This will be long. But guard isn’t someplace to just sit there. 1. Pull on their head or get an over hook/ collar grip. Wrist controls are good. Break their posture/grip fight like a fuckin demon. 2. Constantly threaten something. Ideas: overhook and push arm to throw a triangle. Arm drags from guard. Failed arm drag to arm bar. Pendulum sweep if failed go to arm par. Hip bump sweep hip bump sweep if they post a hand weave a triangle. (Look up hip bump to triangle on YouTube) one of my fav attacks. A lot of white belts lock their legs in guard and keep them locked that kills your mobility you have to open your legs at the right times to attack. Learn half guard. For the love of god learn good half guard. My whole game changed when I discovered deep half.


Focus on breaking your opponents posture. Use your legs to climb high on their back. Let go of the thought of losing the position and attempt more submissions. Arm-bars, triangles, chokes, these shouldn’t be used as just submissions but also looked at as positions themselves. You are way to new to have a “game” at this stage in your venture. You need to give yourself more grace and realize that the hard part of training is just getting to the gym and walking through the door. The more you show up, the more you get tapped or smashed. It is just going to be a matter of time before you are the one getting the submissions and smashing them. Just keep at it. The role of your white belt is to get tapped out 100,000 times. Keep in mind a belt is really 2inches of fabric that holds your pants up and don’t limit yourself to being just a 4 month white belt. Get on YouTube, find some cool shit that your gym isn’t teaching and try it out. Have fun with your training and don’t focus on how many times you are tapped out or smashed, you will lose your love for the sport. As a side note, due as many competitions as you are able. You are at a huge learning time period right now and I commend you for just getting to the gym the past four months. Your time will come as long as you allow the time to come your way.


General considerations for you to consider: 1. Alignment - For our opponent to pass our guard they need to get our legs out of the way. They do this with some kind of grip. In seated guard, if the opponent flanks just realign your body with his. On your back, pay attention to your posture meaning that your back should be in a banana shape - this makes it easier to move on the ground and use your legs. Get your legs in front of your opponent but consider the tip below. 2. Frames - When the opponent is closing the distance use frames which are temporary barriers to align back to your opponent. You can use your forehand, your elbow, your forearm, and self frames either on your chest and/ or your head. The hand on the chest makes it easier to go to knee escapes. The frames on the head are to prevent cross faces. You use frames to block your opponent for a short period of time so that you can recover alignment and bring your legs in front of the opponent or in some sort of guard. 3. Connection - When an opponent tries to pass your sole purpose is to make a connection to them with some type of guard. Never let your opponent grab you and prevent you from grabbing him. Use grip breaks and grip negations to connect to your opponent and start the offense. Some tips: * If you keep your knees and elbow together when you are on your back that makes it very hard to pass. This is a general rule but this knee and elbow structure is very solid and makes you hold a lot of bodyweights easily. * Always get back to guard when you defend or back on the attack. Do not get in an infinite cycle where your opponent changes from pass to pass and overwhelms you. If you never fight back your opponent can attack without repercussions. All of this I learned from John Danaher's Guard Retention DVD which I highly recommend. Do not get Gordon's DVD as it is too advanced for a beginner. Finally, do not get frustrated. Imo guard retention is one of the hardest skills to learn and teach as it takes a lot of time, pattern recognition, muscle memory, and knowledge. Hope this helps. Happy rolling.


If it makes you feel any better, I’m a purple belt 5 years in and I struggle with keeping guard too lol. I have specific guards I’m great with, but none of them are open guards (and closed guard is a pain because of the tree trunks I call legs) but I’ve found ways to adapt my body to the situation at hand over time (like pulling half guard or going straight for a sweep instead of getting closed guard back. Give it time, you’ll figure out what your body does better naturally through lots and lots of rolling.


Learn active recovery, so constant maintenance of your grips and frames, most guard passes happen because you the passer establish their inside position with the legs. Winning this initial battle is a huge part of guard retention. Also a concept I teach my students is treat your hips like headlights of a car, if they’re not in your headlights you can’t see them, so constantly re align your hips so they’re facing your opponents.