Check out an array of positions for defending while on all fours

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Bernardo Faria against Lagarto in the final at the 2012 European Championship / Photo by Raphael Nogueira/

When you’re fighting to keep your guard from getting passed and you end up on all fours, you know you’re not in the clear, yet.

One of the routes to take is to not get stuck there: grab the opponent’s leg and land on top. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to learn to defend while facing downwards.

The opponent can take your back, catch you in a clock choke, bear his weight down on the back of your neck, or do a whole assortment of other unpleasantries to you. What do you do? How do you defend?

In the following video, the black belt Sean Bansfield, GMA of ours in Ann Arbor, Michigan, shows how to protect yourself in the position. At minute 1:01 he recommends turning safely when the opponent sticks the first hook in, thus conceding half-guard.

Another option, for when the opponent has your neck in his sights while in north-south position, is to break his grip and roll for top position—as in minute 2:05.

The third, at minute 3:20, is to rely on a position that embodies Jiu-Jitsu’s essence: without using any force at all, the Jiu-Jitsu professor simply sits and smoothly slides to the back of the fighter who was attacking him.

In the fourth and fifth variations, Sean teaches how to move forward to try to gain ground and avoid getting roughed up.

Give it a watch and let us know what you think.

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