This may be the most obvious BJJ insight ever, but it’s the first one I came to myself, rather than it coming from someone else.

When your closed guard is being passed, you can go to open guard. If you can grip and get your feet on them, you can often get into spider or De La Riva. And, from there, if you like, it’s often possible to go back into closed guard by pulling them forward. This is much better than allowing them to complete the pass.

Since I realised this a couple of months ago I’ve had much more success holding onto guard. And, of course, I now see that everyone else is doing this all the time (or shifting from one open guard to another). But I’m slightly pleased to have worked it out independently. Who knows what I shall reinvent next!

It’s also an example of the general principle that it’s better to move before your opponent completes something than after.

Although I’ve had some success with this when it comes to maintaining guard, I have real problems with the next stage — setting up escapes. What I’d like to be able to do is be able to work to maintain my closed guard, when that fails move into open guard ahead of my opponent and — when, in turn, that fails — move to start my escape from side-control or mount (obviously, I’d also like to be able to avoid this downward spiral altogether as well). Instead, I’m always too late to avoid getting quite deep into their mount / side-control and I get stuck. Something to work on.

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