John Danaher has an absolute wealth of knowledge on BJJ and when he explains something as fundamentally important as how to restrain an opponent then it’s definitely worth paying attention. He frequently spends time doling out his views and insight into the sport and some of the other concepts that are only really adjacent to grappling, like returning to training and competition after an extended time away. In fact, if you were to look back over all of the things that Danaher has shared with the public free of charge then it’s actually possible to build an approach to the entirety of grappling from start to finish.
Every match starts standing of course, and Danaher has already explained that there’s more to standing grappling than just simply takedowns. Judoka call it kuzushi and wrestlers have the same concept, although without a single name, so it’s something that the average Jiu-Jitsu grappler needs to be aware of too. Even though matches start standing, the main focus of any BJJ competition is what happens once the match gets to the ground. Unless a competitor is able to execute the perfect takedown, there will be at least some portion of the match spent guard-passing and he’s also shared what to do from there.
Things aren’t all one-sided either as the person being taken down, or pulling guard, will have to execute the perfect gameplan from their guard in order to submit their opponent from the bottom or be able to sweep them into a dominant position. Whichever position you find yourself in, the end-goal is always to restrain your opponent and as John Danaher explains, the key thing to remember is always to close off any and all space between you and your opponent. In doing so, there is no room for their body to move into and it creates a situation where you can prevent them from actually moving or escaping.
John Danaher explained how to most effectively restrain an opponent in a recent post to his official Instagram account: