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Old 12-14-2008, 03:55 PM   #1
Joe Hart
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Default Flexibilty for the guard

So I have been roaming the PM and internet looking for info about flexibilty pertaining to BJJ. I read the "Getting Stiff" article and it was very informative. What is the specific level of flexibilty needed to have a good guard? I saw Eddie Bravo's youtube about it and that seems to be the top end of required flexibilty. Wikipedia had something about being able to put your leg behind your arm and head on the same side.

So the next question...Would using the outline in "Getting Stiff" get me close or is there a more appropriate way (Eddie Bravo's book has suggestions in it)? Now the next question is: Will squatting inhibit getting to where I want to be? I like squatting and OLY lifting. If I read "Getting Stiff" right that would not seem to be the case.


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Old 12-14-2008, 05:07 PM   #2
Derek Simonds
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Good question. I am assuming you are specifically talking about closed guard. I have been doing much more squatting and dl'ing in the past couple of months and have noticed a slight decrease in my flexibility. Well more like I have noticed more pain from when someone is putting me in a difficult position like trying a half guard sweep or a leg over guard pass.

My closed guard I believe has benefited from the additional squats and deadlifts. Here is why. I don't play the rubber guard ala Eddie Bravo unless something bad has happened and I am using it to try and recover butterfly or closed guard. Like here.

I had butterfly and went for something and he got a hold of my left foot and I was using this position to work for something else. I have never trained rubber guard and really doubt that this is anything more than me holding on to what I had.

But in closed guard, especially if I get control and get a higher guard I can really latch down and it is very difficult to get my legs free for my opponent to pass.

So I guess it depends on what you are more comfortable with or what you are working on at the time. I know that it takes a lot of flexibility to really work Eddie Bravo's stuff.

The main thing I have worked on this year for closed guard is to always be attacking. Either a sweep or a submission. No matter what attack. It has seemed to work for me.

I really look forward to hearing what everybody else thinks. By the way I just laid down on the floor and can not put my leg behind my head. At least cold anyways.
What we think, or what we know, or what we believe, is in the end, of little consequence. The only thing of consequence is what we do. -John Ruskin

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Old 12-15-2008, 10:17 AM   #3
Grissim Connery
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when a lot of people first learn the triangle, they think that they are just not flexible enough to do it. the key in most positions is proper hip position. i view flexibility in BJJ as a tool that will make everything flow better and easier to understand, but everybody with shit flexibility still has the potential to pull off the moves. basically, the less flexibility you have, the more correct you have to do the move.

i do prasara yoga mainly. you can see some vids on youtube of people doing a prasara yoga demo and then doing the motions on people to show the transfer to grappling. the spider monkey flow will help develop flexibility in passing. the tumbleweed flow will help develop flexibility in inverted guard. the pigeon flow will help you transfer your weight between feet for taking shots and what not. etc.

i find that doing gymnastic motions never makes me stiff. front levers will also teach you how to keep your elbows in close and tight. i don't really feel that squatting makes you stiff, it's just how much of it you do. a thing to keep in mind is that you have the most potential energy when you are in a ball/fetal. therefore every single one of your squats should tea-bag the floor. if you're not digging as low as possible, then i feel like you're going to set yourself up to get stiffer in grappling.

deck squats are good since they require you to fold into a ball. if you want to use them instead of squatting, then roll and jump to something high up or do them one legged. as a warm-up i love rolling into plow position on one shoulder, then rolling forward through butteryfly into a semi-lunge. i could explain that more, but you probably know what i'm talking about.
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Old 12-16-2008, 04:47 AM   #4
Derek Simonds
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Nice post Grissim. I agree on the technical aspects of it. Hips are the main factor.
What we think, or what we know, or what we believe, is in the end, of little consequence. The only thing of consequence is what we do. -John Ruskin

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Old 01-07-2009, 12:13 PM   #5
michael blevins
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Ive spent the last year lifting heavier than I ever have, and Ive noticed quite a bit of stifness in my lower back from DL'ing. I would say Im extremely flexible(splits and pigeons are quite easy) that being said I think it becomes a disadvantage at some point to be too flexible. It helps out in injury prevention but alot of times I find myself in very awkward positions, especially in rubber guard. I would normally say try and be as flexible as possible, like any other aspect of fitness. But in this case I think it affects some of the positions and being able to pull off submissions
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Old 01-07-2009, 02:35 PM   #6
Grissim Connery
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i have just learned some stuff about vendetta guard recently. i'm a butterfly/x-guard bodytype and i find that the vendetta guard works with my body pretty well. i never quite liked rubber guard, so if you wanna use something similar, try vendetta out
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Old 01-07-2009, 03:44 PM   #7
Ben Langford
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I've had a bit of a search but I can't find anything on the vendetta guard. Could someone post a link or point me towards a book or dvd?
http://elementsfitnessact.com.au - Canberra's BJJ and Fitness blog.
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Old 01-09-2009, 02:03 AM   #8
Grissim Connery
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you've probably seen it before. i had seen it a bunch before but never really tried it, just blowing it off as another rubber guard thing.

i'll use right and left to make it easier to understand:
-a guy is in your closed guard
-you get his right arm to the mat
-instead of taking an overhook, you connect your left knee to your left elbow above his arm
-you wrap your left arm under your left knee, thus establishing a semi-overhook on his right arm. your left elbow pit will be in your left knee pit
-wrap your right arm around his head and lock a gable grip with the left hand
-relock your guard

essentially you lock a really tight guard that eliminates all strikes. it feel just like playing the overhook game, but you don't have to get onto your right hip to attack. you can actually attack while your back is flat on the mat. this feels weird since it i've gotten so used to being offensive while on one hip, but whatever. from here all the same submissions are available as a normal overhook game. in order to free your right leg to pass his arm:

-keep the gable grip but swing your right elbow around the back of his head. drag the outer blade of your right forearm across his jaw until you can dig your elbow underneath his chin a bit.
-use the frame of your arms to pry his head upwards. this will bring his left shoulder higher into the air, thus allowing you to slip your leg out and wrap his neck.

from here you can immediately execute a teepee and tap him. of course the triangle is there as well, but go ahead and be and asshole and do the teepee. it's fun! if he pushes his head to the floor to try to make the teepee more difficult, swing your leg all the way over his head and finish the omoplata.

essentially you get the rubber guard feel without torquing your knees. my flexibility is not bad, but on big dudes i don't like yanking my ankles too hard. wonky stuff has happened in the past, and big dudes aren't afraid to yank really hard when you're in an awkward position.
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