Your cart
Total: $0.00

BJJ Instructional Videos
John Danaher Leglocks
John Danaher Back Attacks BJJ
Half Guard BJJ Instructional Video
Three High Percentage Submissions from the Closed Guard

Three High Percentage Submissions from the Closed Guard


We are all familiar with the closed guard.  For many of us, this may have been the first exposure that we had to the guard.  Closed guard has long been one of the most popular and successful guards to utilize.  The closed guard is, unfortunately, a dying art.  Check out our article, “Closed Guard a Dying Art” to see why it has lost its popularity.

Closed guard has long been one of the best guards to use in competitions, MMA, and self-defense.  People have had success with it on a multitude of occasions for all of these things.  We have seen self-defense videos surface where the closed guard has saved lives, we have seen plenty of UFC highlights where people are submitted and swept from the closed guard and we have definitely seen World Champion Black Belts in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu win titles with the closed guard.

What makes the closed guard such an incredible position?  It is so dynamic, and there are so many options from this position.  You have so many different combinations of attacks from sweeps to submissions and back takes. It is an incredibly good position for leverage, it is a defensive position where you are relatively safe, and it is a good place for energy conservation.

So what are some good attacks from the closed guard?  What submissions are working? Well, that depends on what you are using the closed guard for.  Some of the best submissions from this position are the arm bar, the triangle, and the kimura.  All three of these submissions are extremely high percentage and they are effective for gi, nogi, MMA, and self-defense.

Arm Bar From Closed Guard

The arm bar from closed guard is one of the most reliable submissions in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  For a long time, this submission has been used at the highest levels of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, MMA, and it has also been used for self-defense purposes.  This is one of those submissions that any bjj practitioner will learn and few will master.  The ADCC is the most prestigious submission grappling tournament in the world and Xande Ribeiro recently was able to submit several world class opponents with his arm bar from closed guard.   Check out this excellent breakdown on the arm bar from closed guard from Rickson Gracie black belt and legend, Pedro Sauer.  Pay attention to the details. 

So what are the key details to being able to execute the arm bar from the closed guard.  It starts with being able to control your opponents arm.  Typically, the rule of thumb is to make sure his arm is on or across your belly button.  Once you have been able to secure their arm, you want to use your hips.  The thing is, there are a multitude of ways to set up arm bars from the closed guard, depending on what set up you are using the details may be different.  One thing that remains the same is that you have to isolate the arm and create an angle to finish. 

When finishing, you want to move your hips so that you are perpendicular to your opponent.  You want to be looking into their ear, once you have the arm isolated and have created an angle, you need to keep your heels clamped tight in order to keep your opponent’s posture broken down.  You don’t want your opponent to posture up and stack you.  Although there are plenty of counters to when this occurs, such as under hooking legs and things, this can be avoided from the get go.  Keep your opponent’s posture broken down and use your hips to execute the arm bar from closed guard.  Check out this video below with Dan Covel on how to execute the arm bar if your opponent manages to stand up in your closed guard.

Triangle from Closed Guard

The triangle is another excellent option from the closed guard.  Once again, this is a position that we have seen executed on numerous occasions at the highest levels of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions, MMA, and we have seen the triangle save lives in self-defense scenarios.  So why is the triangle such an excellent option?

Well, the triangle is very versatile.  It works in the gi, nogi, MMA, and self-defense.  It is also an excellent method of control if you manage to get your opponent into the triangle position.   When you lock up a triangle on your opponent, it is very difficult for them to do anything; some people use this as a method of control in MMA or self-defense.  One of the biggest benefits of the triangle is the fact that you can do many other submissions from the “one in one out” control.  If you get somebody into a triangle from closed guard, you can easily apply many other great submissions such as the arm bar, the kimura, the wrist lock, and others.  It is a great position to initiate sneak attacks.

One of the slight problems with the triangle in MMA and self-defense is the minor possibility of being slammed on your head.  You have to make sure that you get a good angle and even under hook your opponent’s arm or leg so that they cannot posture up and threaten the slam.  We all remember when Rampage Jackson slammed his way out of a triangle choke in the pride days. This position has had a bad rap since then but we have seen plenty of triangles finished in MMA.   Check out this video below on how to properly execute the triangle from the closed guard.

Kimura From Closed Guard

Another great submission from the closed guard is the kimura.  This is probably the least popular submission that we have spoken of today but it is an extremely lethal and viable option from the closed guard.   The kimura is not as popular as the arm bar or the triangle from the closed guard but it is just as effective.

Why is the kimura such a great option?  This is a great way to control your opponent and it is a great way for a smaller guy to submit a bigger guy.  Contrary to popular belief, the kimura is not actually a big guy’s submission, it is actually extremely effective for smaller guys.  Basically, you have the ability to control one of your opponent’s arms with two of yours.  This is why the kimura grip is so powerful.  There are many subtleties to finishing a kimura, but even more from the guard.

You want to make sure you use your hips, you also want to know the proper grip placement for instance, when you have a kimura grip, you want to keep your arm that is grabbing your own wrist just below your opponent’s triceps and above their elbow.  Keep your elbows tight and use your hips to break grips, not your biceps.   This is tricky to talk about on an article so why don’t we take a look at a great kimura break down from the closed guard below.

So, Do you use the Kimura?  Mau Mau might be the best guy in the world at using the Kimura.  He is a GF Team Black Belt and the # 1 Ranked competitors in Masters in the World.  He uses it from Half Guard, Closed Guard, Spider Guard, Butterfly Guard, Passing Guard, Finishing From Side, Finishing From Mount, Escaping from bottom.  You have to see this series - we guarantee that you'll be amazed and more importantly, it will help your game.  Mau Mau has an excellent method of breaking the kimura down and articulating all of the key details.  Some say he has the best kimura in the world, check out his DVD set below.


If you want to learn a different variation of the kimura, check out Fabio Holanda’s 2 DVD Set, “The Kimura Machine”  Fabio has a very simple and effective system for learning the kimura.  He is not young, athletic, flexible, or crazy strong.  He is an average guy and he is able to Kimura some of the top athletes in the world.  Black Belt World Champion, Cobrihna has said that Fabio has helped him understand and implement the kimura so much more.  Fabio has even helped UFC fighters including tha famous, George St. Pierre.  Check out his DVD set, there is no way you will find a better and simpler Kimura DVD.

Enjoy reading about submissions? then consider checking:



Take a deep dive on one specific skill per month with the top instructors in the BJJ Fanatics family.

With your subscription you’ll get:

  • Private Lesson (Masterclass)
  • Preview of our Upcoming Daily Deals to better plan your purchases
  • Rolling breakdowns & more.

You’ll also get At Home Drills to work on, a Preview of our Upcoming Launches More!


Learn More

Half Domination by Tom DeBlass DVD Cover
Catch Wrestling Formula by Neil Melanson
Butterfly Guard Re-Discovered Adam Wardzinski DVD Wrap
Judo Academy Jimmy Pedro Travis Stevens