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Open and Pass The Closed Guard In 3 Easy Steps
Open The Closed Guard In 3 Simple And Easy To Learn Steps!
If there is one position that you will use your entire Brazilian Jiu Jitsu career, whether as a student in a live roll, or as a competitor, it is definitely closed guard. If you are new to BJJ the first fundamental concept you are often taught is the closed guard. The closed guard is the basic principle for grappling. If you are not familiar with closed guard it is very simple. Picture yourself lying face up on your back, with an opponent in between your legs. You have your legs wrapped around your opponent and your feet crossed behind his back. This is essentially what the closed guard is. Now, you might think this is stupid simple, and that anyone can now just say they know how to do jiu jitsu because they know what the closed guard is. But the honest truth is, many high level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu players spend years, if not decades working towards having an effective closed guard!
There is an art to passing... against a good guard player, your art of passing needs to be museum worthy. One of the best passing "systems" is the over under series by Bernardo Faria. He uses this series on ALL guard, ALL players, and smashes them all.
There are many details that go into have a closed guard. First of all, you are weak when you are defending with your back flat on the mat. Often times you are looking to improve your situation by getting up on your side. Secondly, your hips are crucially important in the closed guard. Often times you will see a BJJ novice with a sh*tty closed guard that is easy to pass. Why is this? They are lazy with their hips! Having your hips flat on the mat is just as bad as having your back flat on the mat. You are powerless if you are not using your hips to control your training partner’s waist and posture. Next, you have your legs and feet, which are used to pressure and squeeze your training partner, making it uncomfortable, and often times unbearable of a position. It is also an essential part of breaking down your opponent’s posture, and pulling them into your closed guard so you can tighten around them, and even avoid punches in a real life street fight scenario. Finally, you have your grips, which need to be strong and used to control your opponent’s arms. Against this can be good if you are defending yourself from punches in a mixed martial arts scenario.
So with all the detail that goes into closed guard, shouldn’t there be a lot of detail that goes into opening the closed guard? Actually, there is! Guard opening and passing goes hand in hand with having an effective guard. When you train closed guard, you are inevitably training how to open and pass closed guard. This should be fairly straight forward, but it is an often over looked concept.
Believe it or not, opening a closed guard can actually be a lot more simple than you might think. Today we are going to look at 3 simple and easy to learn steps when it comes to opening a BJJ player’s closed guard. In the video below we will explore a great way to open the closed guard. There are many different techniques for doing so, but this one is very easy for anyone to learn, even someone who is knew to grappling, or is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu white belt. So, watch the video below first to see the technique performed along with the break down of the instructions. Then what we will do is further break down the technique into crucial details which are important to be aware of. Check out the video below now!
Opening the closed guard can be broken down into these three simple, easy to learn steps.
Step 1: Grab both of your training partner’s gi lapels with one hand. This allows you to control his body with one hand and keeps your other hand free to grip elsewhere. With your other free hand grab your training partner’s gi sleeve. This is your primary top closed guard gripping position. And while there are many different ways you can grip your opponent to set yourself up for opening the guard, this one is one of the easiest and most effective grips to do.
Step 2: Step up with your first leg on the same side as the sleeve you are controlling. Once you have stepped up with this leg you should now step with the other leg towards the same direction of your first leg. Now you want to stand up straight. There are several details here that are often overlooked but very important to remember. First, you want to step up with one leg at a time. Do not try to jump up to both of your feet at the same time. The reason for this is because it keeps your base strong while you are transitioning. Secondly, make sure you are standing up straight. Some Brazilian Jiu Jitsu players even look up towards the ceiling to assure their posture is good. If you do not have good posture in the standing position you open yourself up for an easy sweep by your training partner which is not good for you.
Step 3: Now it is finally time for you to open your opponent’s closed guard. To do this you want to tilt your body towards the side in which you still have your sleeve grip. Next you want to fully extend your free arm and place your hand on the knee. From here use all the weight of your body to push your opponent’s knee down all the way to the mat. Congratulations you have opened your opponent’s guard! But do not stop there. You want to establish dominant control. To do this, pin your training partner’s leg with your leg. Sometimes this is referred to as “stapling” the leg with your leg. Finally, open your training partner’s other knee and maintain the elevated leg.
From here you open up many options to dominate and submit your opponent. There is a whole world of leg locks you could go into. Or you could pass the leg and get into top side control where you can now start grinding away at your opponent, taking the air out of his lungs, and making it uncomfortable as you smash pass and knee on belly your way towards a brutal submission.
What I like the most about this closed guard pass is that is shows how simple it is to render an effective closed guard simply by standing up. Keep in mind that there is usually a grip and posture fight that goes on while you get to your feet. The guy on bottom is likely going to try and control your arms with grips of his own. And he is going to use his legs to try and pull you down into him, breaking your posture down and expose you to a sweep or submission. So keep in mind it will probably take some time to get up to your feet. So go slow, establish your grips and keep a strong base. The more methodical you are with this technique the more effective it will be. Now get out there and train some closed guard passing!