Closed Guard Basics
Although every single Jiu Jitsu student learns how to use the closed guard as a white belt, many students begin to ignore this fundamental position as they progress through the ranks. The biggest concerns students express regarding the closed guard are that it is boring and ineffective at high levels. I tend to disagree because there are some very cool and advanced techniques one can effectively use, they just need to be practiced.
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The main reason we learn the closed guard early, and essentially the reason Jiu Jitsu was created, is for self-defense. Compared to other supine positions, the closed guard offers the safest bet in prevent strikes and damage, which none of us want. For that reason alone, we should all be masters of the closed guard.
If you find that your closed guard is not nearly as effective as other guards you like to use in Jiu Jitsu, its not because the closed guard sucks, but because you haven’t drilled it as much as necessary. If you spend the same amount of time in closed guard as you do in other positions, it could be just as good.
I shared this same sentiment regarding the closed guard early in my grappling career. It wasn’t until I became a decent blue belt and purple belt that I really started improving my closed guard, using effectively against equally ranked opponents.
In order to have a good closed guard, there are a few concepts students need to master. The first concept involves keeping people trapped in your closed guard. Keeping people locked in the guard is done by controlling their posture. As guard players, we always want our opponents leaning forward.
In the following video, legendary Shawn Williams illustrates this concept of posture control in great detail. See below:
We tend to focus on using our hands and arms to break down our opponents’ posture. Sometimes, using just the hands and the arms fail. That’s why it is important to learn how to use your legs for controlling your opponents’ posture. You want to get so good at this that your legs start behaving like arms.
John Danher is one of the few people to have athletes be successful at the highest levels in both Professional Grappling as well as MMA. He has systemized his approach to teaching,learning,and APPLYING his Jiu-Jitsu. Enter the System with John Danaher!