Is the current guard in MMA obsolete?Posted on March 25, 2011, 03:22 PM by doomsdayapex
As I was watching Jon Jones tear into Mauricio Rua on Saturday, I couldn't help but notice the vicious ground and pound Jones implemented, and the guard Rua used to defend the strikes off his back. I was baffled yet again by the strategy that even a legend used. Rua was only able to defuse 5% of Jones' strikes.
Although I have always noticed Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners take unnecessary damage from below in order for a submission opportunity, I had a visualizing moment that night about the traditional guard used by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in MMA today. It's obsolete, especially against top level wrestlers. So then, I think back to what is Eddie Bravo's philosophy. As much criticism as he receives from the traditionalists, he is right about the guard in MMA.
As the sport continues to evolve, so will the opposition. And with bigger and stronger competitors arising, the odds of a grappler pulling off a submission, or even a sweep for that matter, from the guard is nonexistent. These days being underneath a powerful opponent is now viewed as a death sentence. More and more wrestlers seem to be joining the sport, and more and more grapplers seem to be disappearing. Is it a coincidence?
"You got all these awesome grapplers that are competing in Mixed Martial Arts and they manage to get their asses handed to them simply because they can't defend a single strike in the guard position. It's practically suicide. If you watch enough film, you'll see that most of these guys get TKO'ed while they are on their backs. I mean, in my opinion, that's so stupid. What's the point? Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has to evolve." - Eddie Bravo
Most hardcore MMA and grappling fans know the name Eddie Bravo and the branch of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu he established (10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu), the guards he modified (like the Rubber Guard) and the win he picked up at the 2003 Abu Dhabi Submission Wrestling Championships over Royler Gracie (the pound-for-pound best grappler the ADCC had ever seen at the time). The win was viewed as a shocking upset considering Eddie was a brown belt level 'no-name' without a single grappling credential attached to his name, except receiving his black belt under the great Jean-Jacques Machado.
For those new to the game, 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu is an unorthodox form of No-Gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that was designed specifically for the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. Some notable practitioners have been Shinya Aoki, Dan Hardy, George Sotiropoulos, Jason Chambers, Joe Rogan, Denny Prokopos and BJ Penn.
So the question I have for all of you is, do you believe the guard that most grapplers bring into MMA is in need of some adjustments? And are grapplers on the verge of going extinct because of it?