Pulling Guard: Do’s and Don’ts


Preparing for an upcoming jiu-jitsu competition, one of the white belt students was discussing his strategy for his upcoming matches.


He felt most comfortable playing from his closed guard, so his plan was to pull guard soon in the match to the get the fight to his closed guard.


As this was going to be his first tournament, I asked him if was aware that there was a legal and an illegal way to pull guard for white belts under the IBJJF rules?

He didn’t understand the question. Sometimes students are not 100% clear on what techniques are allowed within the rules of their competition and risk penalties, disqualification or worst of all, injury to their opponents or themselves.


A YouTube search for “guard jumping gone wrong” will show multiple results of injuries sustained in bjj tournament matches.


* Warning: Graphic video of leg injury!


The injury happens when one of the competitors steps with one leg forward and the weight of the guard jumper comes down on that extended leg. Ouch!


As a result of a number of similar such injuries,  the IBJJF has ruled jumping to closed guard on a standing opponent is prohibited for white belts.


Source: https://ibjjf.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/RulesIBJJF_v4_en-US.pdf


The better and safer way to pull guard is to place your foot on the opponents hip and sit down, pulling your opponents collar and sleeve. With pulling your collar grip and extending your leg in the hip, you can stretch out your opponent, breaking their posture and balance in your guard.


Here is a video example by Professor Otavio Sousa that ends in an arm bar submission.


If your strategy is to pull guard to get the match to the ground quickly, practice this safer variation of the guard pull. Avoid the closed guard “jump” which carries the potential to injure your opponents.


See also on Gracie Barra : Gracie Barra Training Etiquette

Gracie Barra Training Etiquette


Credits: Mark Mullen 

Gracie Barra Black belt based in Asia

Instagram: @markmullen.bjj