Robot Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Closed Guard Reminders + Congrats to Competitors! :]
We have spent the last couple weeks focusing on the closed guard and building a series of submissions from there. I would like to share a few tips / reminders to be aware of when using the closed guard as well as congratulate our competitors from this past weekend. :]
Tips and Reminders for Closed Guard:1) Head control – Head control is paramount when using the closed guard. Every attack from closed guard can be setup or improved by keeping your opponent’s cervical spine bent by way of pulling down on the crown of their head and suspending your weight from this point. Even if you are interested in attacking your opponent’s arms, start by pulling down on their head. Remember, our body will always prioritize the safety of the spine over the ability to generate force from your limbs, so when you pull down on your opponent’s head, their arms will be working from a compromised position – this makes it much easier to attack with chokes, armlocks, etc.
2) Get closer, pivot around – When you are using the closed guard, keep in mind that you always want to get closer to your opponent (for example, so you can grab their head) and you also want to pivot around your opponent, usually by climbing your legs up their back, or stepping one foot on their hip and pivoting to the side. Conversely, your opponent would like to keep you squared up in front of them as well as keep you flat on your back. Be sure to turn your body and post up on your elbow and then hand so you can navigate around their attempts to keep you flat. Once you are on your side, you can elevate by coming up to your hand and start controlling their head!
3) Consistent adjustment (climbing legs, pivoting) – Keep in mind that the first position you are able to place yourself in is not always the optimal position to place yourself in. Whether you are using the triangle choke, collar choke, or simply climbing your legs up your opponent’s back to get the high-closed guard, you will need to adjust these positions a few times before they are truly locked in and set. If you are adjusting your triangle, keep their head down! Whether it’s with your hands, grabbing your shin – keep their head controlled as you pivot to the side and bite into their neck with the bend of your knee. Be prepared to make these adjustments several times while simultaneously thwarting any attempts they make to escape. If you are diligent with your adjustments, you will be successful with the high-closed guard, triangle and collar choke at a much higher rate than if you think of them as one-shot opportunities.
4) Setups come from commitment to attacks – We have looked at some of the closed guard attacks individually and we have also started to combine them into different sequences of attacks. One sequence has been to collar choke your opponent and if they defend by bringing their arms UNDER your arms, start climbing over their arms into the triangle choke. If they defend by bringing their arms OVER your arms, start climbing over their shoulder to the high-closed guard and attack with the armlock. The point here is in order to get your opponent to defend in a way that exposes other attacks, you must make the threat of the collar choke legitimate. Your opponent will feel if the choke is dangerous and defend accordingly – if you only commit partially to your grips or choking pressure, your opponent will likewise only commit partially to their defense and this will make it tough to properly chain your attacks together. Be confident and commit to your attacks and you will find your sequences are much easier to execute.
5) Closed guard is a beginner’s friend – Lastly, I wanted to point out that the closed guard is effective from white belt through black belt. While it is not seen very often at black belt, this is because most black belts understand how dangerous and frustrating a good closed guard can be and will devote a lot of their attention to stopping the position altogether. On the flip side, for the beginner levels, closed guard is a good choice to start with because it can be easier to process the singular idea of “don’t let them uncross your ankles or bring their knee inside of your closed guard” while under duress in sparring. Other open guards can frustrate beginners because, for example, when the spider guard gets passed, sometimes we are unsure of which hook or grip was broken / removed and ended up enabling the guard pass. Closed guard helps narrow down on the number of variables to focus on – “don’t let them uncross your ankles or bring their knee inside of your closed guard.” Obviously, we should never neglect our open guard, but closed guard is a great way to start having success from guard when you are searching for a guard to focus on. :]
Congratulations to Coach Andrew M. and Coach Luke D. on their successful performance this past weekend! Both of them won gold in their respective belt divisions (blue and purple), with Andrew winning 3 matches and Luke winning 2. These two have been implementing a number of adjustments into their game and working diligently to implement these changes – the results are great proof of this! :]
If you are interested in competing, please let me or when of the other Jiu Jitsu instructors know so that we can prepare you appropriately. :]
Robot Fight & Fitness is West Los Angeles (90025) and Santa Monica’s premier martial arts training facility- we always offer a free class so call us today to come check us out!