Every position has a goal, or mission. From the mount, knee on belly, side control, and the back the goal is simple: to submit your opponent. From the bottom of these positions the goal is equally simple: escape and improve your position.
If you are inside of someone’s guard your mission is still simple: pass the guard.
But the guard is more complicated.
The guard has three goals:
Sweep and submit are self explanatory, so I’ll hold off on addressing them for now. Survive is unique to the guard. If you are at the bottom of the mount, while survival is an important first step, the goal is not to merely survive. Your opponent is in too advantageous a position for you to count on remaining safe there indefinitely. The guard is different because it can be used as a defensive position and you remain safe so long as your opponent does not pass.
These three goals are unified by the idea that enables you to best achieve each of them: controlling your opponent’s posture.
This is most clearly illustrated in the bump sweep/kimura combination.
One variation of this sequence begins with you breaking your opponents posture all the way down, and then preventing them from regaining their posture. Oftentimes they’ll explosively push off of you to try to escape. The illustrates the guard as a survival position. By clamping on tight, taking advantage of your limb advantage (4 to their 2), and applying weight far from their hips (head and arm control) you can control their posture with relative ease. They are forced to expend lots of energy to escape.
The theme of breaking their posture continues once they forcibly push to escape. After restraining them from escaping for a couple of their attempts you can anticipate their next explosion. As they push themselves up, instead of resisting, allow them to lean back. Follow them up, controlling their arm (at the elbow) with your opposite side arm. Post up onto your other hand, and as they reach the apex of their ascent bridge your hips up to the ceiling and then over to the trapped side. If they do not resist this will sweep them over, and you will land in the mount.
If they resist by pushing back into you, grab their wrist with your hand that was formerly posting, and grab your own wrist in a ‘kimura’ or ‘figure-4’ grip. Fall with the force of their resistance into a kimura shoulder lock.
Ultimately, no matter what your goal is in the guard (survive, sweep, or submit) controlling your opponent’s posture is key.