I recently attended an open mat where all the blue belts had really great open guards. It was extremely frustrating (in the best possible way) to try to pass their guard. The usual pressure passing that I do just didn’t seem to work. They were able to handle the pressure well with their legs, and if I was able to beat their legs, then as I swung around to try to get to side control their far leg somehow made it’s way between me and their torso and I was stuck in open guard again.
I talked to a few people after the open mat to see what their strategy was, and they all said they had played a similar guard, essentially using a knee shield and variations to control me. Being only a blue belt myself I hadn’t really seen the knee shield used to such great effect, but as I understood it the school they belonged to focused heavily on guard all through the white belt curriculum. That was an “ah-ha” moment for me. I had also been focusing on guard heavily for the past year, but to see how effective a good guard game could be so early in a jiujiteiro’s development really solidified my thought that a well developed guard can lead to a more confident offensive game.
Of course after the open mat I needed to research knee shield techniques on YouTube. My thought is that if you can understand a defense or an attack, then you can formulate a plan to counteract it. So I went in search of the various ways to use a knee shield to defend against a pressure passer.
I found a variety of videos, but the three listed below seemed especially relevant to what I was trying to learn.
You can be sure I’ll be trying to work these into my game for the next couple of weeks. With any luck I’ll be able to reverse engineer these techniques and learn to get myself out of the bad situations that someone with a good knee shield can put me in.