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Fundamental Open Guard Positioning


Stephen Kesting from Grapplearts.com demonstrating Open Guard positioning

In the beginning stages of training for many BJJ students the Closed Guard (feet are crossed behind your opponent’s back) is normally emphasized. However, in time the student eventually learns that this can be a hindrance as much as a help. Understanding Open Guard positioning is absolutely necessary when it comes to further growth in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Let’s look at some of the foundational Guards within the Open Guard family.


One of the most utilized and popular Open Guards, which can be done in both Gi and NoGi, is the Butterfly or Sitting Guard. Being comfortable with the proper space you need between the opponent and yourself allows you to defend and attack with increased proficiency.


When it comes to understanding correct body positioning with the Butterfly/Sitting Guard the student should realize there are many facets to it which are worth further study:

· Head positioning

· Upper Torso positioning

· Arm/Hand positioning

· Leg/Feet positioning

· The relationship between correct positioning of the hands and feet

· Hip positioning


When it comes to more of a strictly Gi Open Guard the Butterfly Guard can be utilized. However, a Guard using the Collar/Sleeve control method seems to present itself quite a bit, especially in the beginning years. So stating that it’s important to be comfortable with proper Gi grips is an understatement. What’s more important really is a firm knowledge of how to create pressure with the grips that one obtains.


Again, knowing correct body positioning with this variation of Open Guard is a must. Moreover, becoming adept with your legs and feet within this structure can truly elevate the position to another level for you.


Learn. Drill. Roll. TRANSFORM!

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