Matt Arroyo’s Four Lines Of Defense in BJJ
Maintaining your guard is one of the most important aspects any Brazilian Jiu Jitsu grappler can have in their arsenal. It is easy to lose it, and difficult to get it back once your opponent has passed it.
Knowing how to defend against any potential passes is vital for any grappler to know. Today, I’ll be taking a closer look as to how Matt Arroyo suggests you go about preparing your guard pass defense by breaking it down into four phases. Consider how you may apply these teaching to a pass such as this while you read.
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Lines Of Defense: Hands, Elbows, Knees, Feet.
It’s a normal feeling when we have our opponent standing over us that there is a sense of uneasiness. They are in a position that will allow them to spring on you at a moment’s notice, and with your back on the mat, there’s only so much you can do in order to defend yourself against their attempted guard pass.
Arroyo, however, has a rather fundamental, and easy to learn way of approaching this issue. Rather than feeling all hope is lost, use your four lines of defense!
Line 1: Your Feet. Ideally, you’ll want to have your feet on their hips, pushing them away. This is the best line of defense to use, as the legs will keep your opposition away.
Line 2: Your Knees. While it gives you the most room to work with, your feet can easily be bypassed. If your opponent tosses your legs to the side, automatically fall back to using your knees. Try your best to get them onto the hips of your opponent as your try to control them from there.
Line 3: Your Hands. If they pass your knee, using your hands will be the next line of defense. You can use your strength to maintain distance.
Line 4: Your Elbows. When all else fails, do your best to maintain distance by using your elbows.
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Utilizing The Lines of Defense To Recover Guard
If your lines of defense work and you are able to prevent your opponent from obtaining guard, you’ll now want to reverse this order and look to regain your guard. Simply reverse the steps and use your elbows to establish your hands, which will lead to your knees, and eventually your feet.
Whether you are using them as defense, or using them to regain guard, be prepared to skip a step in the process. Your opponent may be quick to the point where you won’t be able to use your knees, and must rely on your hands once your feet are thrown to the side.
This process can be very difficult if you don’t time it correctly, and calls for great coordination. My suggestion would be to drill this position as much as you can in practice, while understanding the process and why it can be beneficial to learn it.
Defending the guard can be one of the more nit-picky aspects of the sport, but not if you prepare for it properly.