Don’t stay on your knees in a closed guard – stand up and open it: One of the most common problems i see beginning students struggle with is opening a closed guard. On the surface it feels like you are better off staying in your knees as you are stable and can retract your arms and neck for safety. This is an illusion. Remember that as along as you stay inside the closed guard you have very little effective offense in a grappling situation (MMA is very different). despite being in bottom position, your opponents hips are actually higher than yours, which means he has some very effective offense from bottom. There are a few specialized ways of opening a closed guard from your knees, but they tend to be used either by a few specialists in those methods or by beginners on other beginners. As you go higher in level, in the vast majority of cases, you will need to stand up to effectively open your opponents guard. When you first try you will feel unstable and be knocked down many times. Don’t despair. Get back up and try again. It doesn’t matter if you get knocked down to your butt, so long as your opponent doesn’t actually get in top of you he won’t score. In time you will be knocked down less. Through all of your early attempts and frustrations I offer you this – WHATEVER PROBLEMS YOU HAVE GETTING KNOCKED DOWN BACKWARDS WHILE STANDING IN YIUR OPPONENTS CLOSED GUARD ARE INSIGNIFICANT WHEN COMPARED WITH THE PROBLEMS YOU WILL HAVE WHEN YOU ARE PULLED FORWARD INTO A CLOSED GUARD ON YOUR KNEES. The former is an annoyance, the latter will very often end in your submission. You must develop your ability to stand in a closed guard and open it with confidence – it is a foundational skill of the sport.

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