Discover more from 80/20 BJJ Coach - Newsletter
The Hidden Secret to Marcelo Garcia's Guard
Marcelo Becomes the Floor, Kuzushi and the Kipping Escape
As you already know, Marcelo Garcia is my favorite grappler.
What I like about his game so much is that once you start to look deeper at his game and movement, you start finding new hidden gems 💎.
Today's topic is one that's rarely ever spoken about in isolation. Everyone speaks about Marcelo's butterfly guard, but one of the main things that cause his butterfly to be better than anyone else's, I believe, is this element: Marcelo becomes the floor.
Butterfly guard is a very common guard. And still, Marcelo manages to use it in a way that's different from almost everyone else.
The best explanation I've found, and once I started applying it, I had empirical evidence that it is at least one of the things that makes Marcelo's Butterfly Guard so good, is that "Marcelo becomes the floor 🤯"
Kenny Florian has a wonderful video explaining this, but it's very simple if you think about it (I said simple, not easy!)
He becomes his opponent's base by attaching and mirroring their body and by making sure gravity makes his opponent's base fall on his guard. I know that sounds a bit abstract, but bear with me one second.
He does two very distinct things:
He only plays supine guard if he can become the floor and only place where his opponents can base off.
If he cannot make himself the floor, he sits and unbalances with 2 on 1s and removes his opponent's "table legs" (Think about his opponent being a table with 4 legs)
But how do you become someone's only base? AKA: how do you become someone's floor?
The first time I heard of this concept was in NYC, but it wasn't in Marcelo's gym... it was in the Blue Basement when I attended a seminar in 2016 (Funny story, this was before BJJ Fanatics, and I brought into the seminar a voice recorder (which was highly illegal, but I didn't want to miss any details/secrets) and hid it in my backpack to be able to get John Danaher's secrets on audio to review later 😂... It didn't work because John's voice is so freaking soft lol.)
Anyway... John spoke about a similar concept in the context of the kipping escape.
The Kipping Escape
He was teaching the kipping escape, and after teaching us the specific steps, he explained to us that the whole idea was to become our opponent's base. I know it's kind of dumb since having someone mounting you feels like you are already their base. But you actually aren't.
The person mounting needs to use their knees and sometimes their arms to base while still not letting you create any space to escape. But what happens when you make yourself a rocking chair? Your opponent's base falls over you, and they feel the lack of base, or I should say the lack of a static/solid base, not giving them any other choice than opening up space to improve their balance and not fall to a side.
Check it out:
So that's also key when you are playing guard and getting under your opponent. The idea isn't only to get under but to get under and become their unstable floor. Become a rocking chair or a bossu-ball instead of a flat base.
This will inevitably make your opponent post on the mat or fall to a hip and accept bottom position.
Learning to "Become the Floor":
Following what we see Marcelo Garcia do, we must ensure we have a good framework when playing guard. This means always knowing what to do and never sitting or lying without doing anything or without a purpose. A good way to do this is to follow what we covered here: Always know what to do from Guard 💀.
Second, is to mirror our opponent's body almost exactly. Imagine being the shadow of their body and not letting them make solid contact with the floor.
I don't want to confuse you, so I'll try to clarify what this means: I don't mean you need to prevent them from touching the floor. This would be impossible. What I mean is that you control their weight and, more specifically, the weight of the mirrored part of their body.
For example, if they extend a leg, you mirror their movement with your own leg, and you make sure you remove their ability to base with it, not necessarily by not letting them touch the floor with their feet and leg, but by controlling the weight that they put into this leg.
Notice how Marcelo removes any solid base from his opponents. Their balance is compromised the second he gets under them. Many things open up from here because of their opponent’s reaction to maintain their balance… they usually extend one or more limbs, which opens up possibilities for Marcelo (armlocks, sumi-gaeshis, shoulder crunches, underhooks, etc.)
To dive deeper, watch Kenny's Video here:
If you want to learn more about this in the context of a specific technique, I suggest you learn the basics of the kipping escape and become comfortable with making yourself a banana-shaped figure while still having mobility.
Let’s Help Marcelo win his biggest fight yet ❤️.
As you probably already know, Marcelo was recently diagnosed with stomach cancer. His best black belts put together this amazing DVD with many techniques, and all the sales funds will go directly to Marcelo. Here’s the link.
As always, thank you for reading! And feel free to message me with any questions or feedback.