Pulling guard in BJJ is often seen as a coward’s move. I couldn’t disagree with that notion more. The BJJ Guard Pull is actually BJJ’s only original takedown. Yes, even though it lands you on your back. You still have a position of dominance and have taken the fight to the ground. That said, one way to start respecting the guard pull is to repeatedly get caught in it. The options that follow are plentiful for your opponent and extremely limited for yourself. Luckily, there are several ways of countering the pulling guard. In fact, you can actually counter any type of guard pull, as long as you react on time.
Back when I was a white and blue belt, the BJJ guard pull was my main go-to match starter. Coming from a Judo background, I was always comfortable on my feet., However, the notion of playing guard was always very attractive to me, so I wanted to learn the ways in which can get me there. As I discovered different guards, I found further options that allowed me to get into them straight from standing. And no, it is not a move that should be frowned upon. In fact, the fact that people complain about how “unfair” and “unattractive” it only proves how efficient the BJJ guard pull can be. To that extent, if you compete in BJJ. Particularly with the Gi, you simply have to know how to deal with people pulling guard. And your best bet to achieve it is counters.
The Unique Aspects Of The BJJ Guard Pull
What exactly is the BJJ Guard Pull? In short, it is a safe way of pulling an opponent to the ground, directly into your guard. The fact that you’re pulling someone down, rather than trying to throw them or take them down makes people see it as something lesser than a takedown. IN essence, ti is not. The only difference is, you land on your back. However, in BJJ, and particularly when it comes to the guard, this is precisely what you’re after.
Form a basic sleeve and collar grip position, the idea behind the fundamental guard pull is to create distance first. To do that, you place one leg on the hip of your opponent. In most cases, it is the leg on the side where you have the sleeve grip so that your opponent can’t reach it. This is your backup, in case anything goes wrong. From there on, you sit down to the ground, pulling the opponent over you. However, how you sit down is also very important. Namely, you need to go to the side, in order to make the most of the leg you have on the hip. There are a lot more details but they’re not the subject today.
Apart from pulling the closed guard, you could also go for just about any other guard out there, While pulling an inverted guard is not a very smart or effective thing to do, other guards work perfectly well. Some examples of great BJJ Guard Pull options are the half guard and the butterfly guard. Moreover, instead of pulling you could even go and jump into guard if you desire so. And every one of these pulls can actually be prevented with timely counters. Now that is something we’ll be looking into today.
Counters Are Better Than Defense
When it comes to standing, it is best that you forget about defending. Trying to defend takedowns, throws, or even the Guard Pull, for that matter is not really effective. Instead, you need to be focusing on counters and timing them to perfection. Once you have this down, you’ll be unstoppable standing. Then you can go for some guard pulling of your own to annoy everybody.
In terms of countering you have to remember that timing is the absolute key here. That means that whenever you see/feel an opponent going for a BJJ Guard Pull, you need to be expecting a counter without overthinking. Luckily, defense always takes much less time than attack., In that sense, all you need to do is understand where the opponent is trying to get to, and how they’re going to go about it. That is the basic concept of countering guard pulls in BJJ.
If you’re looking to master further takedown defense scenarios, look intoHenry Cejudo’s brand new DVD. The four-part instructional labeled “High-Level Takedowns And Mat Control” covers defense in great depth, as well as explaining how takedowns work in the first place.
A Few BJJ Guard Pull Centers For Any Occasion
On to the counters then. The best way to be ready for a kind of BJJ Guard Pull is to master a few yourself. We’ll look into several different ways of countering the guard pull in BJJ. moreover, we’ll explore different stages of the attack, and how you can prevent each of them separately. Just as a bonus, we’ll look into preventing the jump guard as well, since it can be really common, particularly at lower belt level.
Countering The Basic BJJ Guard Pull
In terms of the basic BJJ Guard Pull, the first thing you need to be thinking about is grip fighting. If you actually manage to establish dominant grips, you’ll prevent a BJJ Guard Pull altogether. If you’re late though, or the opponent has some trick up their sleeve, your focus needs to shift on the leg that’s on your hip. So, if you manage to remove it, your opponent will actually pull you in a guard pass rather than their closed guard. Since you can’t really reach with the nearside arm, you can use your other arm (that’s gripping the collar) to reach across for the opponent’s pants. All it takes from there is to pop your hips back as they go to the ground and pin their leg. You can now pass with a variety of passes.
In certain situations, you’ll be caught with a quick or unexpected guard pull. The moment that happens, and you’re too late with grip fighting or dealing with the leg, you still have options. At this point though, you need timing more than ever. One thing to focus on is weight distribution. Since your opponent wants to pull you with a spin, you can use that against them. To counter, you simply get your legs off the ground, putting all your weight on their foot. That’ll make it hard to get the leg out from beneath you. IN turn, it’ll allow you to surf to the opposite side and straight into side control.
Jump Guard Counter
The reason why I left the Jump Guard counter last is that it is a move that works against any kind of BJJ Guard Pull. The only drawback is that hs is a Gi Specific move. Still, given that pulling guard in No-Gi equates to simply sitting down, you won’t be using it anyway. The only way to make sure you react on time to a jump guard is to make sure you have distance between your hips and your opponent’s. With a jumping guard, the opponent is most likely going to look for an angle. As soon as you see that, or even if you’re simply uncertain, just release the sleeve grip and grab their belt, right around the knot area. That’s it. The moment they jump guard it is you that has a frame inside now, and the upper hand to pass.
There’s no need to fear and demonize the BJJ Guard Pull. IN fact, learn how to do it yourself, as it will definitely come in handy sometimes. However, when it comes to preventing it, there are several easy options. All you need to do is recognize what stage you’re in so that you can use the appropriate response. That way, you’ll never be pulled into someone’s guard against your will ever again!