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Taking The Back From The Closed Guard

Taking The Back From The Closed Guard


The closed guard has long been considered one of the best positions in bjj, MMA, and self-defense.  What makes the closed guard such a powerful weapon?  Well, it is a position where you can attack the back, sweep your opponent, submit them with various submissions such as arm locks, kimuras, triangle, and many more.  The closed guard is extremely dynamic.  There is so many possibilities from the closed guard.

We recently wrote an article on two of the best sweeps from closed guard check it out here, and if you are a more submission-oriented grappler, check out our article “Two Submissions You Need To Know From Closed Guard.”  Today, we are going to go into detail about how to take your opponent’s back from the closed guard. 

The closed guard can be one of the best positions to start attacking the back.  People do not realize how vulnerable their back is when they are in someone’s closed guard.  We are going to look at a back take from the closed guard with the great Gregor Gracie, then we will discuss it and break it down.  We will also talk about how you can take what Gregor shows us an apply it a multitude of different ways.  Without further ado, lets take a look.

Gregor Gracie Shows A Back Take From Closed Guard

Gregor Gracie is one of the most accomplished competitive grapplers on the planet.  He has faced the best of the best, some of the people he has faced even include Marcelo Garcia.  He is infamous for using the fundamentals of bjj at an extremely high level.  For example, he takes positions like the closed guard, half guard, knee cut, and other “basic” positions and makes them extremely advanced.  In the video we are going to look at below, Gregor is going to show us a back take from the closed guard, although this is something that we may have seen before, Gregor has a lot of high level details.  Watch the video below and then we will discuss it.

As you can see in the video above, Gregor gives a lot of key details that we need to address.  For example, one of the first things that he mentions is the way that he breaks the grip.  When Gregor is breaking the grip from the closed guard he makes sure that when he grabs the sleeve of the gi, he also touches his own palms together and uses them to peel the grip.  If you don’t touch your palms together it may be very difficult to break the grip.

After Gregor breaks this grip, he opens his elbow and has both his palms facing his opponent, he drags their arm across their body.  Gregor utilizes the grips and when he drags the arm across his body he uses his legs to break his opponent’s posture.  Gregor is working in conjunction.  He goes from one move and simultaneously does another.  It is imperative to draw your knees to your chest at the same time that you drag their arm.

Once Gregor has their grip broken, the arm dragged across, and their posture broken he will immediately hug the lat of his opponent.  He hugs the lat or the arm pit so that he is able to keep their arm isolated and across their body.  This grip makes it very difficult for them to draw their arm back and defend. 

Once the arm is across, the posture is broken, and the lat is hugged, you should be able to start taking the back.  Gregor has an interesting perspective on finishing the back take.  He will move away from his opponent by straightening his back and then he will come up to his knees and already have both hooks secured.  This is the finishing tactic to secure the back take from the closed guard.

This back take is amazing, and it is very high percentage.  You also have many other attacks that you can do if the back take is not working.  This is a great position to start transitioning to other moves.  Now that Gregor has shown us how to do this back take, let’s look at the concepts behind the attack.  For example, when you look at what is happening it is fairly simple.  You need to drag the arm across your opponent’s body and then hunt the back.

This concept of the arm drag can be utilized in several ways from the closed guard.  For example, you can use the 2 on 1 grip that Marcelo Garcia is famous for using to drag the arm, you can use the traditional Greco-Roman drag, or you can even use the collar to drag them.  All you need to think is drag the arm across the body and hunt their back.

Sometimes it is important to look at the details of a move and think conceptually.  You can take this much further, you can use the concept of a drag from so many positions.  For example, you can do drags from standing, half guard on bottom, butterfly guard, defensively as someone is passing and from many many other places. 

If you would like to learn more about Gregor Gracie’s closed guard in particular, check out his DVD “High Level Fundamentals” below where he goes into depth on all of his best attacks.  This DVD is also available as a digital download.   Also, check out our article where we discuss the ins and outs of closed guard, “Closed Guard, The Foundation of the Guard.” 


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