How to Replace a Guard on a Jiu-Jitsu

by Don Davis
The man on the bottom in this fight has the man on top

The man on the bottom in this fight has the man on top "in his guard."

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Jiu-Jitsu is a style of Japanese wrestling that was refined in Brazil by members of the Gracie family. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a component of modern mixed martial arts or MMA. In both jiu-jitsu and MMA an opponent on his back with his opponent on top of him can fend off his opponent using a position called the "guard." The idea of the guard is to control your opponent's torso with your legs so his fists cannot reach your face while you try to lock his limbs in a submission hold. The goal of the man on top is to "pass the guard" so the bottom man is left defenseless.

Step 1

Shove both fists into your opponent's abdomen from a kneeling position and lean forward to prevent your opponent from sitting up. In a closed guard, your opponent's feet will be crossed behind your back. In a deliberately open or "butterfly guard," your opponent's knees will squeeze your lower ribs.

Step 2

Push your right elbow into the inside of your opponents left thigh. Push your right knee to the base of your opponent's spine and mule kick your left foot back and to your left to open your opponent's guard.

Step 3

Kneel on your left knee with your right knee up. Put your right foot under your opponent's buttocks then sit down with your right knee up.

Step 4

Place all your weight on your fists and drop to kneel on your right knee outside your opponent's left hip. Crawl right to pass your opponent's guard and assume side control.

Step 5

Throw your left leg over your opponent's body from the side control position to assume the "mount" position and full control.


  • "Gracie Submission Essentials"; Helio Gracie et al.; Invisible Cities Press; January 2007
  • "Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Submission Grappling Techniques"; Royler Gracie et al.; Invisible Cities Press; November 2003
  • "The Guard"; Joe Moreira and Ed Beneville; Cardinal Publisher's Group; April 2009
  • You Tube; BJJ How To: Pass The Guard; Jamie Alexandrino

About the Author

Don Davis has been a professional writer since 1977. He has had numerous writing jobs, including writing news and features for the "Metrowest Daily News" and "Los Angeles Herald-Examiner." Davis has a Bachelor of Arts in English and history from Indiana State University.

Photo Credits

  • Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images