In praise of fundamentals…

With the much-anticipated bout between Makhachev and Volkanovski just six weeks away, we’d like to share this clip in which the former’s grappling skills are on full display. Voice-over commentary provided by the one and only Firas Zahabi of Tristar Gym.

One of HHGC’s big takeaways from this exchange is how mission-critical standing grappling skills are for fighting and self-defense. Oliveira has a dangerous guard–and rightfully so, Do-Bronx is a renowned submission expert from his back!–but you may notice how Makhachev neutralizes a beautiful deep half guard entry by simply standing up.

Makhachev can do this because he feels confident in winning the grappling exchanges from his feet. This could be considered a ‘reset’ so he can rework to a more dominant position!!!

I’ve practiced jiu jitsu for nearly a decade, and as I’ve transitioned to a style built more around catch/folkstyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, I feel the blinders have been removed a bit when it comes to guard play. Mainly, during my BJJ days I became accustomed to an opponent wanting to be on the ground with me when I’m working from my back.

But it’s remarkably difficult to keep the person on top of you while you’re prostrate on the ground–your opponent has leverage and gravity as an advantage–while you’re simultaneously moving to isolate limbs. Essentially, I used to take for granted that an opponent might actually just try to stand up and re-engage from the feet…

That’s why at HHGC grappling from the neutral (i.e., standing) position is the foundation of our curriculum. This might also be a good time to remind ourselves of Chris Haueter’s (BJJ blackbelt and OG) fundamental grappling principles:

  1. Be the person on top. Stay on top. Win on top.
  2. Have a guard “you shall not pass”.
  3. Never forget rule #1, easily forgotten due to the seductive and lazy nature of guard.

Can you win off your back? Absolutely. Triangles are fantastic, and we absolutely love the dark arts of leg locks here at HHGC!!! But before we introduce a lot of complicated guard work, we want our athletes to be proficient at the eight skills that will win the standing/neutral exchanges.

Join us for a class on Thursdays and Sundays!

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