Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Love/Hate Relationship with the Double Guard Pull

I have had an interesting love/hate affair with the double guard pull.

I've mentioned it before, but nothing has caused so much consideration by myself in the world of grappling than this position/debate.

Coming from Judo, I first instinct is to loathe the double guard pull.

Having injured my knees in Judo, and having wanted to compete before being 100%, I understand the value simply out of necessity to protect a knee or injury that has not yet recovered.

Based on the scoring structure in Jiu-Jitsu, and the reality that from bottom I can sweep OR submit (and stand up if those are not working), rather than just pass (especially at the lower belts where leg attacks are more restricted), I completely understand as a competitor.

From a lazy perspective, guard passing (to me) has proven more tiring than simply retaining guard and stuffing guard passes (particularly at a long day of competing).

I also would rather one guy pull guard than 2 non competent throwers struggle with equal grips and stiff arms for 6 or however many minutes on the feet in an utter stalemate.

Then comes the uncomfortable reality that it is a valid position for sport Jiu-Jitsu, the scoring in BJJ supports its use, and that as a competitor, at the end of the day, I am relatively free to approach my gameplan as I see fit.

Then, however, we face the other side of the argument: the right to do something does not mean that doing it is right.

Few (that's relative, I should say less were vocal) people complained when Keenan and Miyao were double DQ'd in Abu Dhabi for 7 minutes of ankle grabbing with no attempt to come up on top and/or pass.

I liken the application of the double guard pull to Braulio's use of the foot lapel grip against Rodolfo at the Metamoris II on Sunday. Braulio only used it to what appeared legitimately threaten a position or sweep several times throughout the 20 minute match. At the point where it becomes simply a stalling tactic not used to sweep, stand up, or submit from the bottom, the grip becomes just that: a stall tactic.

Should it be banned?
Should refs be more proactive?
Should you complain about the double guard pull if you compete but can't even attempt a takedown, throw, foot sweep to save your life?
How do we balance empowering refs to keep the sport or martial aspect up to their discretion without inflaming spectators or influencing the outcome of matches?

Again, rather than letting these issues fester, or shaming people for having their opinions, the hope should be that competition forces the addressing of these conflicts as they arise in the sport and competition circuit, and as this is a martial art, how it applies to the art as a whole.

Someone far greater than myself  and I will ever be and his thoughts:

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