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Don't Forget Self-Defense, Master The Closed Guard

Don't Forget Self-Defense, Master The Closed Guard


These days, more and more we see people who are training bjj and neglecting self-defense.  There is nothing wrong with that, to each his own.  The problem lies in the fact that people may develop a false sense of security.  Self-defense is a whole other ball game and if it ever comes time to use your kits in the street, you want to be ready.  It's quite simple to use bjj in a fight, but some people don't work on the fundamental elements of self-defense bjj. 

The best guard in the world for self-defense is going to be the closed guard.  The closed guard has proven its effectiveness time and time again in street altercations.  This is one of the most important guards to learn if you are going to be an MMA fighter and if you just want to practice self-defense.  An easy way to find out what works in the street is to have a good training partner where boxing gloves or MMA gloves and spar with strikes.  Obviously don't knock each others heads off, but look into what works and doesn't. 

Why is closed guard so good for self-defense?  Well, many times you get into an altercation it can be unwanted and unexpected, maybe you get cheap shotted or someone takes you down and you end up on your back.  Closed guard will allow you to have all of the control that you need to handle this situation.  From the closed guard you can control the distance, control their posture, apply strikes and submissions.  It is an easy guard to utilize and most people in the street are not trained. 

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.

The most important thing about the closed guard is being able to control your opponents posture.  If you control their posture in a self-defense confrontation it will make it very difficult for them to be able to strike you.  Posture is everything when we are talking about punches kicks and elbow.   Check out this video with 10th Planet black belt Brandon McCaghren below on a cool submission from closed guard. 


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. 

You could not imagine how easy it can be to sweep someone who does not have a concept of base.  If you are in a self-defense situation you need to use sweeps that also offer you control and safety.  When strikes are available you want to keep that in mind and choose sweeps that work. 

If you want to learn an effective guard for self-defense, perhaps the best self-defense guard is going to be the rubber guard. 

Many of us are familiar with the rubber guard and its origin.  The famous position is a staple in the 10th planet system that was created by the infamous Eddie Bravo.  The 10th planet system has evolved along with the Jiu Jitsu world but one thing that can be said about it is the fact that they have excellent techniques for self-defense. 

The rubber guard was created by the Jiu Jitsu mastermind, Eddie Bravo as a method of controlling your opponent off of your back so that you could stay safe in an MMA fight or in Self-Defense.  Eddie was a bjj nerd like many of us and was dissecting all of the things that he saw in the early MMA days from guys like Rickson, Renzo, Royce, and other legends.  He took it upon himself to ditch the gi and create a system of attacks that worked in no gi.  This would eventually lead to the development of the rubber guard.  

So as you can see, self-defense can be very different from our traditional sport bjj that we are all learning these days and it is important to be able to differentiate the two and know what works where.  Hopefully you won’t be trying to berimbolo the guy who mugs you.  If you just stick to the old school stuff that works you will be able to have a very solid foundation of self-defense.  Although rubber guard may seem like a new school thing that is fancy or over used, it is actually pretty old school.  Eddie Bravo is a pioneer for bjj and has been around the sport for 20 years or so.  IF you were thinking that you were safe with your worm De La Riva Lasso Lapelo plata guard, have a good laugh and watch the video below.  That said, we don’t want to come off like we are haters on sport bjj AT ALL. 

We are all for sport bjj and if that is all you want to practice, by all means, please do! In the end of the day, bjj is all about having fun.  If you are having fun training and ding 50/50 all day everyday, then keep doing it.  People are to quick to give their opinions on things these days and they forget to realize that everyone is different.  The simple argument for those that are obsessive over self-defense is this, how often do you use your bjj In the street vs how often do you roll and get beat up by the competitors?   That’s all you have to say and you will realize, you are fighting those killers in your gym more than those city slicks.  Nevertheless, self-defense is important too!

So if we have intrigued you to learn some of the rubber guard, it is your lucky day.  Brandon McCaghren is a 10th planet black belt and rubber guard expert, check out his new DVD and online video series. This 10th Planet instructor and owner has taken the rubber guard and studied it relentlessly for years, finding and refining new attacks and entries, and he is here to share those details with you. As you are going step-by-step through the techniques, also learn how they connect, when each move is most effective, and every strategy that makes this system so effective.


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