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Closed Guard for Self-Defense

Closed Guard for Self-Defense


Closed guard is one of the most important guards in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  It is one of the most versatile guards because of its effectiveness in nogi, gi, MMA, and self-defense.  Closed guard is extremely important when developing your bjj game.  It will allow you to set up a foundation of attacks and learn the mechanics of several sweeps and submissions. Check out our Article “The First Guard you learn, the last one you Master” for an intro to closed guard.

Today, we discuss the application of closed guard specifically for self-defense.  Why is closed guard so effective and important for self-defense?  Closed guard allows you to have control, sweep, and submit your opponent. 

Closed Guard, Self-Defense, and Control

The controlling abilities of closed guard are immeasurable.  Whether it is gi, nogi, MMA or self-defense, the closed guard is unbelievable for control.  Specifically for self-defense, closed guard is probably the best guard you can use.

If you find yourself in a self-defense altercation for whatever reason, there is a large chance that you will end up in closed guard.  Either your opponent rushes you, or you elected to utilize the closed guard, it is one of the safest positions for a one on one self-defense confrontation.  The closed guard is extremely effective against untrained people, assuming your using closed guard in self-defense; the chances that your assailant is trained are minimal.

Closed guard allows you to have an unbelievable sense of control.  You can create angles, and use your legs, hips, back, core, and arms to strategically control your opponent and inflict damage on them.  In a self-defense predicament it will be simple to control an untrained assailant. You can draw your knees to your chest as they punch and get over hooks to subdue them, you can also apply blows, work submissions and sweeps. Check out this video below showing you how to control an opponent in your closed guard in self-defense and MMA.

Closed Guard Sweeps for Self-Defense

In the unlikely event that you find yourself in a self-defense predicament with someone in your closed guard who is trying to attack you, your first objective should be to control them and avoid blows, and your second objective should be to sweep them.  In any self-defense situation, you should always follow the philosophy “position before submission.”  Obviously if a submission presents itself, take it.

That being said, if you have someone trying to attack you in your closed guard, they will most likely be untrained and you can apply basic sweeps.  The simplest sweeps are extremely effective in self-defense.  Some great options include scissor sweep, flower sweep, elevator sweep, hip bump sweep, and arm drag.  All of these are fundamental sweeps from closed guard and in a self-defense situation; they will be easy to apply as long as you remain calm.  To learn more on bjj for self-defense, check out our article “BJJ is one of, if not, the most effective martial arts for self-defense.” Also, check out this video on breaking down posture and attacking an arm bar or a sweep.

Closed Guard Submissions for Self-Defense

As we stated above, if you find yourself in a self-defense conflict with someone in your closed guard, you should first control them to avoid blows, than try to sweep.  In many self-defense conflicts tempers are flared and people may be difficult to sweep. 

Sometimes in an attempt to sweep an angry attacker, there will be submissions present. Some submissions that commonly occur in self-defense scenarios are the arm bar, triangle, kimura, and guillotine.  A basic closed guard is an extremely dangerous weapon in a fight.  Check out this not so common and super sneaky wrist lock from closed guard below.

If you have an interest in developing your bjj for self-defense or you would just like to learn more on self-defense, check out “Street Fighting Secrets by Chad Lyman” 4 DVD set.


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