Gene Simco provides the basic model for ground fighting. He has tried to develop a simple system of ground fighting to teach people who are not ground fighters. Much of what he does is sport oriented but he has at least three tapes that are street oriented. This material has provided an organizing structure for the material presented here. It has been given an Aiki Kuta twist.
He defines the guard as controlling your partner with your feet:
- For grabs of any kind from the front when standing he either kicks or pushes the person away with his feet to escape. I have turned these into throws. This defense is an example of the guard.
- The Kuta standup where you defend with your feet when on the ground and then come right up the attackers front with a Kuta punch is an example of the guard.
- Lying on your back kicking at someone attacking is the guard.
- Sweeping someone with your feet is an example of the guard.
In Judo a foot sweep would not be considered the guard because Judoka do not have that general concept. They would call this ashi waza, leg techniques, but that is just a matter of translation from one art to another. When people talk about defending the guard they frequently mean defending the closed guard shown in Fig. 1 where the attackers ankles are locked around Nage's waist. For a general discussion that is the place to start because once Nage breaks the ankle lock Uke is kicking, pushing, pulling or holding with his legs to control Nage.
|Fig. 1 Closed Guard
There are four parts to passing the guard. These are:
- Opening the Ankles.
- Controlling Uke's hips.
- Passing his legs.
In passing the guard there are many ways of doing each of these. For combat situations very few of these are reasonable. The following considerations apply:
- We are not ground fighters. We do not want to be on the ground playing a ground fighters game. We will probably lose in a situation where we are not using our strengths and they are using theirs so we want to avoid sport strategies.
- A combat situation will be on uncertain ground. We do not want to be mucking around on our knees. We could be on broken glass or anything. We want off our knees as soon as possible.
- When we are in a closed guard we cannot see behind us so we are vulnerable to attack from behind. We want out of this situation as soon as possible.
- When we are in a closed guard on our knees we have limited mobility. Mobility is very important so we need to get to our feet as soon as possible.
- In general we need something simple and fast. Simple is always best when other things are equal.
In evaluating defenses against the guard we will need to satisfy these criteria.
A closed guard is a very poor technique to use in a real fight. Uke's groin and face are exposed to attack. Uke's back is on a surface that could be dangerous and Nage may not be wearing clothing similar to a Gi. There are no rules. These factors help level the playing field for the stand up fighter.
With Uke's feet locked around Nage Uke has very few options. These include:
- Double Wrist Lock so Nage must keep hands off ground.
- Guillotine so Nage must keep hands off ground and stay vertical keeping Uke posted.
- Chokes so Nage must stay vertical and keep Uke posted.
- Uke can grab Nage's ankles or legs and sweep Nage. This makes it dangerous for Nage to lift one knee to the side, stand and do other things.
- Punches or gouges so Nage must stay vertical and keep Uke posted.
- If Nage's hands go above Uke's ribcage Uke can do a double or single armbar. This does require Uke's legs to release so Nage could reach up to get Uke to go for the armbar but it is very dangerous. Even a novice can do a double armbar extremely quickly. This means two broken elbows in a heart beat.
This does not mean that a combat oriented guard is not an essential martial tool that anyone should know. The guard in general is wonderful but a closed guard is not the best choice if a real fight.