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#1 CompNet 2022 Athlete Releases Instructional to GB Online

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

Prof Ian Cardoso Nai Guard System

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of Jiu-Jitsu for many students is developing their guard game. A guard game that allows them not to get passed when defending from their back is adaptable to different situations and has a variety of sweeps, chokes, and joint locks to defeat their opponents. Professor Ian Cardoso thinks that his Nai Guard system might be the guard for you.


Professor Ian Cardoso is the GB CompNet Global’s 2022 Champion and has released his instructional on GB Online - The Nai Guard - which was instrumental in his successful competition year.


Starting in Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu

Back in 2012, at 14 in Bahia (a northern state in Brazil). Like many Brazilian youths, Professor Ian started his athletic career playing soccer but switched to Jiu-Jitsu.


I stopped playing soccer because I was often injured and didn't feel any talent to be exploited,” says Professor Ian.


Influenced by a school friend, Professor Ian started at a Gracie Barra school in Coaraci-BA under Professor Marcus Fagundes. Young Ian immediately took to his new sport and, soon after, entered his first Jiu-Jitsu competition.

That's when I fell in love with jiu-jitsu, I trained every day, and when I didn't have training at that school, I went to neighboring cities with my teacher. After three months of training, I participated in my first competition. Since then, whenever I’ve had the opportunity, I fought in the category of White Juvenile.

After several months of competing in the juvenile division, Professor Ian started fighting in the Adult category. He progressed rapidly due to his commitment to training and, after only a year and a half, was promoted to blue belt.

Soon after, I returned to live in Rio de Janeiro. I trained for a few months at Pitbull until I opened Gracie Barra Teresópolis-RJ with Professor Gustavo Aragão, also known as Mestre Araga. Professor Ian trained with Professor Aragão until he achieved the 3rd degree at brown belt. Then I was with World Champion Felipe “Preguiça” Pena in Minas Gerais until I arrived at Headquarters Floripa with Master Carlos Gracie Jr.

Professor Ian currently trains at GB Floripa under Master Carlos.

Professor Ian won his Black Belt category in the 2022 GB CompNet Global.

Professor Ian says,

It was quite a year of many achievements on and off the mats. I got my black belt with Mestre Carlinhos in 2022.

I fought in all competitions in the region, winning the podium in the category and Absolute division in all of them. Consequently, to my surprise, I ended up being the champion of the Adult Black Belt ranking due to my performance.

Professor Ian participated in several other major Jiu-Jistu competitions, At the time of this interview, Professor Ian had just returned from France after participating in the IBJJF European Championship in Paris.

He lost in the quarterfinals; however, with only eight months of experience with a black belt, Professor Ian feels encouraged that he is competitive with the other top-level competitors with far more experience.


I am sure that this year, everything indicates that it will be even better! ” says Professor Ian.

Professor Ian competes in the Light Heavyweight - up to 88.3 kg - division. Professor Ian feels this is his ideal weight category as it is close to his natural, walking-around weight. He doesn’t need to cut significant weight to make 88.3 kg. ”I currently need to lose only 1 to 2kg to fight in (Light Heavyweight), I feel very calm.” says Professor Ian.


2022 GB CompNet highlights

GB asked Professor Ian what was the most memorable win/match of his 2022 GB CompNet competition year.

“There were so many very good fights, even fights with reference to the sport, so it's even hard to say just one,” says Professor Ian, “Inside the CompNet were the two Absolute finals with a great friend of mine, Professor Carlos Jorge, where everyone at the event stopped to watch our fight. He was crowned champion in one division and I in another. We trained together for a long time in GB Teresópolis-RJ, and having to face each other in competitions ended up being memorable. The most important of all is that friendship and respect continue.”


The Nai Guard

Professor Ian is a specialist in the Nai Guard - a closed guard (he opens the closed guard for the attacks) based on a 2-on-1 grip. A cross-sleeve grip and same-side triceps grip. Based on this initial grip, Professor Ian strings together several attacks depending on the opponent’s defensive reactions. He has developed the Nai Guard system around linking the techniques together.


It's called Nai Guard. Nai guard is very efficient and was even approved by Professor Victor Estima when I showed them the position in a seminar in Portugal. I and some colleagues and students use it very well and especially when the opponent is the one who passes with his knees on the ground.

How did the Nai Guard get its name?

Professor Ian offers a simple explanation for the origin of the name, “I had never seen this guard either, That is, I started to make and study its variations, and after much feedback, I named it Nai = inverted Ian.” Newer GB students will be pleased to know that the Nai Guard is not only for more advanced belts.

The Nai Guard does not have a belt level required to do,” explains Professor Ian, “However, it was developed and thought of in the White and Blue Belt because in this initial phase, having an efficient guard is not an easy task, The efficiency and practicality of the Nai Guard facilitate this process of a student in the initial phase to have a good guard,

Professor Ian explains, “This position is something unique and, above all, basic. I don't think anyone has seen so many variations of a single footprint..."

The Roots of the Nai Guard

Early success with some of the concepts of the Nai Guard inspired Professor Ian to realize that he was on to something that could benefit his guard game.

I was already doing some similar movements, and I started to give more emphasis when I realized that my opponents were very uncomfortable,” says Professor Ian, “I was calm in the position, putting my opponent in danger all the time. From that moment on, I started to focus on the possibilities, and from there came several variations.

One of the characteristics of advanced Jiu-Jitsu is the process of the individual discovering through trial and error what works best in their game, delving deep into the position, and developing a system around that specific position.

Inspiration from one of the GOAT's - Roger Gracie

Professor Ian points to all-time Jiu-Jitsu great Roger Gracie - known particularly for his effective game centered on basic techniques.

Roger Gracie used to do a movement very similar to the closed guard, which I also really liked to do,” says Professor Ian, “I think along with a need when my opponents didn't give much space to do other guards, this was a stepping stone to develop the Nai Guard.”



The Nai guard in Jiu-Jitsu competition

Professor Ian shares his philosophy on using the Nai Guard under the bright lights of the competition stage.

The fighter within a competition will seek to be as efficient as possible to put his opponent at risk and discomfort,” says Professor Ian, “Knowing that when you have a position/game, in which you trust your efficiency, knowing all the possibilities of your opponent's reaction and with an attack for each reaction, this puts the fighter in the competitive scenario to the advantage of those who don't have a game that he trusts. A well-defined game.

Professor Ian believes that it is essential for a competitor to have a solid understanding of their best positions going into an intense tournament match. The fast pace and adrenaline of the match leave little room for indecisiveness or finding yourself in a position for which you don’t have a solution for your opponent's attacks.


What makes your approach to the Nai Guard different/unique?

Professor Ian sees several important keys to his Nai Guard system,

* Basic application

* Efficiency

* Comfortable for those who do it, uncomfortable for those who receive it.

* It’s a guard style for all ages

* A system of variations and connections between techniques

The strength of the Nai Guard is the physical and mental comfort of using the guard to deal with the opponent’s strong, passing pressure, affording the guard player to be more energy efficient than the opponent. Once the Jiu-Jitsu student is confident in their ability to defend and retain the guard, they can start looking to one of the many offensive attack combinations from the Nai Guard.

Professor Ian’s advice on using the Nai Guard

Professor Ian has some advice for GB students exploring his Nai Guard system.

“For this and any other position, my advice to be able to use it in training and especially in competitions is:”

1- Trust the Position.

2- Practice and repeat.

3- Apply and persist.

“Hardly anyone can't be good with these three pillars,” says Professor Ian.

Be sure to check out Professor Ian’s available instructional on GB Online.



Blog Written by Mark Mullen, a Gracie Barra Black Belt




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