Opening The Closed Guard
Simple and Effective Closed Guard Passing...
The closed guard is one of the most fundamental defensive positions in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The numerous submissions, sweeps, and relative safety make it effective in competition, MMA, and self-defense. For the top player trapped in their opponent’s closed guard, the position is rather difficult because they must open the guard to pass while not getting swept or submitted. As skill level increases, it becomes very difficult to open the closed guard of bottom players because of the inherent nature of the position. If you are rolling with an experienced grappler, the old school way of pushing the knee down to open the guard will fail more often than it succeeds.
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One of the most popular ways of opening the closed guard grapplers learn is to begin by standing. This is dangerous if not performed correctly because it exposes them to various submissions and sweeps that are tough to defend. One skill I’ve learned over the years is that regardless of how I decide to open the guard, a large amount of pressure must be placed against the guard lock so as to entice the guard player to open. The pressure against the lock can be placed in numerous ways. Watch the following video in which Atos black belt JT Torres teaches a very detailed form of a standing guard break.
One detail JT mentions multiple times is the need to pinch the knees against the hips of the guard player. Not only does this prevent them from underhooking the leg and pulling, but also makes it difficult to attack submissions like the armbar, triangle, or omoplata. The pressure against the guard lock that I mentioned previously is done in this technique by pushing the bottom players torso away from their legs, making it difficult to maintain the lock.
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After standing in the guard, it is vital to keep the knees bent because if one stands straight up, they can be tripped by the double ankle sweep or hook sweep. Before squatting to open the guard, make sure to move your elbows to the inside of the thighs because if they are on the outside, the break will not be as effective. Finally, after the guard is open, do not allow the bottom player to set up any other guard and you should begin your pass immediately.