Guard progression?

how should i progress in my guard game? is there a set sequence i should follow like closed, spider, half, butterfly? i was wondering if i should try to focus only on several guards like currently i like playing half-guard butterfly closed guard game or should i try to gather lots of techniques and practice other guards like de la riva and spider as well? im only a whitebelt but have been training for more than a year btw

In that case, you're probably ready to work on, say 2 moves from the butterfly guard and 3 moves from the half guard. You don't want to learn 100 moves from one guard variation before you experiement with the next one. 2-4 moves from each variation is maybe more like it.

For some reason I feel that I need a bit fewer moves from the butterfly guard to make it work than the half guard.

For what it's worth, I'm considering teaching a few butterfly and half guard moves to some of my intermediate students and I'm thinking about the following 4 moves:

From half guard: Taking the back and "Old school" (with a figure-four leg grip, not the "lockdown") aka. "getting to your knees" aka. "single leg-variation-kind-of".

From butterfly guard: Standard 45 degree butterfly sweep and "ramming into his chest with my forehead while cupping his knees and sitting up".

Just my opinion.

So I would recommend learning maybe 4-6 moves from the closed guard, then maybe 2 moves from the half guard, then maybe 2 moves from the butterfly guard, then maybe 2 more from half guard and one more from butterfly guard. Just thinking off the top of my head.

I think that the closed guard should be a starting point for beginners to learn about the guard. Then I think that half guard is probably more valuable to learn before the butterfly guard, because you'll find that you survive a whole lot longer against guys that are just a little bit better than you if you know the basics of the half guard.

I don't do that much spider guard because I train without the gi. If you train with the gi, I would at some point add 2 moves from there.

Then you'll realize that the butterfly guard is maybe the best position for sweeps and you pick 2-3 moves from there. Then you realize that just by standing up, you kind of have to know a sweep or two from the X-guard. Finally, after all this sweeping mania, you realize that you can't pass the guard as well as you thought you did and you need to work on that ;) I guess that this is where I am at now.

Again, just my opinion. I'm sure other people have other opinions. I just don't think you need to know much more than 4-6 moves from the closed guard before you can learn 1-2 moves from the half guard, f.ex.



JP - advice... from HG definately add at least going to full guard as an option...

Jorx: Yeah, I know about that one. It would probably be the third move to teach from there or something. I consider it a "fall back" move, since I would rather sweep than go back to the guard, but people should at least know that a lot of your opponent's counters to your half guard moves open up the possibility to go to full guard. And sometimes a sweep from the half guard fails so you can pull full guard or butterfly guard and see if you have more luck from there for a while.

To tell you the truth man, nobody can give you anything more than general limited advice. We are all individuals who move, progress, learn, strategize and train differently. If I was to try and give you specific advice on this subject over the Internet like naming a random guard and telling you do this or do that move without ever even training with you, then it would be bad advice for sure.

What you can do is analyze how you spar with your training partners. What guard do you find yourself using the most. Focus on becoming proficient there first. That means learning the position, not just a couple of moves. What options does your opponent have and what are your counters? Then spar with all your team members and find guys against whom this guard doesn’t work. Identify the position that you commonly get into and study that guard in more depth just like the other one. Always get help from your trainer.

I know that because I’m not giving you specific advice like naming guards and sweeps it sounds like I'm not answering your question but I think that this will work for you. If you were just asking about the mechanics a move then it would be a different story and we wouldn’t have to speak in general terms.

thanx for the advice! i gave further thought on the issue and i feel i need to focus on basic moves.what are your opinions on this? do u think i should focus on refining the moves that i incorporate in my game? or just drop all this game crap first and try to master all the basic guard moves like collar chokes and scissor sweeps that i dont currently have in my game?

I would only work on closed guard until you get it super tight for another year.

I think like it was said above, developing the closed guard is the basics. While you do this, the only real half guard techniques you need are how to reguard back to full guard. Using an offensive half guard assumes you intiated half guard to begin with anyway. Otherwise you're playing half guard on their terms and less than optimal grips. So when forced to be there in early developement, you need to first learn to be able to return to full guard. Having control from the half-guard will be very difficult if you haven't even mastered having controll from full guard.

without a strong foundation you can build the largest most fancy house in the world, but once it encounters a little resistance it will all come crashing down. I would work on:

1. 1 in 1 under gi choke
2. 1 in 1 over gi choke
3. putting these 2 chokes in combination
4. 1 in 1 under to 1 in 1 over to armbar once they block your left bicep
5. setting up the triangle choke
6. finishing the triangle
7. sizzor sweep
8. sizzor sweep when kick their knee with your foot
9. sizzor sweep where hook under their left leg
10. same as above
11. flower sweep
12. taking back from closed guard
13. going directly to straight armbar
14. guiltine
15. back sweep
16. backsweep to guiltine
17. backsweep to kimura
18. sweeping them backwards with knees when they stand up

These are just 18 basic moves that I can think of from the top of my head. Are you consistantly getting these moves technically on everyone around your skill level? If the answer is no you definitely don't need to be worrying about kinds of guards other than closed guard.


I pretty much agree with what you guys are saying.

I'm only saying that there comes a time when you are decent at submitting people your own size from your guard but there are always some much bigger guys that it's harder to submit from the bottom and suddenly you get tired at being on the bottom all the time.

WHEN you're fairly comfortable with your closed guard, learing a few sweeps from the butterfly and spider guard can both help you to survive much more when your closed guard gets passed or almost passed AND you'll start to sweep more often and get on top more often.