Defending the Can Opener – BJJ Fanatics

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The Can Opener is a jerk move.  In fact, it’s illegal at IBJJF tournaments.  But does that mean you’ll never see it? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is no.

We all know that there are people out there whose egos won’t allow them to lose gracefully.  Instead, they’ll turn to an illegal move to gain an unfair advantage.

But, as Luis Heredia demonstrates, the Can Opener is fairly easy to avoid or defend.  In this video, Heredia goes through a number of scenarios to defend the Can Opener.

If you want to learn from a Rickson Gracie Black Belt, original member of the famed Gracie Train,and multiple time Pan Am Champ Click Learn More!


First off, Heredia advises that you simply keep your head on the ground when you have an opponent in closed guard.  If your opponent cannot get his hands behind your head, the Can Opener is not an option.

In fact, Heredia points out, if your opponent tries to get the Can Opener, he is leaving himself extremely vulnerable to armbars.  If both of your opponent’s arms are vulnerable, there’s an opportunity to get a double armbar.

But if you miss the double armbar, that’s no problem because a single armbar is still an option.

But what if you accidentally lift your head?  No one’s perfect, after all. Maybe you were reaching for your opponent’s lapel and lifted your head, giving your opponent a chance to reach behind your head?

No problem.  Heredia demonstrates how you can use that jerk move against your opponent.

First, Heredia pushes against his opponent’s chin with both hands.  Then, he opens his guard, straightening one leg while placing the other on his opponent’s hip.

That foot on the hip?  You guessed it! Heredia is setting up another armbar.

Another option to defend the Can Opener is to go with it.  This time, Heredia posts both hands on the ground and sits up with his hips back and away from his opponent.

This sets up a sit-up sweep.  Or, Heredia adds, if this is a street fight, he would add an elbow to his opponent’s jaw as he sweeps him.

While the Can Opener is an illegal, jerk move, Heredia shows us that, if we don’t panic, it’s also a move that makes your opponent vulnerable to a number of attacks.

Watch Heredia’s entire Can Opener defense below:


Pure Jiu-Jitsu covers everything from the cross choke to passing spider guard. Luis Heredia can provide insight that many would refer to as invisible Jiu-Jitsu. Certain details aren’t as evident as a specific grips. Some details can be imperceptible. Heredia shines a light on those invisible details in Pure Jiu-Jitsu!


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