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Closed Guard Opener by Lachlan Giles
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Closed Guard Opener by Lachlan Giles

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If you recall back to you when you were just getting started in Jiu Jitsu, you’ll remember being taught to open the closed guard by posturing, putting one hand on your opponent and pushing their guard open with your other hand. Sure, this guard opener might work against white belts, but when you go up against a ranked opponent, this guard pass fails very easily.

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The difficulties of opening the closed guard is only accentuated without the gi. In no-gi, we don’t have the luxury of the grips we can utilize in the gi. This makes it difficult to remain postured as we try to force our opponent’s guard open. This lead me to conclude that the best way to open the guard, especially no-gi, is by standing up. We are, however, exposed to other dangerous when standing such as double ankle and tripod sweeps, so its vital to learn how to defend those too.

One of the most popular techniques for opening the closed guard from a standing position is one called the log splitter. I would argue that this is probably the safest and most effective technique for opening the closed guard. It works well, but it also prevents the guard player from using the sweeps discussed above.

In the following video, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt Lachlan Giles teaches the logsplitter technique in great detail. See below:

In order to continuously maintain the closed guard, the guard player has to forcefully use various grips that work simultaneously to break the top player’s posture. Hence, it is absolutely necessary to prevent the guard player from acquiring these grips. Without the gi, this is simple, as all the top player has to do is find ways to minimize the guard player’s arm movement.

There are a lot of great, effective ways to block the guard player’s arms. The most common method taught is blocking the biceps by cupping them. Another method, which I prefer greatly, is using V-grips in the armpits and pushing forward.

This technique is a test in balance and standing stability. We often overestimate how balanced we are when we stand, especially against the closed guard, but this can be rather dangerous. In order to become skilled at standing guard breaks, it’s important to drill it against an opponent that gives you some resistance so as to develop that balance.

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