Nothing good happens when you’re inside a closed guard

Nothing good happens when you’re inside a closed guard: In a grappling match, as long as you are locked inside a closed guard there is an undesirable asymmetry insofar you don’t have any form of offense while your opponent has many attacks that he can employ against you (obviously fighting is a very different story as there are many effective strikes that the top athlete inside the closed guard can employ). As such, you want to spend as little time as possible inside the closed guards of your opponents as possible so that you are not caught on the wrong side of this asymmetry any longer than necessary. As such you MUST develop reliable ways of opening a closed guard in a timely manner so that you don’t waste long periods of match time in a position from which you cannot advance and score and where he can submit you with many of the best moves in the sport but you have only a few long percentage attacks on him. I strongly prefer standing methods of opening a closed guard and believe that these work best for most people in most situations (though some athletes have specialized methods of opening closed guards on their knees). Learning to stand inside a dangerous closed guard can be rather discouraging at first as you will often be knocked down - don’t get discouraged - getting knocked down a few times before you succeed is perfectly normal even at world championship level - it’s not as bad as sitting passively inside a closed guard letting time waste and defending yourself from submissions. Opening a closed guard is one of the first skills you must master if you are to make progress in the sport since without it you couldn’t even get started in top position. Find a method that suites you and get to work!


Your guard is four limbed, not two

Your guard is four limbed, not two: The centerpiece of guard position is your legs. Your legs are radically stronger than your upper body and so guard position is the best way for smaller people to take on and defeat bigger opponents from underneath. Nonetheless, we must always understand that it is THE SYNERGY BETWEEN ARMS AND LEGS THAT WILL MAKE YOUR GUARD EFFECTIVE BOTH IN DEFENSE AND OFFENSE. In the case of guard retention, when your opponent beats your LEGS, it will be your ARMS that hold him off long enough for the legs to reclaim their position. In the vase of offense, it will be your arms that hold the opponent for your legs to make their way into the various ashi garami, triangle and arm bar position that will bring you victory. Always it will be that critical INTERACTION of arms and legs that will make your guard a stalwart of defense and a powerhouse of offense. Look how Nicky Ryan’s arms form temporary barriers and frames against a strong passing rush and how this creates the time and space to bring the legs back into play and defend the position. Make your guard an interactive four limbed monster of attack and defense and your bottom game will be much closer to where you want it!


Don’t stay on your knees in a closed guard - stand up and open it

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.


Some areas of Jiu Jitsu are an endless ocean of moves - some have only a few

Some areas of Jiu Jitsu are an endless ocean of moves - some have only a few: Of all the skill sets in Jiu Jitsu, the one that has the fewest options is probably OPENING A CLOSED GUARD. There are relatively few methods of doing this that work reliably in a competitive match. The same methods you learn in a beginner class will be the same methods you learn in a black belt class - just performed better. The basic demand to attain a strong working posture and get up to your feet admits only a few variations. This is a skill that you really need since there you cannot even begin to PASS a guard until you can OPEN a guard. There are not many moves to learn that are actually effective - but the skill is a difficult one as your opponent can set many traps as you try to posture and rise and so ironically the skill of opening a classed guard is among the first skills you will learn - but one of the last you will master. There may not be many moves to learn, but they are not easy to perform on a skilled opponent.


Closed guard - angle is everything

Closed guard - angle is everything: The closed guard is one of the most representative of classic Jiu Jitsu among of all the major positions. Even if you don’t favor it yourself, you can be assured that other people will often use it on you - so the more that you know about it the better - no exceptions. One of the main routes to success from bottom closed guard is ANGLE. It is difficult to perform any kind of successful offense without first getting misaligned with your opponent. You must make a habit of constantly misaligning yourself if your are to become a threat from bottom. Your opponent will seek to counter by re-aligning himself to you. In that action/reaction exchange of alignment vs misalignment if the game of closed guard. Your hips are the basis of the position and you want yours out an angle. This might be something as a small shift to one side that creates enough space to enter a triangle, or it could be a turn far beyond ninety degrees that enables you to spin and rise into an arm bar. In almost every case, some form of misalignment to an angle will be required to generate attacks. Remember always that there is a world difference between being on the back vs being FLAT on your back. It’s tough to be effective when you are flat on your back in bottom position - but the simple act of constantly shifting your hips from side to side and gaining angles big and small will help greatly to improve your offensive potential from this great position.