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The First Guard You Learn, The Last Guard You Master

The First Guard You Learn, The Last Guard You Master


For the most part, closed guard is the first guard you learn in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and the last one you will master.  Everybody remembers their first bjj class, most of them include an introduction to what guard is by demonstrating closed guard, and some fundamentals of bjj. 

Closed guard is the first guard you learn, and the last one you master.  It may also be the most important position in Jiu Jitsu.  To create a well-rounded bjj game, developing a dangerous closed guard is a must.  It is also important to learn the closed guard to have confidence in your self-defense. In closed guard, you need to develop good control, good sweeps, and a good submission game.

Control from the Closed Guard

Learning how to control your opponent from the closed guard is vital for sport Jiu Jitsu and good self-defense.  Closed guard is one of, if not, the most popular guards in Jiu Jitsu and MMA.  One of the most important elements to having a good closed guard is learning how to control your opponent.

What do we mean by control?  You should be able to avoid punches for self-defense, and in sport Jiu Jitsu you want to limit the mobility of your opponents, arms, legs, hips, and break down their posture.  A good way to have good control in the closed guard is by having aggressive movement, check out our article “Developing a Default Aggressive Closed Guard” if you want to work aggression.

Controlling the sleeves is a good way to control your opponent from closed guard, if you want to check out a good way to control your opponent’s sleeves, check out this video from Marcelo Garcia Black Belt, Marcos Tinoco below.  Closed guard is one of the first guards you learn but you will never master it.

Closed Guard and Sweeps

Knowing good sweeps is also crucial to enhancing your closed guard.  It is also an important factor for being comfortable in a self-defense situation. A sweep is when you go from being on the bottom to being on the top.  There are hundreds of sweeps from closed guard.

To create a complex and high level closed guard, you need to learn different sweeps you can chain together.  A good closed guard does not stem from knowing thousands of sweeps, but rather, from being incredible at three sweeps.  To perform sweeps at the highest levels, you need to create actions and reactions, fake one sweep to ultimately succeed with another.  Check out this video on how to break posture and do an arm bar from closed guard below.

Closed Guard and Submissions

Submissions are extremely important to know when developing your closed guard.  The same principles we spoke about for sweeps apply to enhancing your submissions.  A dangerous closed guard does not stem from knowing a thousand submission entries, but perfecting four or five.

One of the most dominant submissions from closed guard is the cross choke, if you want to refine yours, check out our article on the “Cross Choke.”  There is a variety of submission attacks you can learn from closed guard.  To have a dangerous game build a chain of submissions that work for you.  If you want to see a good cross choke entry from closed guard, check out the video below.


Closed guard is going to be one of the first guards that you learn, and one of the last that you master.  There are so many sweeps, submissions, grip combinations, and options from the closed guard.  Learning closed guard will assist you in developing a strong foundation to build the rest of your bjj around.  If you want to learn some extremely high level attacks from the closed guard, check out 5x World Champion, Bernardo Faria’s 4 DVD set, “The Closed Guard.”


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