Get Connected with the Shin to Shin Guard – BJJ Fanatics

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Gi or no gi, the shin to shin guard is an incredibly useful position with a multitude of interesting utilities. Once the position is established, we can use it to reverse, transition, and funnel our opponent’s in to a whole host unfavorable scenarios. Let’s look at some ways to establish and utilize the shin to shin guard in no gi and gi applications. 

Getting your guard established in a no gi setting is incredibly important skill to master. When you’re disconnected from your partner, there’s an urgency to establish some control, as things can begin to move very quickly in a no gi scenario. There are many methods of getting connected depending on your preference, but the shin to shin has to be one of the most applicable. 

I remember learning how establish this position and how it helped me to become more comfortable when playing a no gi guard. I had training partner’s that would essentially just run around my guard, eventually settling in and passing, without much trouble. I didn’t have solid answers for dealing with speed and aggression until a discovered the shin to shin.

Once we get shin to shin and hug the leg, the game slows down considerably. Its not impossible to pass a shin to shin guard, but it certainly gives us the opportunity to get established and plan out next move. 

In this video Alec Baulding instructs us on how to establish a strong shin to shin position. He takes us through the basics of the position and a transition tot the x guard. If you’re looking to sure-up you’re no gi guard game this is the perfect opportunity. Take a look!

Starting from a seated position Baulding begins by showing us how to enter the shin to shin. Baulding uses hooking configurations of his left hand and foot to attach himself to his partner’s leg and then scoots forward, hugging his partner’s leg tight to his chest, and applying outward pressure with his hooking foot. 

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Baulding then addresses a common error. As you hook with your foot, be sure to hug the leg with the same side arm. Using the opposite limb to hug the leg could lea to a very simple back take for your opponent. Be sure to keep this in mind as you feel out the position!

At this juncture, there’s a threat of a kimura trap also, so Baulding is sure to keep his other elbow tight to his bidy until he’s ready to transition. As Baulding sits back to transition, he advises us to keep our free knee tight to our chest. If we don’t keep our knee close, we could be at risk of losing the position and potentially giving up the mount to our opponent. Baulding also assists the transition with a push to his partners armpit, guiding him in a direction that’s favorable to Baulding’s plans. Considering all of the above details, Baulding makes a smooth transition to single leg x guard. He could also choose to set up a more traditional x guard configuration here. 

Something that caught my eye here; I have always had the tendency to fall to my right when trying to perform this particular entry, which Baulding advises against, dude to the danger of having the position dismantled. He suggests we fall straight back when tying to enter. This is an interesting detail that I’m going to have to experiment with. 

Great entry level ideas here for those looking to develop their no gi guard!

In the gi, the presence of grips adds another layer to the shin to shin position. We can still enter in similar fashion, but the options become a bit more bountiful. Let’s take a look at this video from Lachlan Giles. Here, we get a little shin to shin technique with the gi involved. Have a look!

Giles begins with a similar entry to Baulding’s. Only he uses the collar of his partner to keep his posture broken. Giles splits the difference, and falls slightly to the side and backwards to achieve his entry. With the single leg x established, he simply grabs his partners ankles and lifts his hips for the reversal. 

Giles offers us some words on countering the position. He sinks low and drives his knee down on top of the shin to shin hook, pinning it and making it less effective. He also looks to stay heavy to the opposite side of where his opponent wishes to take him.

This first technique is pretty crafty. Giles begins by grabbing some material on the outside of his partners free leg and keeps his elbow nice and tight. He starts to threaten the single leg x transition by sitting back. With the threat of elevation imminent, his partner responds by trying to shift his weight back int the other direction. As this occurs, Giles rides the momentum up, performing a grapplers lift. As his bottom leg tucks under him, he’s able to drive forward, bundling the legs and securing a double leg take down. 

Building off of the first technique, Giles performs the same actions, but this time his partner does not sag back to fight the elevation. He chooses to just float above Giles. Here, Giles acquires a grip in the armpit, using it to push himself to a 90-degree angle, as well of a handful of material near the ankle. This keeps his partner from making contact with the mat and disrupting the sequence of events. He then uses these grips to elevate his partner and again transitions to single leg x guard. 

It seems the single leg x transition is a favorite here. The shin to shin offers several routes to the position that we can take advantage of. I’ve always been a fan of the shin to shin, and I noticed a few details here that are going to help me tighten up my game. I hope you did too! Good luck!

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