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BJJ Guard Positions: Closed Guard

guard positions, pulling guard in martial arts
  • Cameron Allen

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In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the closed guard is a fundamental position that you typically learn on day one. This position is used both for offensive and defensive purposes. This position is a ground grappling position where one practitioner is on their back while controlling the other practitioner with their legs. In this article, we will go over an overview of the closed guard position in BJJ.

brazilian jiu jitsu, closed guard

Closed Guard

In the closed guard, the practitioner on the bottom wraps their legs around the opponent’s waist, locking their feet together behind the opponent’s back. This creates a secure position to control and hold the opponent in place while still being in a position to attack.

Closed guard allows you to have serious control of the posture of your opponent when done correctly. With enough practice within the position you can make is very hard for the other person to actually escape your guard entirely. By using your legs, hips, and grips, you can manipulate your opponent’s movement and prevent them from advancing or escaping.

Types of Guards

There are hundreds of guards to play at the end of the day. Some of the most common ones to play are closed guard, and open guards like de la riva, butterfly guard, worm guard, or spider guard. The choice of guard play depends on what the practitioner wants to play and what they are proficient in.

What Can You Do Here?

When you are playing a guard you typically have a game that you want to go right in to. Some people will go for sweeps while being in this position while others will try to hunt for submissions. Pulling into guard typically is a proactive attempt at trying to attack or sweep an opponent.

While pulling guard can offer a strategic advantage, it does come with risks. Initiating from the bottom position means that practitioners must be proficient in defending aginst attacks themselves. If you pull guard on someone who has good pressure or a set of systems to break your guard and find a dominant position, you can find yourself stuck in mount or side control.

guard positions, pulling guard in martial arts

The Art of Guard Pulling

Pulling guard is a common BJJ strategy where a practitioner intentionally initiates a ground grappling exchange by ending up on their back with their legs wrapped around their opponent. Pulling guards can be done for both closed and open guards depending on what you are trying to work into.

Typically, we call these people ‘butt scooters’ but even I the highest levels of BJJ you will commonly see people who have really good guard games pull into them immediately. Knowing the rulesets around guard pulling can play a big advantage to you in your game, especially with the ADCC Rules.

How to Break Closed Guard

Breaking closed guards is easier said than done. I know that right now, this is one of the areas I struggle with at times especially when I am going against a higher belt that has a relentless way of breaking my posture and trying to hunt for submissions. There are a few tried and true methods that can be done to break people’s closed guards but first let’s go over some key principles to pay attention to:

  1. Maintain Good Posture – Good posture IRL does not equal good posture in BJJ

  2. Establish grips and control around the hip area

  3. Create Pressure and move your body off-center – you could get your leg in between your opponent’s legs here forget your leg in the middle and push away

Top 7 BJJ Attacks From The Closed Guard

  1. Triangle Choke

  2. Cross Colar Choke

  3. Loop Choke

  4. Kimura

  5. Hip Bump Sweep

  6. Arm Bar from Guard

  7. Omoplata

Hope you enjoyed this breakdown of closed guard. This is a required position to understand both defensively and offensively if you plan on getting your blue belt!