Friday, September 12, 2008

A helpful handful: 5 ways to get past the guard

There are a bazillion ways to get out from between uke’s legs in a grappling situation. Following are five of my favorites. 
  • Get base and break the closed guard apart – First things first. If you do not get a wide base and an upright posture then you will be unable to do anything from between uke’s legs. Even though the judo rules prevent uke from squeezing with his legs, allowing uke to close legs around you and lock feet together makes it easy for even relatively weak people to crush your ribs and insides to pulp -  so breaking uke’s feet apart should be a priority. Put hands on uke’s belt and lever elbows into uke’s femoral arteries or put a knee in uke’s buttcrack and push back from him with your hands.
  • Pass over a leg – You will want to control uke’s hips with one hand on the belly and push a leg to the ground with your other hand. You will get better mileage if you crawl over the leg starting with your farthest leg first. This prevents uke from entangling your trailing leg.
  • Pass under a leg – if you push uke’s leg down and it pops back up, scoop it to your shoulder (watch out for the triangle) and crush uke’s knee into his chest with your weight and leg power. As he resists twist around the leg, letting it drop out of the way as you fall into the side position.
  • Throw legs aside and shoot – if you manage to back out and get a grip on uke’s knees or ankles, give them a jerk toward you to straighten his legs out. As he resists, allow him to curl his legs back to him a little and throw both feet to one side, shooting in to the other side. This pass will often make uke roll onto his side away from you, giving you his back.
  • Stack him up and dump his feet over the other side – if you can get base and get to standing, use your weight and leg power to crush his hips into his chest. from here, keep stacking uke up onto his shoulders and the back of his head and then push his hips over, forcing him to backroll to relieve the pressure. As he backrolls, jump on him.


  1. My immediate thought on seeing the picture: Why not beat the smell out of the targets right in front of you? Or elbow that nasty, hypersensitive spot on the inside of the knee?

    I guess that would violate the spirit of the endeavor, though... :)

  2. uh! you barbarian! that's against the rules!

  3. at least, punching and twisting the nutsies is against the rules and it's hard from that position to punch solar plexus or face without getting your insides pulped by mr. leg squeezing man. elbowing the inside of the knee is part of what I was describing in the post.

  4. Just a thought on passing over a leg... I have found that leading with the near leg can make things a bit easier. Just leave your shin (and your weight) on the bad guy's thigh while you bring your far leg out. It looks a little awkward (the legs will cross in a weird way), but it works.


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