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Guard Game Variety - an Interview with Jake Mackenzie

    Tue, 2013-02-05 06:48 — DanFaggella

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     Dan Faggella is No Gi Pan Am Champion, BJJ School Owner, and writer for Jiu Jitsu Magazine, Jiu Jitsu Style Magazine, MMA Sports Mag, and others. He interviews the best back takers in the world and is giving away a Free Back Take eBook at www.MicroBJJ.com/Back-Mount

     

    I don’t always get to interview BJJ globetrotters, but live on Skype from London I got to talk to Mr. Jake Mackenzie and pick his brain about the funky guard game that he beats everyone up with (and other musings on BJJ).

    As a black belt under the famous Roberto "Cyborg", Jake’s guard game has had pretty good footsteps to follow in. However, as an innovator and competitor, Jake sees one of the main virtues of his guard game as NOT having followed only one track in his guard development, but instead having a game with enough variety to handle all the situations he runs into.

    Developing a Killer Guard

    “Even at brown belt” he told me, “I probably only had a few key techniques from the half guard, and a few options from each one. Now at black belt my game has had to develop in a lot more directions, and I think that gives me the edge in a lot of matches.”

    This ties into the concept of having a wide “web” of techniques available from any given position. If you’re a butterfly guard person - there are techniques you can prefer, but there are tons and tons of other techniques for pass prevention, for additional sweeps, etc... that you’d better get familiar with if you want the most rounded game possible.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaP5xQHFoxk

    Jake sees his deep half guard and other guard games as having this advantage of variety in sweeps, counters, cool submissions - and of course BACK TAKES!

    Conditioning, and Advantage of “Relative Skill”

    Anyone who says the 50-50 guard is an equal position has never fought an opponent who was significantly better or worse than them in that position.

    The fact of the matter is - and the way Jake sees it - if he’s been in a position 2,000 times - even if it’s a “bad” position he’s got a great chance to win if the opponent has only been there 200 times, or 20 times. Relative experience and relative skill in certain positions makes a huge difference in who wins the game in overall.

    Hence, if you “know” a guard position heart-and-soul and your opponent has never been put in that same variation before - even if he’s more talented overall - what matters is how talented and skilled and strong he is from the EXACT position you find yourself in - and if you put him in YOUR game, that’s your initiative and your advantage. That’s also a smart and strategic way to play the game in the first place. 

    If you want to check out more about Jake and his guard game, he and Cyborg (one of my favorites!) put together a freebie series on some of Jake’s new sweep and submission stuff from the guard, check it out here:

    Competition Guard Secrets

    All the best, and keep sweeping people ruthlessly!

    -Dan

     

    Dan Faggella is No Gi Pan Am Champion, BJJ School Owner, and writer for Jiu Jitsu Magazine, Jiu Jitsu Style Magazine, MMA Sports Mag, and others. He interviews the best back takers in the world and is giving away a Free Back Take eBook at www.MicroBJJ.com/Back-Mount

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