In BJJ there are a variety of positions that a player can be in. Some positions are considered good positions and some are considered bad. However, there is some debate as to whether or not guard is a good position in BJJ.
Guard in BJJ is neither good nor bad but is actually considered a neutral position. There is both top and bottom guard in BJJ both being considered equally advantageous.
That being said, it really depends on the game you like to play. Personally, I like to play the top game in BJJ so I would personally rather be in top guard than bottom guard.
Why Guard Is Neither a Good Nor Bad Position In BJJ
The guard and turtle are the only positions considered neutral in BJJ. However, I disagree that the turtle is a neutral position. To be top turtle is a much better position to be in over the bottom.
The guard on the other hand depends on the game the player likes to play. The bottom guard is at a disadvantage because the top player has the ability to pass the guard into a superior position.
However, many people prefer the bottom guard because there are more attacks and sweeps from bottom guard. On the other hand, there are very few attacks from top guard in BJJ.
There are different positions that are always going to be considered superior positions in BJJ. Understanding the positional hierarchy in BJJ will help you understand which positions are better than others.
Positional Hierarchy In BJJ: Which Positions Are Best?
- Rear Mount
- Knee On Belly
- Side Control Top
- Half Mount
- Guard Top and Guard Bottom
- Turtle Top And Bottom
- Half Guard Bottom
- Side Control Bottom
- Knee On Belly Bottom
- Mount Bottom
- Rear Mount Bottom
As you can see the very best position is opposite the worst position. This is because if you are in the best position the rear mount top that means your opponent is in the rear mount bottom.
The second best position is the top mount and the second worse is the bottom mount and so on. If you follow this process you will get to the guard which is considered a neutral position.
Is Guard A Good Position In MMA?
Though the bottom guard is considered neutral in BJJ, I would not recommend being in the bottom guard in MMA. This is simply because it is easy for the top player to throw down punches or elbows from the top position.
In the early days of MMA when fewer people knew BJJ, jiu-jitsu fighters were winning fights more often from the bottom guard.
This is because they had many attacks from the bottom guard and most of the fighters from non-grappling backgrounds did not know how to defend it.
However, today any MMA fighter that is at a top level has a pretty good defense and is less likely to get submitted from this position.
Though it certainly does still happen. That said, most fighters will not voluntarily go to the bottom guard in an MMA fight. Of course, they do still need to know how to fight from the bottom guard in case they end up there.
After all, it might save you like it did Anderson Silva when he was losing to Chael Sonnen and pulled out a triangle choke to win the fight. Check out the clip below!
How To Get Good At Playing Guard
Knowing how to grapple from closed guard or even half guard is something you need to master in BJJ. The best way to get better is to focus on mastering the guard. Here are some great instructionals to help you out.
Note that the links below are affiliate links. Meaning I will receive a commission if purchased but at no extra cost to you!
Jiu-Jitsu For Old Guys by Bernardo Faria:
Though this might be marketed towards ” old guys” I think this instructional is relevant for all ages and belt levels. That said, if you are an older jiu-jitsu guy this might be perfect for you.
If you can keep someone in your guard you won’t have to rely on being faster than your opponents. Though guard is considered neutral, many grapplers prefer bottom guard as they get older.
For More On Jiu-Jitsu For Old Guys Click Here!
The Roger Gracie Closed Guard:
Roger Gracie is also someone who many consider to be the best competitor of all time. He is a 10-time world champion and a 2-time ADCC champion.
Not only does it cover closed guard submissions from the closed guard but it also covers sweeps to help you move from closed guard to a more dominant position.
Click Here For More On The Roger Gracie Closed Guard Instructional!
The Guard Retention Anthology Bundle by Lachlan Giles & Ariel Tabak:
This bundle does not hold back in covering a ton of content. It contains as much info on guard retention as you are going to find in any BJJ instructional.
This bundle contains both the Around and Under Instructional as well as the Through The Legs and Close Range instructional.
You can, of course, purchase them separately but most likely you can save a good amount of money by purchasing this bundle. It’s got a ton of content so it will likely keep you busy for quite some time.
That said, this is probably not the first instructional I would get if I was brand new to jiu-jitsu.