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Any time you’re on your back, with an opponent in front of you, and your feet are not crossed behind their back, you have the Open Guard. Though there are many different forms of Open Guard, let’s look at one important feature that determines how effective it is…Gripping.

By eliminating, or “killing”, one of the opponent’s arms you can reduce the opponent’s passing opportunities. Gripping with two of your hands on one of the opponent’s sleeves helps accomplish this mission. Then work to get a foot between you and your opponent by posting your foot somewhere on their hip or thigh. This posture can provide you with substantial control. At this point we begin to utilize the Push/Pull Principle by pulling with your arms and pushing with your leg to off-balance the opponent.

Eventually, upgrading from 2-on-1 sleeve-only gripping strategy to a sleeve and a cross-collar grip on their lapel, while placing your feet onto their hips or thighs, is paramount for breaking the opponent’s posture even further. The opponent will normally bring their free arm into the game by trying to control your free leg with their free arm. Use this to set up attacks by getting your free foot to the opponent’s bicep then follow their arm movement. Now this is control. If the opponent brings that arm back to clear your foot don’t stay connected. Bend your knee and wait for the opponent to bring their arm back into range and then reengage.

When it comes to NoGi gripping, here’s a couple strategies to follow that provide some decent results:

· 2-on-1 Wrist and Elbow Control

o Cross-grip their wrist and same-side grip above the elbow

o Try getting your same side foot to their hip

o The key is to use the feet with this grip

o Continuously pull the opponent out of posture

o Switching the grip arrangement to a cross-grip on their elbow from the inside with a same-side grip on their wrist helps with pulling their arm across (good for setting up arm attacks)

· 2-on-1 Wrist-only Control

o Both of your hands grip on the opponent’s wrist

o Both of your feet are on the opponent’s hips

o Now look for what the opponent is doing to react then counter it

o This is also a good way to get the opponent to pull back hard. If on your back with the opponent standing over you, getting to your feet after they pull their arm free is definitely a good way to even things up.

Learn. Drill. Roll. TRANSFORM!

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