Closed Guard Armbar Against a Standing Opponent
Make Your Opponent Unsafe, Even When They Stand
The closed guard is both a safe and effective position for a bottom player to be in when grappling. It can be used to defend against strikes in self-defense situations or MMA and to attack a wide variety of strong submissions based on the top player’s movements. One of the hardest things to deal with when playing closed guard is when the opponent stands with strong posture. If passer stands up correctly, it can be difficult to sweep them using a double ankle sweep or tripod sweep. Because of this, it is vital to improve our ability to quickly attack submissions from this position.
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In order to stand in someone else’s closed guard, you need to place your hands on the torso to keep them planted into the ground. One of the most common positions to place your hands when standing is in the arm pits of the guard player. When someone stands in your guard in this manner, they are creating an ample amount of space under their own arm pits. We can make use of this space by climbing our guard high into the arm pits. This will create a high guard situation that makes it difficult for the passer to posture. From here, you will notice that the passer’s arms are extended without protection. This will allow us to attack a quick armbar. In the following video, Black Belt Mario Delgado shows us how to set up and finish such an armbar.
This is a submission I attack constantly when playing the closed guard. Sometimes, however, people will bury their elbows into their thighs when standing, preventing this submission. To counter this, as I notice opponents begin to stand in my guard, I will immediately grab both of their wrists and place them above my shoulders. This will force the top player to learn forward so heavily that by the time my legs are around for the armbar, it would be too late to defend. You can also attack a double armbar, AKA dead orchard, if you can force your opponent’s elbows together.