Lachlan Giles is one of the most refreshingly honest grapplers around with absolutely no tendencies towards bravado or trash talk and the giant-killing ADCC Bronze medalist recently announced that even he struggles when first learning techniques. He made the admission as part of a lengthy post on his official Instagram account, where he was discussing the release of his new DVD on Guard Retention which was filmed jointly with fellow Australian, Ariel Tabak. In the comments, Giles also confirmed that he believes the release will be made at some point in the next two weeks.
He revealed that the upcoming instructional is going to look at guard retention from all three phases, long, close, and mid-range. This was the reason for him bringing Tabak on board with the filming of this instructional as he explains that he is better at guard retention from long distance, which compliments Giles’ retention abilities from close and mid-range. This was the area of grappling where Lachlan Giles had begun to implement new techniques and concepts courtesy of Tabak and as he explains, his performances were immediately worse and his guard was getting passed often. But as time went on, he began to get a feel for what he was doing and he now believes that he’s elevated his game to a new level as a result of this.
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After ADCC 2019 I approached @arieltabakbjj about making a guard retention instructional. I had good close and mid range guard retention while he has excellent distance based guard retention. I had felt the frustration of trying to pass his guard, and thought it would be good to learn what he is doing, as well as combining our knowledge so we cover all of guard retention (distance, close and mid range). At first I got worse, I was trying new movements and had not developed a feel for them, I was having my guard passed by people that normally would not. As has been the experience with each of my instructionals though, we delved deep into the topic, both Ariel and I noticed movements and concepts that I don't believe have ever been taught. Without a doubt these adaptations, and change in approach have elevated my game to a new level, probably more so than any other skill I have focused on. There are many ways to approach guard retention, you can do it from inside leg position, half guard, open guard, but I have no doubt that if you are willing to put in the work, the approach shown in The Guard Retention Anthology is the best way to do it.
Realistically, this just confirms what most coaches will have told their students time and time again. It’s easy to fall back on what you’re good at and continue to perform well in training, but that can only get you so far. In order to really improve, you have to force yourself into the situations where you’re lacking and try new concepts or techniques. Not just try them once or twice either, but continually for weeks and even months on end until that specific area becomes just as good as the rest of your game. It’s just nice to hear that even those at the very top of their game still experience the same peaks and troughs in their development.