Advice for a Better Closed Guard
The closed guard is the first position, at least defensive position, new grapplers learn. For the naïve person, the closed guard looks like a very odd position to be in. It’s even more odd to find that people electively chose that position and try to attack people from it.
The closed guard, albeit less effective in high level competition compared to many other positions, is a staple place to fight from if one is on their back. The closed guard provides safety from strikes, which is invaluable in MMA and self-defense . Also, there are few to no effective submissions that a grappler can use against someone playing from closed guard.
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A common theme that occurs among advancing Jiu Jitsu practitioners is that they begin to ignore this vital position in favor of different guards such as half guard and butterfly guard, which are also great positions.
The most discussed reason for this is that it can be difficult to attack skilled grapplers from closed guard, which makes sense. It is not a deficiency in the closed guard, however, that makes it ineffective, but a deficiency in the person using it. If a skilled purple belt goes up against a black belt with a good closed guard, the purple belt will lose nine times out of ten.
If the difficulties of closed guard arise from a deficiency in the person using it, getting better at the position will lead to better efficacy of its use. In this article, I wanted to provide two pieces of advice that will improve your closed guard.
In order to have a good closed guard, you have to find ways to keep your opponent on the defensive. This is actually pretty easy as all you have to do is keep attacking.
Grapplers typically can’t defend closed guard attacks and try to pass at the same time. Your attacks don’t have to be strong either, as throwing on a light cross choke or even grabbing the pants can get your opponent anxious.
The next piece of advice is to learn how to use your entire body to maintain the closed guard and keep your opponents’ posture broken. So often I experience or see students trying to force people to stay in closed guard by only pulling their lapels. The best way to keep people in the closed guard, though, is by using the lower body and the hands just help.
Although these two pieces of advice are simple and easy to learn, getting good at them is a continuous effort but necessary. It doesn’t matter if you like closed guard, it is a fundamental position for self-defense and every Jiu Jitsu grappler must be competent in it.
If you like Gordon Ryan, check out his instructional from BJJ Fanatics, "Getting Swole As a Grappler". It gives you his exact program, tips, diet advice and more on how to achieved jackedness and be a complete bad ass on the mats. Or check another guide Next Generation Closed Guard by Mica Galvao or Next Generation Guard Passing.
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