How to Become Impossible to Hold in Closed Guard
Whether you are a beginner or an advanced Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner, one of the most frustrating spots to find yourself stuck is in a good closed guard. We all have faced those training partners and opponents with the endless Keenan Cornelius-like legs who wrap us around the waste like a giant anaconda squeezing the air and life out of us. In addition to the aforementioned vice like grips, there are also the spider monkey style closed guard players who seem to endlessly attack your ability to posture and use their hips to climb all over you.
There are some very simple fundamental techniques that you need to make second nature if you are a beginner and definitely need to be reminded of if you are a higher belt getting stuck in a soul crushing closed guard. In competition, even though you are fending off submissions in closed guard, you are wasting precious seconds and minutes and wasting energy that you may need to pass or perhaps reverse your opponent to score important points.
For more info on how to become an expert guard passer, you will also want to check out the article from BJJ Fanatics that will give you everything you need here.
In the video below some very common mistakes are shared that will greatly help you become that person who is impossible to be held in closed guard.
Turn the Elbows In
Jiu jitsu is full of 'ah ha' moments and this is one of them. It is so simple to watch a technique and mimic the hand or body placement and not truly see the subtle, tiny adjustments that a black belt might make that you may never think of. Simply turning your elbows in can nearly double the strength of your foundation here without requiring any unnecessary strength on your part. Please DO NOT be the partner who grinds their elbow into your training partners thighs. Though this make things very uncomfortable for them and make open the guard, it will also open you up to be grabbed by the elbows and having your posture broken. And don't forget, grinding your elbows will anger them and possibly lead to a little payback down the road.
Staple the Hips
Once you've built a strong base with your arm placement, it's important to think about stapling their hips to the ground making them immovable. By securing a strong grip on the lapels or placing the hand just below the sternum in No Gi and securing their hip/pelvis area with your other hand, you will ensure that those spider monkey style guard players aren't going to hip out and adjust, thwarting your escape.
Don't Rock Forward
Once they can't break your posture and their hips are immobilized, it's time to ship your knee to allow you to turn your body slightly which elongates the body and puts more pressure on their feet and ankles to maintain a strong guard. Even the most Keenan-esque partner with legs for days will struggle to hold you when you turn properly. It's key to not allow your head and chest to come forward across their belt line. This makes you susceptible to be pulled in.
Turn the Body and Push Away
All of the work is done and it's now time for the icing on this guard break. Simply maintain your control with your arms and push your butt away from the opponent. From there you can bring one of your knees up into the space and begin launching your guard passes or work your way to your feet for a standing pass.
Since we've been focusing on getting out of the closed guard in this article, you may want to work on being well-rounded and learn the closed guard secrets of world champion Bernardo Faria with his 4 DVD Series "The Closed Guard" available here for only $77. Become the training partner and opponent who's closed guard they fear just like quicksand!