Closed guard or known as Full Guard, is one of the most basic and fundamental attack and defense guards in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Closed guard is used at all levels of BJJ from advanced world champions like Roger Gracie (who is considered the G.O.A.T. in the gi ) to BJJ/MMA cross over stars like Kron Gracie to pure MMA fighters.
Closed guard really signifies to many the pure essence of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, being able to fight off your back and be victorious.
Beginners are taught closed guard early on and is pretty useful for new students to master as there a lot of sweeps and attacks (submissions) from the position.
An effective and simple guard to play
What makes closed guard so effective is that the position is literally a upside down mount position for the person on the bottom. Also for the person on the bottom with their legs wrapped around their opponent, the closed guard player can attack the person on top with both their arms and legs. In MMA the closed guard is still useful with bottom attacks and sweeps although it is not ideal from a judging and striking aspect.
In self defense situations, closed guard can still be very useful against an untrained opponent or adversary as there are sweeps and attacks that the BJJ trained person can use to subdue their aggressor and come out on top.
What is Closed Guard?
What exactly is closed guard? If we were to look at this position from anatomical view, we have 1 person on the bottom with both legs wrapped around their opponents mid section in ankle crossing over ankle position with the bottom persons hands and arm free. From this position in BJJ there are many techniques that the bottom player can do to attack his or her opponent and win. We will look at these things as well as common mistakes people make when playing closed guard.
In this guide we will look at the following for the white belt beginner:
- goals from closed guard
- basic sweeps from closed guard
- basic attacks from closed
- mistakes beginners make
- common reactions from the people on top and how to counter
Goals from closed guard. At a high level from closed guard you have 2 goals.
- sweep the top person so that you achieve a superior position
- submit or attack the top player so they tap out
So for a white belt on goal #1 Some of the basic sweeps from closed guard are the following:
- flower sweeps or pendulum sweep
- scissor sweeps
- hip bump sweep
- overhead sweeps
This video breaks down these sweeps in detail:
Simple overhead sweep:
Some of the basic attacks are
Kimura is a finger four lock where by you grab your opponent’s wrist with one hand and overgrip your own wrist into a figure four lock. It is your 2 arms against your opponent one arm. The goal is to torque the arm behind your opponents back thus locking out the shoulder joint. This can be very painful.
This video give a great break down:
Arm bar is another great attack and work really well when an opponent extend their arms in your closed guard. Here is another great break down on a closed guard armbar attack:
Triangle is a very effective close guard attack. You are using your two legs to effectively choke out your opponent. The triangle is effective because you are using the power of your legs against your opponents neck on leg and the other leg pushes against the opponents trapped arm to create a vice to cut off circulation to the head. This attack and can some pass out very quickly if done correctly.
Here is a great triangle set up from closed guard:
Some finishing details here:
Collar chokes are a fundamental submission in Gi BJJ. You are using the opponent lapel as a choking mechanism.
Here are a few variations of a collar choke from guard:
Omoplata is another attack on your shoulder joints using your legs.
Here is simple but effective omoplata from closed guard:
Combo Sweeps and Submission From Closed Guard
There are quite a few attack and sweep combos that work really well together
Hip Bump Sweep and Kimura
In summary Closed Guard is a great fundamental guard in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu used at all levels effectively. There many basic sweeps and attacks that work well in the guard. Here are some more great resources for overall concepts.