Pulling guard is such a common place in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that you see it in almost every competition video known to man. I’ve seen with the high level grapplers like Rousimar Palhares all the way down to children in their first ever competition.
However, I’ve seen it time-and-time again where someone pulls guard and just doesn’t know what to do from there. Willingly pulling guard means that you have to be aggressive enough to work from this position, and not just sit there like a fish out of water.
When to pull guard:
- Your opponent is a high level wrestler, or a Judo black belt.
- Your opponent is much bigger than you.
- You’re injured and can’t fight on your feet.
- Strategy: your guard is much better than your top game.
How to Pull Guard in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with Rafael “Formiga” Barbosa:
Someone that does a fantastic job of utilizing his guard pull is Rafael Mendes.
Pulling Guard For Guards Sake
If you find yourself pulling guard just to do so, you’re pulling guard for all of the wrong reasons. Pulling guard and not being able to execute it properly can impede upon your progress in the match:
- First off, if you don’t know what to do right when you pull guard, you’re opening the door for big trouble. This will allow your opponent to leap right on top of you, and being to work their magic.
- Using it as a “wait and see” type of move could work against you. They might be waiting for you to do so, which could end up being their entire game plan! The second you pull guard and fall backwards, their eyes will light up and they will execute their game.
- Maybe you saw your opponent try to pull guard and you want to use his own medicine against him. Stay away from the “fight fire with fire” methodology! If they’re pulling guard, it’s for a reason; the main one being they’re probably good at it! No need to venture into their guard if that’s their go-to position.
The Mendes Mentality
When Rafael Mendes executes his guard pull, he works right away. The second his butt touches the mat, he is on the move making sure his opponent knows he is in for a long—or quick, depending on your view point—match.
Staying active, Mendes has various approaches from his guard. I’ve seen him go right for an iron clad Gi grip that just won’t budge. I’ve also noticed he will use his legs to make sure you don’t get too close, but making sure he is able to strike when need be.
The efficiency is rather great; the second he drops and pulls guard, he will likely end the match just like that! His guard pull his so lethal, he can turn it into a back mount or side control before you can even process what he did.
The Rafael Mendes guard pull is world class and should be studied by every BJJ player. If you’re having a tough time with this specific technique, by all means check his matches out!
Dan Faggella is a No Gi Pan Am Champion at 130 pounds, and recognized Expert in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Dan writes or Jiu Jitsu Magazine, Jiu Jitsu Style, MMA Sports Mag, and more – and his Videos and Strategies for Beating Bigger and Stronger Grapplers can be found online at: http://www.microbjj.com