5 Unconventional Guards that People Love or Hate!

Jiu-Jitsu practitioners are always adding new techniques to their arsenal.  Sometimes they even create their own techniques.  The guard is arguably the most important part of BJJ.  Closed, and open guards for example are fundamental in Jiu-Jitsu.  The evolution of Jiu-Jitsu in recent years however has created guards not traditionally used before.  Competition may be the cause of several new guards to be show up.  Never the less, BJJ practitioners continue to develop new guard techniques.


The following are examples of guards that you may not be familiar with.  They also get criticized for a variety of reasons but I believe a good technique is one that works.  Everyone is different.  What may work for one person doesn’t work for another.  As a purple belt, I personally don’t focus too much on learning how to attack from these guards.  I do however like to get a general idea of the mechanics.  Feeling helpless is one of the most frightening and humbling experiences when training Jiu-Jitsu.  This helps me know what to watch out for and defend when necessary.

50/50 Guard

This guard is wildly criticized in competition for its tendencies to stall a fight.  Though many practitioners have been able to use this guard effectively to submit and sweep this guard has built up this reputation within BJJ competition.

Here, Professor Falavio Almeida demonstrates some attacks from the 50/50 position.


Tornado Guard

I first noticed the tornado guard a couple years ago after its movements reminded me of break dancing.  It requires a good amount of flexibility, which can prevent some practitioners from using the technique.  The mechanics are interesting but I personally don’t use it in fear of being smashed by bigger opponents.  If this guard interests you, take a look at the inverted guard too.

In this video Roberto ‘Cyborg” Abreu demonstrates some tornado guard techniques.


Worm Guard

BJJ competitor Keenan Cornelius developed the worm guard as an evolution off the lapel guard.  He’s been able to use it effectively in competition.  The move involves feeding a loosened lapel around an opponent’s leg.

Take a look at Keenan using the worm guard in this fascinating breakdown video.


Rubber Guard

The rubber guard is primarily a no-gi technique that was popularized by 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu founder Eddie Bravo.  It does require flexibility on the part of the user.  By breaking down an opponent and controlling them in “mission control”, the rubber guard user can effectively transition into several different submissions.

In this video, Eddie Bravo demonstrates some of the basic rubber guard techniques.


Donkey Guard

I believe Jeff Glover is one of, if not the most entertaining competitor in Jiu-Jitsu today.  He loves to trigger emotion in the crowed and is a true showman.  It’s a fundamental rule to never turn your back on your opponent but Glover challenges that idea with the use of the donkey guard.  If you haven’t done so already, check out his match with Baret Yoshida at Metamoris 4.  It sums up Glovers entertaining personality and unconventional style of Jiu-Jitsu.

Jeff Glover demonstrates the donkey guard.


As a student of BJJ, do you use any of these guards?

Patrick J. Flores

Gracie Barra Chino

Twitter:  patjflores