Sparring Tips

Guard-Play or Passing Guard?

It’s good to decide, before the sparring match, if you would like to Play Guard or Pass Guard. If both fighters want to pass and the match begins on the feet (opposed to the knees) then someone will have to takedown or throw their opponent to the mat, which forces the opponent to play guard. If both fighters want to play guard, the one who pulls guard first is playing guard.

Generally, the fighter passing guard will make grips on the opponent’s lower body (knees, hips, ankles) to control the legs and hips of the guard player. The fighter playing guard will make grips on the opponent’s upper body (Not always, but this is a good way to start off with until you develop a more advanced guard) to control the distance of the passer, as well as their posture, and their ability to move around you in either direction.

It’s good for the guard passer to keep a leading knee between themselves and the guard player to prevent the guard player from closing the guard around their waist. This adds another (dangerous) step between being in their guard and passing guard. The guard player will try to keep their feet, knees, or (butterfly) hooks between themselves and the passer’s body and legs to prevent them from pressuring their guard with their weight.

The basic objective of the guard passer is get passed their guard into side-control, knee on belly, or mount. The basic objective of the guard passer it to sweep (their opponent to the ground: reversing the positions), Submit, or take the back (To back-control with the hooks).

It’s good to practice both, but it’s better to know what you want to practice before your opponent decides for you.

Etiquette:

It’s good form to bow and shake hands, before and after a match. It’s also good form not to celebrate when you win and not sulk when you lose.

Being too aggressive with strength and size (rather than technique) might also be perceived as disrespectful and unnecessary. The term “Sparring” implies training to fight by simulating the movements and technique of Jiu-Jitsu. There is force, endurance, strength and agility involved, but the idea behind sparring is that you can do it with anyone, both of you walk away without any injuries or sore feelings toward one another.

Learn by Example:

Watch the upper-belts and pay attention to how they spar when you roll with them. Most upper belts have training long enough to know what makes for a long term sparring partnership as well as avoid injuries on both sides.

Coach Aaron

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