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Ditch The Fear Of Standing In Your Opponent’s Closed Guard

Ditch The Fear Of Standing In Your Opponent’s Closed Guard


The closed guard can be one of the most difficult positions to pass.  As beginners, many people are exposed to the closed guard early on in their career.  The closed guard is a position that even mainstream MMA fans are familiar with.  This is because of the popularity of this position in the UFC and MMA.  The closed guard has long been extremely effective in both MMA, self-defense, and sport bjj.

We have seen the closed guard utilized at the highest levels of both gi and no gi.  So many people are scared to stand when they get into their opponents closed guard.  This is due to the fact that they believe they are more susceptible to sweeps and submission when they stand.  It is also because many people assume that if they stand in the closed guard, their opponent may have the opportunity to set up complex open guards. 

The truth of the matter is that standing in the closed guard is an extremely effective way of breaking open the legs of your opponent and beginning the pass.  Although the traditional method of passing on the knees is also extremely effective, some people may fare better with standing.  At high level competition, people consider getting into the closed guard an offensive position.  Meaning, that the person on bottom has the advantage.

Standing In The Closed Guard To Break Open The Legs

Standing in the closed guard to break open the legs is a great way to open the guard.  Although there is a chance that you may get swept, this is still a proven method.  There are so many ways to stand in your opponent’s closed guard.  There is no recipe or one-way method, everyone has a different perspective on how to stand in the closed guard. 

Contrary to popular belief, there are many high level bjj practitioners that will stand in the closed guard, break open the legs, and then go back to their knees to pass the guard.  Sometimes when you stand in the closed guard you may be open to the dreaded double ankle sweep.  This is a sweep that many of us learn on our first few days of bjj and it works.  There are ways to stand staggered so that you can avoid this sweep.  Check out this method of breaking the closed guard from standing with the legend, Marcelo Garcia and see how he stand staggered.

As you can see above, Marcelo does not keep his feet in a straight line, therefore, avoiding the simple double ankle sweep.  He maintains control of his opponent’s upper body by placing his hand on their biceps and leaning all of his wait forward.  This bicep control makes it very difficult for them to start creating angles, under hooking legs, and go for submission.  If you want to substitute this bicep grip with something in the gi, you can use the lapels. 

Marcelo continues to go for the knee slide right after he breaks open the legs.  This simple sequence of breaking open the closed guard is how Marcelo has passed very high-level guys in the ADCC.  This works well for gi, no gi, and even in MMA.  Let’s look at another method of breaking open the closed guard with 10x Masters World Champ, Fabiano Scherner.  Fabiano is an old school gangster and he like to pass on his knees.  Although he loves passing on his knee’s there are times that he will stand in the closed guard to break the legs and then go back to his knees.  Have a look below..

Notice how Fabiano also stands staggered and avoids any sweeps.  He stands and then will go back to combat base and force his knee inside of his opponent’s guard, now it is very difficult for them to maintain the closed guard.  With this knee in their guard, Fabiano will begin to do the knee slide much like Marcelo.  He uses the sleeve control and forces himself to side control.  This method of opening the guard is a little bit more methodical and less athletic then MG’s. 

If you want to learn more about Fabiano’s patient and crushing game, check out his DVD below.  This is also available on demand.  It is one of our best-sellers because Fabiano has a game that anybody of any age, height, weight, skill level, and body type can easily implement. 


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