Ever felt the need to practice some unusual setups and techniques? We’re certain you did, but we’re also sure that you tried out some really low percentage moves; ones that look fancy, but that can hardly ever be done in a live roll. So, what you need is a position that your opponents won’t expect – but from which you can branch out different attacks as well.
For that reason, feel free to enter the Octopus Guard!
This guard is a rather versatile one, and you can go for predominantly from Closed and Half Guard. In this case, we’ll take a brief look at how you can set it up from Closed Guard – both in No Gi and Gi – and take someone’s back from it.
THE OCTOPUS GUARD: CLOSED GUARD SETUP (NO GI) AND BACKTAKE
One of the best ways to practice the timing and positioning for the Octopus Guard is to go for a Kimura from Closed Guard. Now, once your training partner defends by straightening his arm out, you can simply swim underneath this arm and reach for his armpit on the opposite side.
From here, just switch your arms so as to grab the partner’s armpit with the second arm and post with your first one. Now, get your bottom leg out, climb up on top of your training partner, get your hooks in and take his back.
An equally great way to set up the Octopus Guard is by gripping the training partner’s arm and then pushing his wrist into him (opposite to what you’d do when setting up an Arm Drag). Then, do exactly the same things as before; swim underneath this arm, grab the partner’s armpit, switch your arms and take the back.
For more options and details on setting up the Octopus Guard in No Gi from Closed Guard – as well as for basic pointers on getting it from Half Guard – watch the the video below:
SETUP FROM CLOSED GUARD (GI): BACKTAKE AND A BONUS… KIMURA!
The Gi setup is really similar to the one in No Gi; except here you have a benefit of additional sleeve and belt control!
Establish a sleeve grip, pull and elevate the training partner’s arm; do this in such a way that you can swim underneath it. From here, open your guard while keeping the sleeve grip with your far arm. Also, pay attention that you have to to lay on top of his elbow.
Then, grab underneath his armpit with the closer arm and place pressure on top of his back and head.
Once here, let go of the sleeve. When you do this, your partner’ll go to regain his posture. So, use his momentum to sit up and post your arm to the mat. Now, shift your hips to the side a bit so that you can switch your arms; the arm which was grabbing the armpit now goes to post on the mats, while your „mat arm“ will grab the partner’s far-sided hip.
All that is left to do now is to climb on top of your partner and set your hooks in – voilà, the back is yours!
Alternatively, instead of pulling the arm above yourself in the beginning, you can pull it across your centerline if it suits you better. However, your training partner can defend here by taking his arm to the inside and across your hip… But no worries!
Just grab his elbow and pull it down with yourself; and you’re in a fantastic position to establish your Kimura grip and tap them out!
Watch these two setups on the video below: