Classic Closed Guard Attacks with Lachlan Giles
Closed guard attacks in the gi are some of the most traditional and classic techniques you can perform in BJJ. Perhaps one of the most recognized positions of our art is the closed guard. Its roots run deep, and its effectiveness is still just as prevalent as it was in the earliest days of jiu-jitsu. As practitioners of the gentle art, we all learn the utilities of the closed guard early. From a self-defense perspective, if you have to be on the bottom, the closed guard is where you want to be. When it comes to the sport of BJJ, being tangled in someone’s closed guard can be an awful experience. If they understand the mechanics and how to use the closed guard properly, it can feel like you’re being endlessly harassed from the position, and become quite frustrated.
Nowadays the closed guard is kept company by literally dozens of other variations of the guard. Its not the only go to in the arsenal anymore, but it’s still incredibly versatile and a number one choice of many top level BJJ athletes.
There are plenty of submissions to choose from in the closed guard. Two of the most classic, are the cross-collar choke and the arm bar. These two OG techniques also make a great pair. If you’re attacking one, the other may be very close by. Its important to understand the relationship between the cross-collar choke and the arm bar, as it is one of BJJ’s oldest surviving couples.
I’ve been taught both of these techniques by many teachers over the course of my study of BJJ. Each variation is unique in its own way, but also similar in many ways as well. In this video, Lachlan Giles demonstrates how he chooses to employ these two techniques as a team. He’s got a great approach that I think you might be interested in checking out. Have a look at this video!
We can never really discuss anything from the closed guard without the mention of posture. Of course, when were in a passing position, the idea is to keep our posture solid. Conversely when on the bottom, were quite often trying to steal our partners posture to aid the process of attacking. Here, Giles does just that with a very common, entry level method of breaking the top players posture.
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To bring his partner closer, Giles simply swims his hand to the inside of his partner’s arms and shoots them upward, while simultaneously bringing his partner forward with his hips and knees. Once his partner is close, Giles holds them tight, until he’s able to sneak his first hand in to the collar. In this case its his right hand, with his palm facing up. He inserts the hand in to his partners right side lapel, and lets it travel deep in to the collar to the back of the neck.
With his forearm blade glued firmly to his partners neck, and the grip in place, Giles now begins the important task of hiding his elbow. He puts his elbow down tight to his body to prevent the passer from getting in to the path way of the choke and dismasting his efforts so far.
This next bit of info is quite relevant, as you have probably had the same experiences if you’ve ever been taught or tried to implement the cross choke in the manner that Giles describes. Giles references the entry of the bottom hand in to the collar underneath the first hand. This is how I was taught at first as well, and I can tell you, I’m not sure If I’ve ever been successful with this method, as it is fairly easy to see coming and pretty difficult to pull off. So, here’s what Giles suggests instead.
To further control his partner’s posture, Giles takes another grip over the head on the opposite side. He grabs a bit of material and uses it to clamp down, holding his partner in place.
This next bit of information is definitely key. Giles next cuts and angle (think arm bar) and applies a top lock, or high guard type configuration of the legs, with his left leg over the shoulder. This looks to be incredibly restricting. This top lock is yet another fantastic tool to maintain the broken posture Giles has already achieved.
His partner must make a choice here. HE can either begin to posture up and fight for a more vertical orientation of his spine, which leads to the arm bar, or he can continue to drive forward, in which case he may find himself running head first in to the cross choke.
To finish he cross choke, Giles swings his left ar over the head and digs it underneath his partners chin. He then pulls in with his knees and begins to flare his elbows for s strong finish.
For the arm bar option, as Giles quickly stated before, your partner may choose to retreat a bit, instead of coming forward. IN this case, Giles transitions his forearm to the other side of the head, and pushes his partner’s head through his legs. He swings his left leg over the head to complete the transition to the arm bar set up.
A quick word here on something we always hear with the arm bar. “Don’t cross your feet”! Giles addressed why we may hear this phrase so often. A common misconception is that crossing the feet may help us hold the arm in place. But actually, this configuration of the legs can offer the wrong kind of pressure to complete the submission. When we don’t cross our feet, we tend to bite down with our heels, holding the body in place and making it incredibly difficult for the arm to come free. This type of pressure can be applied with the feet crossed, but we must be cognizant of what type of pressure is needed here to make the armbar stick.
With his partners arm secure, Giles can now move his focus down to the wrist with both of his hands, making sure that his partners thumb is pointing upward to get the best possible chance of breaking the limb.
This sequence is a must know for beginners, and something we should all have in the BJJ toolbox for our closed guard attacking endeavors. I learned a lot from the video about proper positioning and how to maintain broken posture. I hope you got something out it as well! Good luck!
Lachlan Giles is one of the BEST teachers around. His YouTube channel has helped grapplers across the globe. The Guard Passing Anthology: Half Guard By Lachlan Giles is easily one of the best resources available ANYWHERE. Giles has world class technique matched with UNPARALLELED teaching ability!
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