Hey there, BJJ family!

At Southern Soul Academy, we’re always excited to dive into the intricate world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and today, we’re exploring a fundamental concept that is both a challenge and an adventure for many practitioners: the open guard. Whether you’re a veteran grappler or just starting your BJJ journey, understanding the open guard can transform your game and open up a world of possibilities on the mats.

What is the Open Guard?

In the simplest terms, the open guard refers to a position in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu where you are on your back, and your legs are not locked around your opponent’s body. Unlike the closed guard, where you control your opponent by wrapping your legs around them, the open guard gives you more freedom of movement and a wider range of attacks and defenses.

Why is the Open Guard Important?

  1. Versatility and Flexibility: The open guard is a dynamic position that allows for a variety of sweeps, submissions, and transitions. It lets you react to your opponent’s movements and capitalize on their mistakes.
  2. Control and Distance Management: Mastering the open guard means you can control the distance between you and your opponent. This is crucial for both defense and offense, helping you avoid getting passed and setting up attacks.
  3. Foundation for Advanced Techniques: Many advanced guards like the De La Riva, Spider Guard, and Butterfly Guard stem from the open guard. Understanding the basics of open guard is essential for progressing to these more specialized techniques.

Types of Open Guard

There are several variations of the open guard, each with its unique strategies and benefits. Here are a few common ones:

  • De La Riva Guard: Named after Ricardo de la Riva, this guard involves hooking one of your legs around the outside of your opponent’s leg while controlling their sleeves or collars. It’s great for off-balancing your opponent and setting up sweeps.
  • Spider Guard: In this guard, you use your feet to control your opponent’s arms by placing them on their biceps while gripping their sleeves. The Spider Guard is excellent for creating distance and executing various submissions and sweeps.
  • Butterfly Guard: This guard involves placing your feet inside your opponent’s thighs while sitting up. It’s highly effective for sweeps and transitioning to dominant positions.

Tips for Playing Open Guard

  1. Stay Active: The open guard requires constant movement and adjustments. Keep your legs and grips active to maintain control and create opportunities.
  2. Control the Grips: Effective grip fighting is crucial in the open guard. Control your opponent’s sleeves, collars, or pants to limit their movement and set up your attacks.
  3. Be Patient: Don’t rush. The open guard is about finding the right moment to attack or sweep. Stay calm, and wait for your opponent to make a mistake.
  4. Practice Different Variations: Experiment with different types of open guard to find what works best for you. Each variation offers unique advantages and can be used in different situations.

Embrace the Journey

At Southern Soul Academy, we believe that every position in BJJ is an opportunity for growth and learning. The open guard is no exception. It’s a gateway to developing a versatile and effective guard game, enhancing your overall Jiu Jitsu skills, and building confidence on and off the mats.

So, next time you roll, embrace the open guard with an open mind. Play with different grips, experiment with sweeps, and most importantly, have fun. Remember, every challenge is a step towards becoming the best version of yourself.

See you on the mats!