The guard is one of the most important aspects of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Being able to work off your back safely and efficiently is just as important as having a good takedown and top game when the person you are against knows a thing or two about MMA and wrestling in general. Solidifying your guard game will tremendously give you more options offensively and defensively.
One skill every guard player should improve is their guard recovery, which is the ability to regain your guard every time your opponent tries to pass. Being able to stop your opponents’ dead in their tracks and dragging them back to square one after every attempt will sap them of energy and give you more opportunities to go in for sweeps and submissions. Here are some some good drills to practice every day at home so you are ready for your next actual session. Since the topic today is guard recovery, who better to teach us some drills than BJJ worlds Medalist Prof. Almiro Barros from Evolve Fight Team!
Drill # 1 – Bridge & shrimp
The shrimp is the very first technique every practitioner should learn because of how effective it is to use right away if placed in a real life scenario. Being able to shrimp properly to get away from a passing opponent then catching them in your own guard mid-escape is a vital asset to any bottom game player and should be practiced accordingly, with or without a partner.
The first drill you can do at home is a slight variation of your regular Shrimp Drill. It is a drill you can do for reps or for time and can be used as a warm-up to get your hips and movements looser come roll time. You start out flat on your back with both feet planted on the ground. The movement start by bridging your hips straight up(Note: Bridge on the balls of your feet, not the heel), then pushing your hips away to one side as far as you can while you try to do the motion of pushing someone away with your arm. If done correctly, you should have your arms extended almost touching your toes while your hips are all the way back. You should resemble a shrimp at this point if someone else looks at you. For the Last part movement, you use the grip of your feet to pull yourself back in leading with your knee as if to resemble getting yourself back in closed guard.
Drill # 2 – Half Belly down
Tricking your opponent into thinking you are going to turtle when they are trying to pass your guard is a great asset to have in your guard recovery arsenal.It forces them to switch the angle at which they have to pass you just to be deceived and have your guard recovered right in front of their eyes.
This drill consists of the shrimp, belly down and guard recovery drill. All in one. You start on your back and you go for a shrimp to one side, but instead of pushing your hips back further, you pull the bottom leg out fully from under you to end up in a belly down position with pressure still on one shoulder. When you feel you have have maximized your movement and all the weight is on one side, You pull yourself back into guard position, not forgetting to plan your attacks before hand to chain your guard retention attempts into offensive ones as well. Being able to master this drill fluidly eliminates the chance of an opponent passing your guard even if they have you stacked hard and upside down. Just ask the Miyao Brothers!
Drill # 3 – Butt scoot
Butt-scooting is a great movement to get used to both offensively and defensively. It can help you get away from opponents who are good at pressure passing, especially when they focus on pinning your lower half. It can also be used for pulling opponents into you for sweet arm drags and back takes.
This is a simple drill which emphasizes the movement of the butt scoot. You start out on your back with your arms near your chest and feet planted on the ground. You lean to one side and plant that same side arm on the mat to create a frame. The opposite foot bases while you sit up and push your hips out and pulling in the same direction using the framed arm. Once the scoot is completed you use the same based foot to pull yourself back onto your back to get into an open guard position.
Drill # 4 – Belly Down to turtle
When someone is passing your guard and there is no more space for retention, your last option would always be to belly down and turtle. Getting into turtle position is a way safer option than having your opponent on mount or side mount. It gives you a better chance of regaining guard or scrambling into a better position. If you are good enough in this position like Eduardo Telles, you can turn bad scenarios into great ones.
The drill start on your back with both feet planted on the ground. You bridge up and push your hips away as if you were going to do a shrimp but one leg goes across and under your body to get both knees planted on the ground. Once your hips are facing the mats, you pull both knees and both elbows together to get into your turtle position. Make sure to keep your elbows in knees tightly together so your opponent can’t get any hooks or grips on you
Drill # 5 – Guard Replacement
Guard replacement is a skill every guard player should master. Guard replacement is replacing your feet in front of your opponent’s hips every time they get close to passing. It keeps you squared up no matter the efforts of your opponent while also giving you avenues to react and attack. Being light on your hips and really mobile on your feet will really help in having a good guard recovery game.
As you lie flat on your back with your feet planted on the mat, you turn and go for a short shrimp motion to one side and have the top or outside leg step across and pull the inside leg under it. Once you get to the other side, pull the opposite leg over and across and mimic the movement you did previously on the other side.