Danaher Open Guard BJJ Fundamentals DVD Review


I guess the time is right now for open guards to get their time under the sun. Or the spotlight. Whatever the case, all the innovations in the are of open guards that were brewing in the blue basement of Renzo’s NYC academy for god knows how long, are finally available for us to marvel at them. In other words, the Danaher Open Guard instructional is here. It is a Gi one, and the fifth part of the Go Further Faster collection. This is one BJJ fundamentals DVD that most of us were looking forward to.

John Danaher – Open Guard BJJ Fundamentals

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To be honest, I’m still making my way through the Danaher No-Gi collection in a very studious and dedicated manner. That means the Go Further Faster Gi instructional collection will have to wait. For now. However, I’ve seen every minute of each and every one of them, and I can’t wait to get to really go deep. Danaher doesn’t seem to think we need time to get through all his stuff, as proven by his lates BJJ Fundamentals DVD. Given that everyone plays an open guard, or two, the Danaher Open Guard DVD is my bet to come in second only behind his leg locking one, in terms of general demand. Time will tell.

Really Going Further Faster

As I said, I’m still doing the No-Gi Danaher stuff, meaning I’m still entering the system. However, guys in the Academy that are all about the Gi, are actually going further faster, really, really faster, in fact, using John’s instructionals. We already know the man is brilliant and is one of the best Jiu-Jitsu coaches of today. Or perhaps even all times. That said, I think the Danaher Open Guard DVD is the one people were actually waiting for. Make no mistake, everything else is pure gold, it’s just that open guards are seductive and people love to play them. Now, world-class coaching and innovative concepts are readily available. Of course, we’re excited!

Other titles in the BJJ Fundamentals DVD collection Danaher is putting together focus mainly on guards when I come to think about it. All apart from one, which is the very first instructional, go over a subject of the guard. So far we saw huge 8-part sets analyzing the half guard, closed guard, and guard retention. There’s also that original Go Further Faster title about pi escapes and turtle defense. I wonder if we’ll see a passing DVD in this collection before John wraps it up.

This lates Danaher Open Guard instructional follows the same pattern as previous one,s coming in at about 10 hours of running time. While it is dubbed Open guard, John actually covers a multitude of different open guards in it. Some of the most popular ones make an appearance, as do some hybrids of Danaher’s own making. I personally loved the DVD and I can’t wait to see what kind of impact it will have on the BJJ world.

BJJ Open Guard(s)

Who doesn’t want to play guard? You get to lay down on the ground and sweep and submit people at will. Well, that’s the ultimate goal anyway. In reality, things are never that easy. Yes, open guards are plenty, and they are usually highly attacking positions, but they’re not unbeatable. On the contrary, the battle between powerful passers and slick guard players is a legendary one in the realm of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. So far, it’s pretty much a tie, but this John Danaher Open Guards BJJ Fundamentals DVD is about to change things in favor of the bottom players.

Out of all the crazy open guards, you’ll see out there, you’ll see exactly zero in this instructional John Danaher is known for his immaculate attention to detail and his desire for nothing but sheer effectiveness. So the guards that feature in this instructional are truly fundamental but efficient to an extreme. And, as usual, they blend in perfectly with the rest of Danaher’s take on Jiu-Jitsu and all his other systems, Gi and No-Gi. 

A Review Of The Danaher Open Guard BJJ Fundamentals DVD

What do we get with the Danaher Open Guard DVD? AS always lots of the same in terms of the structure and organization, with a few sprinkles of innovation. There are no two Danaher instructionals that are completely the same. Once again there’s a wealth of material and it is organized in a really specific and progressive manner. If you’re looking to jump straight into volume number five and do techniques, you’ll be disappointed. It is not how Danaher’s DVDs work. IF you go through it all chapter by chapter though, you’ll understand his philosophy on the open guard. And that is where this BJJ Fundamentals DVD really shines.

In terms of the order, it all starts with an all too familiar introductory DVD, before Danaher explores his favorite common problems and basic skills that position faces. Part three goes into how to apply the knowledge of the previous two volumes in a practical manner. Halfway through, it’s all about hook guards, and launching people in the air, featuring both sweeps and takedowns from guard positions. The fifth volume covers open guards against kneeling and standing opponents. Part six is the special case study DVD, with the case in question being the collar and sleeve guard. The penultimate volume goes into leg attacks, meaning the X guard is the main culprit. Finally, it all ends with a Danaher special: the double Kouchi Gari.

1. Open Guard Basics

It is a Danaher Open guard DVD. Expect him to talk, and talk a lot, particularly in the first volume. That way, you’ll be better psyched to listen to hi without expecting to see guard details this early on. Give that this is a BJJ Fundamentals DVD too, there’s even more theory in there, but it is anything but boring. On the contrary, it is groundbreaking.

First and foremost, John goes over the theory of open guards and why they are valuable. A hugely important aspect of playing guard are grips, and Danaher covers everything you need to know right in this volume. There’s also information on Kuzushi or the art of off-balancing your opponent after you get your grips on.  Several more key principles like action-reaction, arm traps, and double trouble also feature her2.

2. Guard Skills And Common Problems

Part two is where Danaher goes over his famous checklist of common problems and integral skills. So far, there has been a volume like this in all previous instructionals Gi and No-Gi. Her,e the issue part is about dealing with the offense/defense problem. That means having a guard that you can stay in and attack from at the same time. This balance between retention and attacks is a very delicate one and there’s no one that explains it better than Danaher.

In terms of skills, there are two according to Danaher, and he really goes deep into explaining them. He also covers the double-seated position as well as making the first contact with an opponent when in guard. There’ a small chapter at the very end on entering the open guard, something he goes deeper into later on.

3. Full Kneeling Opponents

As leg locks became a common weapon, people started reverting back to an old way of passing – staying on both knees. This limits mobility a lot, but it does take away from leg lock attacks and even sweeps. Plus it makes playing most open guards hard. I guess Danaher decided to put an end to this as well, which is exactly what he does in this volume. This is the one where Danaher solves the double kneeling position.

Of course, the guard in question is the butterfly guard, Something we all expected to see in a Danaher Open guard BJJ Fundamentals DVD. There’s som crazy stuff in here, like the principle of ken ken, and the Danaher philosophy of establishing and holding hooks. There’s also a lot of info in there on angles, as well as key Sumi Gasehi details to send people flying. AS usual, John also solves a few common problems of the position along the way.

4. Sumi Gaeshi

Right before hitting the halfway mark, the focus is on what to do when you inevitably end up supine. The old theory that you want to be seated in the butterfly guard still holds, but Danaher has options even if you’re in a supine position. Hook Sweeps do work from there, thanks to a simple formula I’ve never seen before. Moreover, this entire volume is all about the Sumi Gaeshi which is not necessarily just a throw/sweep. It is also a great way to achieve elevation, which can lead into Ashi Garami or other open guards. There are crazy setups of the Sumi Gaeshi, including one form the spider guard.

Wrapping this volume up ire a few chapters that offer a different takedown – Hiza Guruma. Foot sweeping people with a Judo move while in the butterfly guard is a thing that only Danaehr can come up with. It works, though, like a charm.

5. Half-Kneeling / Standing Opponents

For those braver folks that dare venture into standing/half kneeling positions, there’s an entire part of the Danaher Open guard instructional filled with options. Once again, it is all about hooks, mostly form the butterfly position. There are different options though when an opponent is half kneeling, with Hiza Guruma, ankle picks and Ashi Garamis the attacking methods of choice.

AS an opponent stand up completely, the game changes yet again. This time, it is about a different overhead throw variation – the Tomoe Nage. Ther’s a lot of Judo stuff in what is a BJJ Fundamentals DVD. Unexpected, but efficient. The guard mechanism also changes here, with the focus shifting towards the De La iva guard as a launching pad for tomoe Nages of all shapes and sizes.

6. Collar Cuff And Biceps Guard

What most people know as the collar and sleeve guard, is the Collar Cuff and Biceps guard in Danaher’s nomenclature. He does like to be precise, and that’s exactly what you get here – precise information on when, how and why you should grip. The entire volume is a case study of the guard, with everything from mechanics, to sweeps and a huge bunch of submissions featuring everything, from triangles to Omoplatas and armbars.

Half of the volume is dedicated to the De la Riva guard, albeit in a very different way than others play it. First up, the mechanics of the position are a bit unusual but extremely efficient. Moreover, there’s a lot of emphasis on transitioning from outside to inside hooks, in order to obtain Ashi Garamis, and eventually, leg lock finishes.

7. X-Guards

This is where this Danaher Open Guard DVD really came through for me. In it, Danaher goes over Ashi Garami positions as guards, which is as innovative as anything that has come out of the blue basement. Form there, he goes on to connect the Ashi Garami guards to the X guard, offering a way back as well. Obviously.

In terms of the X guard, you won’t find a better BJJ Fundamentals DVD than this. First up, the sweeps and grips are completely different from anything you know. If you’re doing leg locks already, you’ll be able to navigate your way through this X guard a bit easier. That said, options start with sweeps and fo on to Tomoe Nages and other throws before doing a full circle back to Ashi Garami.

8. Double Kouchi Gari

It seems strange but there it is. The Double Kouchi Gari guard by John Danaher. This final volume does a great job of explaining exactly what it is, how it works and how you can sweep and submit from there. Oh and throw, of course, as ti seems Danaher really loves doing throws and takedowns form open guards.

There’s more though. In this final DVD, more than half of the chapters address how to negate the dreaded headquarters position. It is a spot developed and named by Lovato Jr. and is the staple of many guard passers, particularly pressure passers. Well, finally, there’s a solution. In fact, there are 5 of them, along with a great way of putting them all together. And not just them, but all fo the material Danaher shares with us in this BJJ Fundamentals DVD.

Closing Thoughts

With a Danaher DVD, you know what you’re getting. There’s not much to say about the Danaher open guard except that it did shed light on an aspect of guard play others haven’t touched on before. As expected, I guess. As a BJJ Fundamentals DVD, this is one that everyone can use, from white all the way to red belt. It is that good, easy to follow and precise. Even though John talks s a lot, this is by far, the easiest John Danaher instructional to follow and put to use.

John Danaher – Open Guard BJJ Fundamentals

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