I’m a guard player. For those of you who might not know what that is…it means I can kick your ass while I’m sitting on mine! That would be much cooler if it was actually true 100% of the time.
Recently when I was working with one of the white belts at Lincoln BJJ on the elbow escape from mount, he said it felt weird for him to try to get to guard from there, instead of reversing me, and my first thought was “It’s the most natural thing for me.” I’m one of the smaller people who always ended up on the bottom when I started training Jiu-Jitsu, and without technical ability in the beginning, it’s difficult to reverse someone who is bigger (which the majority of my training partners are), so in order to survive, the first thing I learned how to do was get to guard. I didn’t really choose guard, guard chose me. Now I consider it to be my default position…when in doubt, pull guard! I prefer open guard to closed (my current favorite is spider), and the form I use the least is butterfly.
I’ve heard people who don’t train BJJ say that guard is stupid, and it would not be useful in a street fight. Well, even as a self-proclaimed guard enthusiast, I can assure that I will not jump guard on the street. However, if I do end up on the ground, on the bottom, it’s nice to know that I have a fighting chance. Not only does guard teach me how to defend myself from my back, and to potentially disable my attacker from there, but I also know how to turn the tables and get on top if I need to. Before I started training Jiu-Jitsu, every MMA-style sparring match I had at the dojo ended with me helplessly trapped on the bottom, unable to get free, and now thanks to guard, I’m not so helpless anymore.