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Defending Submissions From Inside The Closed Guard 101

Defending Submissions From Inside The Closed Guard 101


Being inside someone’s closed guard is one of the worst places to be.  When we first start training bjj, this is one of the only guards that many people are familiar with and we find ourselves in the closed guard very often.  Many beginners fell comfortable in closed guard but the things is, if they encounter a high level closed guard, it can be one of the worst places to be.  The closed guard, in sport Jiu Jitsu, is one of the best positions.  The person on bottom who is playing closed guard is technically in a superior position.  He has hundreds of combinations of moves that he can use, submissions, sweeps, and more.  The person on top can only break open the legs.

Being in someone’s closed guard at a high level is a terrible place to be.  This is why we rarely see the closed guard at the highest levels, the best black belts are experts at avoiding the position. To get a high level black belt in closed guard is one of the most difficult things to do.  You have to be able to defend yourself when you’re in someone’s closed guard.  They have some many different attacks that they can do from the closed guard, especially if you are wearing a gi. 

You can get arm barred, they can do a kimura, triangle, cross choke, bow and arrow choke, arm triangle, and pretty much any submission.   They can also do so many different sweeps.  You want to be able to feel comfortable in someone’s closed guard, you want to know how to defend submissions and sweeps. 

Defending Submissions From Closed Guard

Defending submissions from closed guard is one of the most important skills that you can develop.  You want to feel comfortable in this position and be able to defend yourself against a wide array of attacks.  The closed guard is one of the best places to do submissions for the guy on bottom.  If you are stuck inside somebodies closed guard and you are not familiar with submissions defense, you are probably in a terrible place.

Being in somebodies closed guard can be one of the best places to learn submission defense because of all the possibilities of submissions.  People can do a number of submissions from closed guard that they can do from other positions.  For example, the arm bar and the triangle are some of the most popular submissions and you can do these positions from the closed guard and several other places.  If you learn how to defend yourself from them in the closed guard, then you will be able to defend yourself from the arm bar and the triangle in other positions. 

So how do we defend ourselves in closed guard?  Well, there are a few principles that you want to follow in order to make it very difficult to submit you.  One of the most important things that you can do in the closed guard is grip fight.  You want to know how to grip fight.  Whether it is in gi, no gi or even in MMA.  You never want to let your opponent freely grab things like your collar, sleeve, wrist, or head.  You always want to be aware and grip fighting with your opponent.  After you grip fight, the most important thing to remember is to get good posture.  Posture is what will nullify 90% of your opponent’s sweeps and submissions. 

Posture is an art, to be able to get good posture is very difficult, you have to find out how to hold proper posture, the reason is, of you don’t have posture, your opponent will begin to break you down and will be able to create angles and get submissions.  One of the best ways to nullify a lot of different submissions is by just standing up.  Standing in the closed guard will nullify almost 50% of their submissions.  It will make it much harder to do anything and get a lot of the submissions.  For example, if you stand in closed guard, they can no longer get a kimura, a guillotine, and many other submissions.  You also shut down many of their sweeps, it can be very difficult to sweep someone when they stand.  Check out this pass where Fabiano Scherner stands in the closed guard.

Defending Sweeps From The Closed Guard

Defending sweeps from the closed guard is another one of the most imperative things in bjj.  You don’t want to be in a match and get stuck in closed guard and then get swept at will.  To stop sweeps you want to do many of the same things that we discussed to stop submissions.  You want to have posture, grip fight, and if you can stand. 

If you want to learn more about how to defend yourself from the closed guard, check out 10x Masters World Champion, Fabiano Scherner’s DVD.  Fabiano has an amazing understanding of how to defend himself in the closed guard.  He is the coach of Chael Sonnen the famous UFC fighter who is infamous for his ground and pound from the closed guard!


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