I remember when I received my blue belt how I had the atypical newbie-type guard. I would use the closed guard almost exclusively and pray that no one pried open my legs before I could submit them. Open guard was something I saw higher belts use that left me in awe of their ability.

This was one of my biggest trouble areas I had to overcome in jiu jitsu because to me, at the time, it was so complex a problem.  One day I decided to do a private lesson with my then instructor Craig Kukkuk.  When I arrived that day to meet Craig, about 2 hours before class started, he asked me what I wanted to work on. When I explained my predicament to him he laughed, and said  “Thats an easy one, you need to use the  “No-hands” drill”.

This is one of the best guard drills in jiu jitsu I’ve ever learned.  It’s the one I still drill to this day and probably will to the day I die. The idea is to only use your legs and hip movement to prevent a person from passing your guard. Your hands are best left to just holding onto to your belt to help you resist the urge to use them. If its no-gi, then just grab the waist band on your shorts.   The point is to develop your open guard so don’t just try to hold onto the person in your closed guard. Make sure you open up your guard and try to use your legs and hip movement to keep your opponent from passing.

Warning: In the beginning this is the most frustrating drill ever devised.  You’re going to be passed, and passed easily, but over time, if you stick with it, it will become harder and harder for your opponent to pass. A time will come when its not you who’s frustrated anymore but the person who is trying to pass your guard.

After I had learned this drill I did it every time I trained in class. In a month’s time there was a noticeable difference  in my open guard. I no longer feared using the position. I have seen black belts that were so good at this drill they would tap people out with a triangle or sweep someone then mount them.

So if you’re trying to develop your open guard , I strongly recommend using this drill as much as you can.

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