What's With All These New Guards?
One of the most beautiful aspects of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is that it is always evolving. It seems like every month - every week even - someone has posted something new and fresh... some new entry into an arm bar, some new variation of a pass, and event a new guard!
So we thought we'd dedicated this blog to document some of the more modern guards out there in the BJJ world today. Check them out:
De La Riva ("DLR")
Although this guard had been previously employed in judo during the 1970s, the development of the De La Riva Guard in BJJ is attributed to Ricardo De La Riva during the 1980s. While not the most modern of the modern guards, it deserves note here because it is a foundation position for many of the modern guards that followed it.
Also known as the "Spiral Guard," the Reverse DLR Guard emerged in the early 2000's and is largely attributed to legendary rooster weight Caio Terra. Reverse DLR also serves as a foundation for a lot of other modern guards, and is the entry point to the Kiss of the Dragon back take.
An appropriately named leg entanglement, the 50/50 Guard is one in which your opponent is essentially in the same position as you are, with an equal opportunity for both fighters to execute techniques. This is a great guard for those who enjoy foot locks, heel hooks... or just stalling a match to win by advantages.
Largely attributed to BJJ legend Marcelo Garcia, the X-Guard is another foundational modern guard that has seen a ton of different variations - usually in the form of a hybrid X type guard. Predominantly used for sweeping or going to the back, some practitioners have found sneaky attacks from this position.
Single Leg X
A favorite guard of some of world's top modern BJJ practitioners, the Single Leg X is another guard that sees a lot of variations and hybrids. A strong guard for both gi and no-gi styles, when executed properly, the Single Leg X provides a ton of opportunities for sweeping, going to the back, attacking legs, etc.
Popularized by Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu, the Tornado Guard, or Inverted Guard as it is sometimes called, is not for the faint of heart... or the inflexible. But for those who can fold themselves like a piece of sandwich bread, the Tornado Guard provides some highlight-reel-worthy sweeps and attacks.
An invention of the notorious Eddie Bravo, the founder of the 10th planet system and a pioneer in the intentional evolution of jiu jitsu, the Rubber Guard is another guard that requires just a bit of flexibility. This guard is great for those who like to play from closed guard.
A guard that can only really be played in the gi, the Spider Guard is another modern guard that has become the foundation for a lot of other hybrid modern guard variations, like the Lo Guard, a hybrid of the DLR and the Spider, and Dom Bell's Tarantula Guard. The strength of this guard lies in its ability to manipulate the base of your opponent by controlling his/her upper body.
For those of you who aren't fans of the Spider Guard - like me, with my short legs - the Lasso Guard is great alternative that allows for just as much base manipulation without having to be as dextrous with your feet. Plus, the position opens up a lot of great triangle and omoplata attacks.
These days, the Lapel Guard has become almost an umbrella term for a lot of different guard variations that use your opponent's lapel against him/her. You can't mention lapel guards without talking about jiu jitsu phenom Keenan Cornelius, the inventor of many highly effective lapel guards, such as the Worm Guard and the Squid Guard.
Whether you're an active competitor, or just a weekend hobbiest, it's important that you recognize the constantly evolving nature of jiu jitsu and keep abreast of all the new positions and techniques that are floating around out there. If you don't... you do so at your own peril when you find yourself facing some hotshot modern jiu jitsu player.
Train on... and evolve. Oss.