50-50 Guard Art of Jiujitsu
Has there ever been a more controversial guard than the 50/50 guard? When the guard first emerged at the highest levels on the IBJJF circuit, many people, including multiple world champions, decried it as being nothing more than a cheap stalling guard that results in no real progression of the position. Despite that, the 50/50 guard is still actively in use today on the competition scene, even though the IBJJF changed its rulebook in March 2015 so that no advantages are awarded for an ‘almost sweep’ from the 50/50 guard specifically. In today’s article, we will take a brief look at the history and development of the 50/50 guard and its use in the gi, no-gi and even MMA contexts.
While the 50/50 guard was first seen in BJJ as an incidental position, as in the case of Saulo Ribeiro vs. Roleta in 1997, its real development in the context of the gi was from the Mendes brothers, whose innovations in the De la Riva guard and leg drag have made those positions competition staples today. The Mendes brothers, particularly Rafael Mendes began to extensively use the 50/50 beginning in the late 2000s, particularly against the highest level opponents, and his matches against Cobrinha, the majority of which he has won, were usually won via sweeps and advantages from 50/50.