The Principles of Developing a Dangerous Closed Guard
The closed guard has long been considered the most important guard. In these days the popularity of the closed guard has dwindles and not as many people are using it. The closed guard has long been infamous for its efficiency. You can use the closed guard in self-defense scenarios, mixed martial arts and in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This is because the position is so versatile. It is not like a grip dependent guard with the gi like worm guard or something.
This versatility is amazing because it will allow you to train in the gi, no gi, and in every scenario. There are moves that you can do with the gi from closed guard, you can develop a very grip dependent game from the closed guard, but it is wise to learn things that you can use from everywhere, that is one of the tricks to developing a dangerous closed guard.
Today, we are going to talk about some of the principles necessary to develop a versatile and dangerous closed guard. Some of the things that you need to know to have a dangerous closed guard are often overlooked. The first thing you must understand is hand fighting, after that it is breaking posture, and the last simple principle is about creating angles. If you understand how to hand fight, how to break posture and how to create angles, you are going to be in a good position to develop a high level closed guard.
Hand Fighting in the Closed Guard
Hand fighting is one of the most important things in every aspect of bjj, passing, playing guard, standing, and submissions. You always must hand fight first and foremost because everything starts with the grips. Grips are imperative and when we are discussing the closed guard, they are particularly important.
The fights start with grips, if you don’t have grips on your opponent and they don’t have grips on you, nothing is going to happen. One thing to be noted is that when we use the term grips, we are referring to gi, no gi, and MMA. Grip/hand fighting is just as important without a gi as it is with one. Why are the grips so important?
When you have someone in your closed guard, you need to keep your legs closed around them to maintain the position. Their goal will be to open your legs and begin to initiate a pass. If they never open your legs, they won’t pass and if you control their grips, they will not be able to open your guard. The grips are what prevent your opponent from setting up attacks, if they can freely grab what ever they want, they will begin to be more offensive.
The best defense is a good offense. When you are able to grip fight, this will also allow you to start all of your attacks, many of your attacks are going to involve getting grips an initiating movement. This is because you need something to break your opponent’s posture and create angles to attack them from. This brings us to our next principle, breaking the posture.
Breaking the Posture in Closed Guard
Breaking the posture in closed guard is one of the most important aspects. You have to be able to do this in order to start attacking your opponent and prevent him from passing your guard. Breaking the posture is also extremely important for mixed martial arts and self-defense. This is because you must prevent your opponent from hitting you and the closed they are to you the less likely they will be able to hit you and the less force they will have behind their hits.
Contrary to popular belief, breaking the posture is not only to set up attacks, it became one of the most important aspects of the closed guard because it will keep you safe from danger. How do break the posture? Well, you need to start by grip fighting, with the gi, a cross collar grip can be an excellent method of breaking the posture. You need to learn how to engage your hips, core, back and legs all at the same time so that you generate leverage to break the posture.
Once you have successfully broken the posture you can start attacking a bunch of different closed guard submissions. This will make it much easier to do things like the arm lock, triangle, kimura, etc. Take a look at this video below with Judo Olympian and Silver Medalist, who is also a world class bjj black belt, Travis Stevens on some concepts from closed guard.
Creating Angles in the Closed Guard
Creating angles is the last principle of closed guard that you need to know how to do. When you have hand fought, got grips, and broken the posture it is time to create angles ands start to attack. You need to have good hip mobility in order to create an angle and attack your opponent.
Most of the submissions and sweeps from the closed guard come from creating angles. When you are able to get the angle it will be easier to attack and off balance your opponent. You can attack choke, limbs, joints, and sweeps. Not all attacks come from creating angles but when you create angle it is important because you will be able to stay out of harms way. Check out this video below on the omoplata from closed guard with Bernardo Faria and watch how he is able to break the posture and generate angles.