Member Since: 12/1/10
OK, I'm coming to some conclusions with regards to my guard and I need some help from you guys. I have used half guard pretty much exclusively over the past 2 and a half years. During this time I've added in some sweeps from other guards in specific situations, but 90% of my game is half guard.
Now, I've been watching instructionals from Ryan Hall and - my current fave - the Mendes Bros. They talk a lot about the 'range' of guards, and although I have always liked the concept - like many things in BJJ - the reality of it just went over my head. However, as my experience increases, I'm getting some more understanding of this stuff (I think), and I'm starting to see that half guard may not be the best guard from which to grow my BJJ career...
Half guard is a close range guard. Even with a knee shield, the top player is heavily connected to the bottom player with lots of points of contact through which to apply weight/pressure. The top player has no need to lean to get hold of crucial lapel/trouser/sleeve grips, and spinal contortion through crossface/underhook is a primary method to pass. Plus, the efficacy of half guard is reliant upon the bottom player remaining on their side. Caio Terra starts many of his passes by standing up and squaring the hips, cue the awful crushing knee slides with - again - lots of top control pressure. The videos doing the rounds from Leandro Lo are great examples of this. I am out with a lower back injury (I suspect through compression and sprawl passing) and have a constant niggle in the trapezius from spinal contortion passes utilising the crossface.
So after watching this...
I have begun to want to change my style completely. Demente is constantly on the end of Rafa's feet, which completely nullifies any top body control passing. So there are no cross-faces/underhook passing techniques available, because his hips are kept at a manageable distance. Pressure is exerted through the feet, but the DLR/RDLR hooks frustrate stable movement, and these are made far more effective by the ankle grip and belt grip. The top player is connected through connections made by the bottom player, whereas in half guard the top player will always be able to exert weight through the bottom leg, limiting movement. Basically this is a long range guard in effect, and it's far more comfortable for the bottom player.
Here's another favourite of mine - the heavy wrestler with ridiculous base (hate these in half guard) - being schooled by Keenan with the same grips and controls...
Are long range guards the future..? Do close range guards allow far more opportunities for passing because of the lack of control of distance..? Where does butterfly sit..?
Basically I'm at a cross roads and I need some advice from you guys!