John Danaher: Jumping Closed Guard Should Be Banned At All Levels

Banning moves: Jiu jitsu is a contact sport based around the skills of breaking joints and strangulation – as such injury is inevitable at some point. Nonetheless I believe there are certain movements in our sport that are unacceptably dangerous and which do very little to enhance the desired skills of the sport. In my experience, the most hazardous movements in jiu jitsu are not the joint locks and strangles, these usually cause no injury among responsible athletes and even when used recklessly, rarely do catastrophic damage. Far more dangerous is UNCONTROLLED FALLING BODYWEIGHT. This is often the result of throws from standing position where people try to resist the throw and land poorly. Sometimes it is the result of a poor throwing attempt that results in one athlete sitting on the outstretched leg of his opponent and crushing the knee or ankle. The worst offender however, is the most common and the most preventable – the common practice of people jumping to closed guard and landing on the opponents hips, knees or ankles with their entire weight and momentum. Thankfully this dreadful practice has been banned at white belt belt level after years of unnecessary injury. It is time to extend the ban to all belt levels and training. I banned the practice entirely in all my classes many years ago after witnessing many terrible injuries. It is a worthless practice that teaches no worthwhile combat skills and has only (very) bad consequences with no redeeming features (unlike flying submissions which do teach valuable skills). We should enforce a rule that if an athlete wishes to pull guard they must make contact with their buttocks or back on the mat rather than their opponent. It is comical to see a sport where knee reaping is illegal, but the act of jumping guard, which has ruined more careers than all the joint locks and knee reaps put together, is perfectly legal for upper belts. A good closed guard should be feared as Roger Gracie’s was – for its fine tactics and technique – not the injurious clumsiness of it jumping entry. The sport needs to ban this dangerous movement that does nothing to promote the skills of the sport and does much to reduce its safety

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Banning moves: Jiu jitsu is a contact sport based around the skills of breaking joints and strangulation – as such injury is inevitable at some point. Nonetheless I believe there are certain movements in our sport that are unacceptably dangerous and which do very little to enhance the desired skills of the sport. In my experience, the most hazardous movements in jiu jitsu are not the joint locks and strangles, these usually cause no injury among responsible athletes and even when used recklessly, rarely do catastrophic damage. Far more dangerous is UNCONTROLLED FALLING BODYWEIGHT. This is often the result of throws from standing position where people try to resist the throw and land poorly. Sometimes it is the result of a poor throwing attempt that results in one athlete sitting on the outstretched leg of his opponent and crushing the knee or ankle. The worst offender however, is the most common and the most preventable – the common practice of people jumping to closed guard and landing on the opponents hips, knees or ankles with their entire weight and momentum. Thankfully this dreadful practice has been banned at white belt belt level after years of unnecessary injury. It is time to extend the ban to all belt levels and training. I banned the practice entirely in all my classes many years ago after witnessing many terrible injuries. It is a worthless practice that teaches no worthwhile combat skills and has only (very) bad consequences with no redeeming features (unlike flying submissions which do teach valuable skills). We should enforce a rule that if an athlete wishes to pull guard they must make contact with their buttocks or back on the mat rather than their opponent. It is comical to see a sport where knee reaping is illegal, but the act of jumping guard, which has ruined more careers than all the joint locks and knee reaps put together, is perfectly legal for upper belts. A good closed guard should be feared as Roger Gracie's was – for its fine tactics and technique – not the injurious clumsiness of it jumping entry. The sport needs to ban this dangerous movement that does nothing to promote the skills of the sport and does much to reduce its safety

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