The J-Point Camping Strategy

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Patience goes a long way when you try to pass your opponent’s guard.​

One of the misconceptions beginners tend to have is that you must pass the guard immediately. When you face a skilled guard player, it takes time to break the multiple layers of their guard, and it’s normal.​

When you rush, you make it easier for your opponent to off-balance you and launch their attacks.​

So you need to focus on stabilizing your position where you don’t have to worry so much about immediate submissions or sweeps, and you can start creating pressure against your opponent.​

Good guard players will keep adjusting their guard until they take a better position than yours. And if you’ve been playing BJJ long enough, you know how frustrating it can be to deal with their ability to recover the guard position.​

One common strategy, though it sounds rather primitive, is to keep trying to pass their guard until it breaks. You typically change from one side to the other and/or mix different guard passing moves with one another. You need 5-6 consecutive switches to beat a decent guard player’s guard.​

A big problem with this approach for most of us is that it gets exhausting. There are dynamic guard passers who can create scrambles throughout an entire match, but most people can’t do that.​

Essentially, it’s a race between the passer and the guarder — the one who gets tired first will lose. But the adjustments the guarder needs to make to keep their guard are typically smaller. So it’s much harder to tire them out.​

But you don’t have to participate in this race against your opponent. There’s a much simpler approach to break your opponent’s guard more quickly with less energy. This approach relies on your positioning and patience.​

Instead of attacking multiple times from different sides, you can aim at reaching what’s called the J-point and camping there.​

This is what the J-point camping looks like.

The J-point is the point where your opponent is in jeopardy of having their guard passed. More specifically, your opponent’s hip line plays a significant role in their defense, and whether you can go past this line determines your guard passing success.

​For more details on the J-point camping strategy, check out this video featuring Gordon Ryan, especially from around the 3-minute mark of the video.​

Camping at the J-point means stopping at the J-point and waiting until your opponent’s guard breaks while keeping pressure against your opponent.​

One great detail that Gordon uses is how he uses his head to restrict his opponent’s movements. Gordon places his forehead against his opponent’s far shoulder. This makes it almost impossible for them to pummel their far leg in and create distance. This head placement may feel a bit weird initially, but you will get used to it.​

Now… why does the J-point camping works well?​

Typically, most people retreat or switch sides when they reach this point or a point that’s close enough to the J-point and realize that they can’t pass that point immediately.​ Don’t do that.

When you stop at this point, your opponent will have to carry your weight and pressure in an uncomfortable position. It would be much easier for the guarder if you released your pressure by retreating or changing the side, and that’s usually what happens. Instead, by camping at this point, you can simply wait for their guard to break naturally.​

If you implement this strategy correctly, the worst thing that can happen is that you end up in their half-guard. And the best case is an easy pass without spending much energy.​

Gordon uses toreando to reach the J-point, but I suppose you can use different moves to get there, like the standard knee-cut pass.​

Likewise, you can apply the same strategy to different guard passing scenarios as well. For example, the double under pass and the over under pass allow you to put your opponent into an uncomfortable position. Once you get there, you could wait until they give up their guard.​

The basic idea here is that you wait until your opponent’s guard breaks.​

Be patient, use less energy, and tire your opponent by effectively positioning yourself. When their position is compromised, you will break them physically and mentally. Passing their guard will become easier after that.