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The Potent but Often Neglected Closed Guard



With the development of many “new” guards, there has been a lack of emphasis on the most basic and fundamental guard in recent years: the closed guard. This kind of guard can be used in self defense to manage distance and control an assailant. It can also be used in competition to frustrate and ultimately submit even a game opponent. What is it about closed guard that makes it so effective?

I personally think of the closed guard as a more versatile form of mount. The reason for this is that I have a greater range of options behind my opponent, and can more easily take the back from guard than from mount. In fact, this kind of guard is such an effective position that when mount fails me, I will sometimes deliberately allow my opponent to overturn me right into my guard, out of the frying pan and into the fire.

The closed guard works the way it does because of the control it allows the guardeiro to exercise over the opponent’s hips. In jiu jitsu, all defense and offense is based on hip mobility and freedom to move one’s hips. Take that mobility and freedom away and suddenly a person is a sitting duck, ripe for submissions.

There are of course ways to pass any guard, including closed, but if you’ve ever rolled with someone who really plays this guard very well, you know that it’s not a simple matter.

If you want to improve your closed guard, check out this awesome DVD set by Bernardo Faria in which he covers his competition tested methods of utilizing the closed guard.


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