In the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, innovation is one of its strongest merits. Over the years, more techniques have entered the scene. Some became novel tricks, while others changed the game completely. One of the most important developments in today’s game is the lapel guard. The galaxy guard is a powerful lapel guard variant that is sure to confuse your opponents. Today, we’ll go over the basics of the galaxy guard, as well as its practical applications.
History Of The Galaxy Guard
This guard was developed and made famous by multiple-time BJJ world champion Braulio Estima. For those unaware, Braulio Estima is known as one of the top Jiu-Jitsu athletes of all time, with many IBJJF and ADCC gold medals to his name. He is now a highly respected coach and teaches out of Gracie Barra UK.
The galaxy guard involves opening the opponent’s gi and placing your foot on their lapel. Notice that the final configuration is similar to the spider guard, but the pressure is not placed on the bicep. This makes passing challenging and allows you to go beneath your opponent for attacks. The “Galaxy” name is fitting, as the guard’s rotational and circular movements look like planets revolving around the sun.
Galaxy Guard In Action
ATOS blackbelt Dominique Bell explains the essential steps to the galaxy guard. Take note of the ‘cocoon’ technique that he mentions when setting up the galaxy guard. This is a critical step in getting into the position. We encourage you to take note of the concepts shown in the video. The galaxy guard, as with all variations of the open guard is meant to give you control over a passing opponent. This means that the first goal for you as the guard player is to use the guard as a tool to defend the guard pass; you do this by utilizing the guard configuration along with shifts in your position to generate kuzushi (off-balancing).
Several sweeps are available once you get into the galaxy guard, namely, where you go under the opponent’s center of gravity. Another tip for those new to the galaxy guard is to treat this similarly to the spider guard. The only difference is that you use a different control point (foot on lapel vs. foot on bicep), but aside from this, the general mechanics are very similar. Therefore, it is a smart idea to use the galaxy guard as a partner to the spider guard.
Underlying Mechanics And Principles
The galaxy guard’s effectiveness lies in controlling and manipulating an opponent’s posture and balance. The step where you wrap your legs with the lapel generates rotational force; this destabilizes the opponent and makes them vulnerable to sweeps and submissions. The concept of using the spiral movement is critical to this guard. Using your legs to exert spiraling pressure disrupts the opponent’s base and body positioning. Even against larger opponents, the legs, acting as levers, can generate a lot of power when controlled in these circular patterns.
Techniques From The Galaxy Guard
Once you get into the galaxy guard, you can then launch a diverse collection of attacks. The inherent rotational nature of the galaxy guard makes it a prime position for sweeps and off-balancing techniques. The transition to dominant top positions becomes fluid from this guard. Additionally, the unique nature of the position paves the way for a variety of joint lock options. Beyond sweeps and submissions, the galaxy guard enables smooth transitions to other positions, be it the back, the mount, or other open guards.
Every position in BJJ has its counters, and the galaxy guard is no exception. Those aware of its nuances often prioritize preventing the initial entanglement. A good base, upright posture, and defensive hand fighting are vital to neutralizing the galaxy guard, and all guards for that matter. Recognizing and preemptively countering the guard’s spiraling patterns can diminish its usefulness.
Drilling The Galaxy Guard
The galaxy guard is not a beginner’s guard. This guard’s entries, grip exchanges, and general off-balancing patterns require solid coordination and an understanding of body mechanics. For this reason, drilling is a must if you want to be effective with it. You first need to drill the general entry to the galaxy guard. Ensure you are familiar with what your limbs are doing and where your base is, as one slight mistake can throw you off completely.
Start with drilling against a non-resisting training partner and focus on the steps as well as your grips. Repeat this many times until you can do the entry with minimal effort. Don’t forget to drill on your left and right sides.
The next focal point is off-balancing from the galaxy guard. This is an important part of your learning, as you cannot sweep or attempt submissions if your opponent has a strong base. Again, watch the general tactics in the video and keep in mind that the opponent should be fighting for their balance the whole time.
The last item to focus on is the attacks and transitions you can do from the galaxy guard. Once you are comfortable breaking the opponent’s balance, you can employ the sweeps, submissions, and transitions you know as you see fit. This general framework is the secret to learning all guards in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. We recommend that you follow this plan consistently. Talk to your instructor so that they can also help you with your pursuit of developing your guard work.
The galaxy guard is a fantastic weapon you can add to your repertoire. Like its cousin, the worm guard, the galaxy guard’s tricky and annoying nature will make your guard very tough to crack. Remember that your guard should be a place where opponents should not feel safe; having a strong galaxy guard will surely leave a lasting impression on them.
Try the galaxy guard the next time you train in your academy. Test it out for a few weeks and see if it fits your overall guard game.
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