2023 Pan Jiu Jitsu IBJJF Championship

"Samurai" Takeshiro Tanino's Guard Play Exemplifies The Atos Style

"Samurai" Takeshiro Tanino's Guard Play Exemplifies The Atos Style

Purple belt Tanino utilizes a specific guard and sweeping style that's been developed for years in the Atos training room. He'll be a force at IBJJF Pans.

Mar 15, 2023 by Matthew Gioia

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Atos Jiu-Jitsu has been at the epicenter of the jiu-jitsu world for more than a decade. Andre Galvao’s academy has been the nurturing ground for a plethora of World Champions across various rulesets. Atos athletes have swarmed the top of podiums at most major events for the last five years, including IBJJF and ADCC.

Given the remarkable diversity present within the sport, Galvao’s ability to produce champion after champion, year after year, is a momentous achievement. Ever a student of the game, Galvao has honed a guard system that is used by almost every Atos athlete at every belt level, regardless of weight class.

The guard most utilized by Atos athletes is based on control of the top player’s pants in order to neutralize their mobility, and then come up for either a single or double leg takedown with grips allowing for immediate attack when arriving on top. This strategy must have been heavily inspired by the inimitable Leandro Lo, as Galvao himself has felt the immense power this strategy wields. 

Like Lo, Atos representatives typically favor single leg-x guard as the primary position from which to employ this tactic as they are directly underneath their opponent, enabling them to control their opponent’s center of gravity. After the bottom player establishes pant grips, the athlete on top must strip the grips to regain mobility, otherwise they are vulnerable to explosive attacks like the ones shown by Andy Murasaki.

While many of Atos’ top representatives from Andy Murasaki to Kaynan Duarte have routinely implemented this strategy in the gi, perhaps none demonstrate it more consistently than purple belt phenom Takeshiro Tanino Kauan otherwise known as “Samurai.”

Samurai’s initial setup starts with the false De La Riva Guard, where instead of placing  a proper De La Riva hook, he pinches his opponent’s calf with his own. This position allows him to transition seamlessly from the initial off-balance into an attack that lets him to stand up off the bottom. Pairing this position with the most basic of techniques - the technical stand up -  can produce exemplary results.

If Samurai’s opponent remains upright after the initial technical standup, his grips on the pants and collar on give him a great off-balancing opportunity to spam various attacks on an opponent with broken posture on one leg..

Samurai pairs this shrewd tactic with an equally deft single leg-x guard. If he does not have complete control of his opponent’s posture via a strong grip on the collar, Samurai will often transition to single leg-x and get beneath his opponent. While this will give him some control over his opponent’s balance, Samurai will then look to control the opposite side of his opponent’s legs, typically around the knee line. From this position, his opponent’s mobility is neutralized. Opponents may counter with a longstep, but Samurai’s inside position defeats the longstep, turning it into a sweep.

While Samuari prefers to start in the false De La Riva guard, he has also shown no hesitancy in pulling directly to Single Leg X. If his opponent’s base is narrower , he will employ the double ankle sweep with both hands gripping the pants as opposed to the ankles themselves. This allows Samurai to start attacking with outside passes immediately off of the sweep, or keep his opponents close in case  they are able to break free and get to their feet, where Samurai can employ a more traditional single leg takedown. 

The Atos style guard is a simple, yet extremely effective method of attacking off the bottom. It effectively neutralizes the top player’s mobility and allows the guard player to seamlessly transition to takedowns and finishers. It allows them to seize momentum and to continually press the attack, forcing their opponents to engage in a losing battle. Takeshiro Tanino is a prime example of how this strategy is applicable across all belts, weight classes, and ages. Samurai’s adoption of this technique demonstrates why Atos has been so dominant over the better part of a decade, and why the team will remain a threat for years to come.