There are basically two phases to the fight game in MMA; the standup game (striking) and the ground game (grappling). Fans love the striking side of the sport for obvious reasons; it’s fast, dynamic and brutal. But even though the sport has been around for more than 20 years now, the majority of fans don’t fully appreciate the beauty of the ground game.

A big reason why has to do with the average fan’s lack of understanding. While there can be some flashy ground techniques, by and large the ground game is a methodical chess match for position; that can make it difficult to watch at times. But just because it’s slow and plodding doesn’t mean there isn’t any excitement.

One of the most exciting positions a grappler can utilize is the guard; a grappling position where one fighter has their back to the ground while attempting to control the other fighter utilizing their legs.

Why is the guard exciting? It’s simple. It’s due to the variety of the position variations and all of the techniques that can be executed from those positions. From vicious elbows from the bottom to sweeps to a myriad of submissions, fighters who are well versed in the guard are a joy to watch.

The guard game is, has been and will continue to play an important role in MMA. So rather than booing the next time you see a fight go to the ground, take a step back and appreciate the skill and technique it takes to successfully fight off of one’s back.

To better understand the guard, please enjoy the video where Eddie Bravo explains his patented rubber guard to the great Rickson Gracie.

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.