line:  Do your homework to find the right school for you,
stop thinking about all the bad things that can happen (since most
of it is in your head), and get back on the mat so you can pursue
your dream of being a BJJ Black Belt.

And make sure to let me know once you’ve joined the school and how
the training is going once you’re back on the mat.

I hope this helps and good luck.


Are You Training with an Endpoint in Mind… or Just Killing Time?

October 30, 2010

A few days ago, I was cleaning up my office and stumbled across
some pictures that I hadn’t seen in a while. They were pics of me
training back in the day as a white belt and the early days at
LIMAA.

And once I started looking at those pics, I couldn’t help but
notice all those guys that I trained with back then that kinda got
lost along the way on my grappling journey.  Guys that I thought
were more likely to reach black belt than me.

Unfortunately, 90 percent of those guys never even made it to blue
belt.

The thing that made me shake my head in disappointment was the fact
that many of those guys were either REALLY good or had great
potential.

And as I looked through those pictures, I saw guys that were
bigger, stronger, meaner, more technically proficient, and way more
mentally tougher than I ever could be.

But for some unknown reason, they just got off the road to black
belt.

And as I put those pictures back in the box, I thought about how we
never really talked about becoming black belts back in the day.
Most of us thought it was such a far away goal to reach that we
just trained hard and ignored it.

But now I’m starting to wonder since we never talked about or
thought of ourselves as future black belts if that contributed to
many of those guys (and gals) falling off along the grappling
journey.  Maybe just training for the sake of training, without an
end goal in mind, made it easier for many of them to lose interest
and quit.

What about your training?  Are you training with and end goal in
mind (e.g. belt rank, coaching certification, etc.) or just
training because it’s fun and gets you out of the hose a few nights
a week?

Think about that question before you answer it.  It may make the
difference as to whether you’ll still be on the mat five years from
now or talking about what you could have been had you stuck with it.


10 Common BJJ Mat Training Lows and How to Avoid Them (Part 1)

October 10, 2010

A few weeks ago, a grappler sent me an email where he talked about his frustration on the mat.

The grappler (who I’ll call Grappler X) has been training for about a year, experienced what I call “mat lows” and wanted to know if anyone else had these problems.

I assured him that he wasn’t the only BJJer experiencing these
issues and figured I’d write a list of “10 Common Mat Lows” that
every grappler experiences at some point during their grappling
journey.

I’m going to break these 10 Mat Lows down into parts so I can discuss each one in detail:

1. Progressing fast in beginning, then slowing down – when you first start training, EVERY grappler experiences that feeling of picking up things quickly because everything’s new. ¬†And when everything’s new, you’re going from someone who knows nothing to being proficient. ¬†Once you start becoming familiar with the techniques, the proficiency is still happening, it’s just not as noticeable like when you were new to the mat.

2. ¬†Unable to submit anyone during sparring – once grapplers start sparring, it’s usually difficult to submit or apply clean technique against an opponent because you’re spending too much time “thinking” about what to do instead of “reacting” to the situation at hand. The ability to “move without thinking” will only come with time, hard work and patience, NOT any sooner than that.

3. Watching classmates improve faster than you – this is something that grapplers deal with at every level, whether it’s based on friendly competition between teammates or just hating on someone that’s better than you. ¬†And since everyone learns and progresses at different paces, it’s only natural to look at the guy/gal next to you and wonder why it seems easy for them and hard for you.

In Part Two, I’ll talk about “Mat Lows” 4-7 dealing with overtraining, mat burnout, and injury.


The Wise Grappler QOTD

October 10, 2010

While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.

Henry C. Link