John Danaher is a man that needs no introduction at this point, as the man responsible bringing the BJJ world the greatest no gi grappler of all time in Gordon Ryan, and he has now shared the secretes behind his approach to open guard. As the former head instructor of Renzo Gracie New York City, Danaher has shared the mats with some of the greatest minds in the sport and brought the world several elite black belts throughout his years as a coach. His students have always had a phenomenal open guard and since John Danaher moved to Puerto Rico to set up shop there, they have shown no signs of slacking in this area, or any other for that matter.
He recently sat down with Bernardo Faria to discuss his approach to this specific position and the resulting discussion was uploaded to his official YouTube channel. Primarily, he encourages the development of good guard retention in order to feel safe in attacking relentlessly from the position. Unsurprising, considering that guard retention is something that his protege Gordon Ryan has extolled the virtues of on many occasions.
“If you don’t believe in your ability to recover from a failed attack from guard position, you won’t attack. You’ll find an excuse to hang back.”
Alongside the confidence to attack without fear of having your guard passed, he also believes that liberal use of leg attacks is something that can improve any competitor’s open guard as well:
“The legs can never be hidden by posture. The one part of the body that my opponent can never fully hide from me is the legs… You can always find a way to the legs. It creates a threat that your opponent simply cannot hide from.”