In my now eight years of training, I’ve dabbled in Judo and even less so in wrestling. Like a large portion of the Jiu-Jitsu community, I’ve found myself more comfortable pulling guard than playing stand up for too long. While some have an issue with it, I personally don’t find anything wrong with pulling guard. More so, if you’re immediately attacking a sweep or submission once you’ve pulled guard. It becomes more of an attacking guard pull, than a massive one.
As I approach Black Belt, I’ve taken a deep dive and conducted a mental inventory of my game. In doing so, one of the top issues that I see within my own game has been the stand-up portion. It’s iffy at best, and nothing I’m all that proud of. I’ve had extensive conversations about it with a friend of mine, who’s also a Brown Belt, and we’ve both come to the same conclusion. Neither of us want to be Black Belts with questionable stand-up.
This realization has caused each of us to research that we could apply to our game. He’s gone down the wrestling rabbit whole, while I’ve made my way through some Judo techniques that would be applied well to the practitioner that tends to pull guard.
Yoko Tomeo Nage
This throw has become my personal favorite due to the fact that it plays right into the guard pull set up. I like to gather techniques that are initiated the same way but provide different results. This way my intentions are masked by the familiar facade. The grips for the throw are identical to that of the typical guard pull; collar, sleeve, and foot in the hip are all the same. The key variation being the follow through. What I also love about this throw, is the fact that if you fail, and your opponent doesn’t go over, you can go right into your guard of choice.
Deashi Harai (Foot Sweep)
I’ve had a couple of teammates who live for this takedown. There’s almost an innocuous nature to it, that you don’t usually see coming until it’s too late. This technique can be initiated from the same collar sleeve grips and once it’s successfully executed, often leads you right into side control.
The Ouchi Gari is a pretty popular technique within Judo. While the footwork is a bit more intricate than the others on the list, it’s effective and not overly complicated. The set-up, when done properly can also lead into other forward throws off the same grips.
There are two things that I love about this sacrifice throw. First, you can use it offensively. You can initiate the tie up with the same grips, then transition to the throw at the time of your choosing. Second, you can actually use this throw defensively as well. For example, in the event that you can counter a single leg. Instead of accepting it for fighting for balance for too long, you can fight to get the back grip then drop in for the sacrifice throw.
The benefit of this throw is in its simplicity. The practitioner doesn’t need to worry so much about complicated foot placement, pivoting, or loading up the opponent’s weight. You can initiate this from collar to collard, with the opponent’s grip over yours, or from collar sleeve then transitioning to the same side sleeve. The technique lends itself for you to come up to knee on belly, if you take advantage of the element of surprise.
At the end of the day, techniques are subjective. What may work for one body type may be difficult for another, but my hope is that this will get more of us thinking about what’s possible and understand that there are takedowns that can give you more options as a guard puller.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.