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BJJ Instructional Videos
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What To Do If Your Opponent Stands In Your Closed Guard

What To Do If Your Opponent Stands In Your Closed Guard


Playing closed guard always seems like a good idea until your opponent manages to stand up.  This is when things can get complicated and it can be difficult to find some closed guard attacks.  Why is this?  Well, the basis of the closed guard is founded on keeping your opponent’s posture broken down, if they are able to stand and posture, somewhere along the lines a mistake was probably made.

Is there a magic counter to someone who stands in your guard?  Many of us are probably familiar with basic things to do if someone stands inside of our closed guard.  For instance, we have the double ankle sweep, the bump sweep, and the muscle sweep, sickle sweep.  If you are not familiar with these three sweeps you can see a video below showing some of them. 

What if we can’t find success with any of these because our opponent is staggered with good base and posture, then what?  The answer is open guard.  Unfortunately, people are often turned away from the closed guard because of the fact that they think it is difficult to play.  Open guard does not require flexibility, athleticism or strength.  Contrary to popular belief, anyone can play open guard easily.  There are some principles to follow when someone forces you to play open guard. 

If someone stands in your closed guard you want to grab collar and sleeve control and place your feet on their hips or their bicep.  That is the simple secret to playing the open guard and stopping people who stand in your guard.  You have to create distance and break their posture.  Collar and sleeve is the perfect bridge between complex open guards and the closed guard. 

Playing Collar and Sleeve when Someone Stands in your Opponent Guard

Perhaps the most difficult part of playing the closed guard is dealing with an opponent that manages to stand and posture up.  When someone stands in your closed guard it can be a miserable experience.  There is not many options because they nullify many of your traditional attacks.  You can no longer do the arm lock as easy, the triangle and other things.  So, what can we do to prevent them from breaking open our legs and passing our guard?

Well, the simplest thing that we can do is play collar and sleeve and put our feet on their hips and bicep.  The grips you are going to need for this is the cross-collar grip and sleeve.  You want to climb the collar grip as deep as possible.  You want your grip to be so tight and so heavy that it feels like your opponent has a 50 lb kettlebell attached to their neck.  The cross-collar grip is to prevent them from getting very good posture.  The sleeve grip is to prevent them from grabbing your pants, collar, or establishing a grip.  If your opponent can’t establish a grip you can make it much more difficult to pass.

The difficulty lies in being able to anticipate that your opponent is going to stand, when you feel that they are about to get up you want to beat them to opening your guard and place your feet on the hips preemptively.  The ideal way to do this is put your foot on the hip on the side that you are controlling the sleeve and put your other foot on their bicep.  This will allow you to control both arms and work them like a puppet.

Even if you don’t have a set of attacks from this position, you will be able to maintain guard and have a place to control them for a little.  All to often we see beginner playing closed guard and then when their opponent is able to stand and break open their legs they give up on the position and they allow their opponent to pass their guard easily.  You need to have a bridge between complex open guards like De La Riva, Spider, and Lasso and the collar and sleeve is the perfect bridge. 

Once you place your feet on the hips and biceps, depending on your opponent’s reaction you may be able to establish more complex guards like the De La Riva, Spider, Lasso, or Tripod position.  This collar and sleeve feet on the hips will create a reaction from your opponent, therefore, allowing you to do other guards.  One of the all time simplest sweeps when someone stands in your closed guard is the tripod sweep, check out how to do it below.

If you would like to develop a devastating closed guard, check out 5x Black Belt World Champion, Bernardo Faria’s DVD set “The Closed Guard.”  This set is also available as a digital download below.


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