Jiu-Jitsu Letter

Stage 5

Kazushi Sakuraba

In Gracie Combatives, we have a couple guard control lessons that are focused on distance management and knockout prevention. They’re the punch block series. The first lesson covers stages one through four. The next lesson covers stage five.

The punch block series keeps us safe from knockout blows while we’re in the bottom of the fight. The most dangerous is stage five, where your opponent is standing over you.

It’s important to remember it’s punch block, not kick block. Your legs and feet may keep your opponent away from punching range, but they’re not keeping you safe from soccer kicks and stomps (and diving punches).

In Pride, Kazushi Sakuraba loved leg kicks and jumping stomps on opponents playing guard. Watching him do that was exciting. But imagine someone trying that on you on the sidewalk, with boots on.

In John Danaher’s standup instructional, he actually goes over how to finish a fight with soccer kicks and stomps in a self-defense scenario. It’s sobering.

Being grounded against a standing opponent is the worst position of all. Get up.

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