Guard

Every time you step into the cage, your job is to finish the fight. If you find yourself in the top guard position, the chances are you got there by either setting up a takedown off strikes or countering one of your opponent's strikes with a takedown. The point is that you most likely had to go through a battle to obtain the position, so make something happen. If you just sit there with your head buried in your opponent's chest, you not only tell the judges that you have no desire to finish the fight, but you also run the risk of having the referee stand the fight back up, which means you have to battle for the takedown all over again.

When I obtain the top guard position, my ultimate goal is to obtain the mount or take my opponent's back because they are both excellent positions from which to finish the fight with strikes or a submission. The first step to reaching either destination is to pass my opponent's guard, and the only way I can achieve that is by forcing him to open his legs. I'll generally do this by bombing on him with strikes. I'm not talking about throwing the occasional blow; I'm talking about unloading with overhands, uppercuts, hammer fists, and elbows. This initial blast will either knock my opponent out or force him to defend against my strikes by opening his guard and getting his legs involved. As he opens his guard, his focus is still on defending against strikes, so it allows me to set up a pass. If my opponent quickly shifts gears and begins defending the pass, it steals his focus away from strikes and allows me to land hard, clean punches. Those clean punches will either knock him out or put his focus back onto defending against strikes, which in turn allows me to set up another pass. Constantly switching back and forth and mixing these two modes together not only increases your chances of landing some hard shots, but it also increases your chance of executing a successful pass.

I'm not saying that you have to turn every fight into a grappling match. Concentrating exclusively on strikes while in the top guard can win a fight so long as each strike you throw gets you closer to the knockout. However, you must be prepared to deal with your opponent's reactions to those strikes. Unless you knock him out, he won't lie there and let you beat on him. He will employ movement, and if all you're thinking about is strikes, you're not only going to miss a prime opportunity to pass into a more dominant position, but your opponent might also escape from the bottom guard position. The bottom line is you must understand how strikes and grappling work together when on the ground, even if you don't always choose to blend them together. If you have to switch modes, you're going to miss out on opportunities and put yourself at risk of getting caught.

Key Concepts for Guard Top

^Stay active. Use your strikes to set up passes, and use your passes to set up strikes. SNever put your hands on the mat.

•SMaintain control positions whenever you're postured up or pinning your opponent to the mat. ^Always work to establish a more dominant position such as side control, mount, or back by passing.

Boxing Simplified

Boxing Simplified

Devoted as I am to popularizing amateur boxing and to improving the caliber of this particularly desirable competitive sport, I am highly enthusiastic over John Walsh's boxing instruction book. No one in the United States today can equal John's record as an amateur boxer and a coach. He is highly regarded as a sportsman. Before turning to coaching and the practice of law John was one of the most successful college and Golden Gloves boxers the sport has ever known.

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